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Faces of the Vans Triple Crown - Pt. 1
Hawaiian Pro

Faces of the Vans Triple Crown - Pt. 1

Nov 16, 2016


Cocoa Beach, Florida
15 Triple Crowns / 2x Triple Crown Champion (1995, 1998)

First Triple Crown
The first year I’ve ever surfed the Triple Crown was 1991 and it was still the biggest I’ve ever surfed Haleiwa.

Being a rookie, surfing my first contest and being that big, I was pretty terrified.

To put it in perspective, there were 20 ft waves in Waimea that day.

Favorite Jewel
I would say it’s Pipe but secretly it’s Haleiwa, don’t tell anyone!

Best Memory
Probably 1998, when I came from behind and won the World Title at Pipe. I actually didn’t realize until way later that I’d also won the Triple Crown title. For sure a special memory.

Heaviest Moment
First time I made the final at Pipe, Sunny Garcia hit his head and got knocked out twice that day. One of the times, was in the final and I remember being in the water, seeing him being carried away and I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. It was crazy! Seeing Bede get hurt last year was pretty scary too.

John John’s World Title
It’s a great feat. He set his mind to one thing and everything came together for him this year.

Favorite North Shore grinds
VJ’s Pele spicy burger. So good, I go there once or twice a week.

Torrey Meister.


Kailua-Kona, Big Island
12 Triple Crowns

Best Memory
It was 2009 when I finished third. That was probably my best year and the most fun I’ve had, obviously because I was making heats. Plus the waves were really good. I got into the Pipe Masters and had a heat against Mick (Fanning), and that was pretty special to me.

What comes to mind when you hear 'Vans Triple Crown'
Really good waves and surfing at home. I’m from the Big Island but I’ve spent a lot of time here. I think of not groveling as much as we do on Tour (QS) all year. I love the Triple Crown, it’s my favorite time of the year.

Favorite past Champion
Seabass. He’s one of my good friends and when he won it was a really special moment. His career has just been skyrocketing since then. I was really happy for him and thought he really deserved it.

John John’s World Title
The best surfer in the world won the title.

What would it mean to you to win the Vans Triple Crown title
It would mean the world to me. To me, these are the most important three events we do all year. It would be a dream come true.

Favorite North Shore grinds
Poke bowl from Kahuku Superette. But I still enjoy my homecooking the most.

Adrienne Waters, Kelsey Waters and Lacey Douglas.


South Carolina
First Triple Crown


Lake Tahoe, CA
Second Triple Crown

Best memory
KW - Hanging out with friends and watching the event
AW - It’s been really awesome to watch the surfers compete in person instead of watching online. It has been a lot of fun.
LD - It’s really cool seeing all these new names coming from different parts of the world, that all have the same passion and come together to compete. It’s super cool to watch.

What comes to mind when you hear 'Vans Triple Crown'

KW - Biggest surfing contest of the year basically. This is Hawaii, where the sport began. All the pros come out and show what they’ve got.
AW - Epic waves and pro surfers from all around the world coming together to compete and have a good time.
LD - So many different cultures celebrating their favorite sports and passion. Pretty cool.

Favorite past Champion

KW - My dad is a huge Kelly Slater fan, so seeing him compete in person was really cool.
AW - Definitely Kelly Slater and John John Florence.
LD - Kelly Slater is such a legend. John John is also cool to see because this is his stomping grounds, the whole town comes together and supports him. There are signs all over town after he won the World Title.

Favorite North Shore grinds

KW - I just bring Sprouts sandwiches. Simple and awesome
AW - Banzai Açaí bowls. I eat them everyday.
LD - Elephant Thai Truck. Super cool atmosphere plus I work there!

Dr. Leland Dao.


Born in California, 22 years in Hawaii
Official Physician of the Vans Triple Crown
20 Triple Crowns

Best Memory
Oh, it’s hard to say, there has been so many. Seeing the evolution of professional surfing throughout the years was probably the best thing.

Heaviest Moment
Last year, Bede’s injury was pretty bad. It was a pretty serious moment but luckily we were very well prepared to take care of that kind of injury. I’m happy I got to see him out in the water again this year. Looks like he is back in action!

What comes to mind when you hear 'Vans Triple Crown'
Winter season! The North Shore awakens and becomes the central Mecca of the surfing world. The best surfers come to perform in the best waves in the world.

Favorite past Champion
A toss up between Andy and Kelly. Seeing their rivalry over the years and how they raised the level of competitive surfing.

John John’s World Title
I saw a little grom from the North Shore become the best surfer in the World, period.

Favorite North Shore grinds
Probably Kua Aina. Mahi, avocado and grilled onion sandwich.

Photos and interviews by Paulo Dias

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