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Vans World Cup of Surfing

Faces of the Vans Triple Crown - Pt. 4

Dec 01, 2016

Hawaiian big wave legend Tony Moniz.

Tony Moniz

South Shore of Oahu, HI
Former pro surfer
Over 30 Triple Crowns

Best Memory
Making it to the final at Sunset, along with Mark Richards and Barton Linch, a while ago. Getting second was always tough, but that’s been my Triple Crown memory anyways.
Also, getting second a few times in the overall placing. It’s all good.

We were the guinea pigs of it. No priorities, no jet skis, no computer scores. Everything was man powered.

Heaviest Moment
It was the year they’ve moved the contest to Waimea Bay, it was a mobile event. For me, back then, it was ‘the bigger the better.’ I went out there and I went left, which I don’t think the water patrol was happy at the time. It was a good memory to be able to paddle out at Waimea for a Triple Crown. I was so ready for it, I was frothing, with my Ben Aipa single fin. I knew I was gonna make it through the heat!

What comes to mind when you hear Vans Triple Crown
It’s qualification time for a lot of these kids. I love it because it’s the grand finale, the Super Bowl of surfing. The whole surfing world is focused here. Everybody is trying to prove themselves, it’s the ultimate proving grounds.

Favorite Past Champion
Michael Ho, Derek Ho and Sunny. They set the pace. They were always consistent and so smart. Those guys definitely killed it, props to them.

John John’s world title in one sentence
I knew it was gonna come.

Favorite North Shore grinds
Lei Lei’s is hands down the best. If you wanna get something quick and easy, go to Elephant Thai truck, everything is good there.


North Shore's own, Freddy P.

Freddy Patacchia Jr.

Pupukea, North Shore of Oahu, HI
Former pro surfer
Has been part of the Triple Crown since he can remember

Best Memory
I have a lot of really good memories but my fondest one was the final between Andy Irons and Kelly Slater. They were battling and going at it, nines for nines. You could just see how much passion they had for winning and for the sport. Andy really wanted the Pipe Masters and the Triple Crown title and he ended up getting the score as everyone was on their feet, clapping and cheering. It was one of the best competitive moments I was able to witness in my career as a surfer.

Heaviest Moment
One moment that always stood out in my mind was the year that Sunny almost won the World Title. He had broken his arm and went to the hospital twice during the Pipe Masters. As a kid, I always looked up to Sunny and I was amazed on how much of a warrior he was. At the same time, it really sunk in how dangerous Pipeline is and how much these guys put their body in the line in order to win.
Surfing is heavy, there are a lot of consequences when you are in that elite level.

What comes to mind when you hear Vans Triple Crown
Winning the Triple Crown comes to mind. It’s right there with the World Title.

Favorite Past Champion
Sunny Garcia, he’s won it so many times! I love watching him surf and seeing him win. He is so dominant at Haleiwa and Sunset and he is extremely dominant at Backdoor. He is such an unstoppable force out here in the North Shore, it’s really inspiring.

Can we expect to see you back in the Triple Crown run?
I just recently retired and I want a complete break from competitive surfing. I feel like 3 years is a good a amount of time to take off. I wanna start from zero, it will be fresh, it will be something new! Winning a Triple Crown would mean the world to me. I’m not as competitive as I was before and I don’t ever wanna be like that again. I want to be able to enjoy it and have fun and be out there with only three other guys. I’m just proud to be a part of it and I’m proud to have been in the title contention for a couple of years.

Favorite North Shore grinds
Lei Lei’s. I like the whole menu.


Brazilian pro surfing pioneer Fabio Gouveia.

Fabio Gouveia

Bananeiras, PB, Brazil
Former pro surfer
29th Triple Crown

Best Memory
Every season is an adventure, there is always a surprise in each event. Obviously, winning the World Cup in Sunset was really cool. At the time, I got a good placing in the CT rankings. It was a super difficult event. Going against three other Hawaiian guys with no priority back then was hard!

But in recent years, it was exceptional to see Gabriel (Medina) and Adriano (de Souza) take the title here. It was out of this world. Many other Brazilian generations were trying to get there, especially mine, which was when everybody started to believe that we could get to the top.

What is the difference between competing and watching your son (Ian Gouveia) compete in the Vans Triple Crown?
Being in the water, is always normal to get a little nervous, but you end up being more calm than watching and cheering your son. Sometimes you want him to something that he is not doing or you have a different read on the situation. There is a little bit of anxiety but it’s all good, my wife gets a lot more nervous than me.

Heaviest Moment
In the beginning years, the wipeouts at Pipeline were heavy, due to the lack of experience… And some days here at Sunset, when you broke your board and had to spend the rest of the heat swimming. You would be instantly eliminated if you got jet ski assistance in those days. 

What comes to mind when you hear Vans Triple Crown
It’s the final congregation of the Tour. It’s where you prove yourself, that’s what is all about. You have to stand out and if you do, you will reap the rewards.

There is huge visibility here, Hawaii is the “Hollywood” of surfing.

Favorite Past Champion
It’s always good to see Slater and all the Hawaiians win, but I have to say Medina. It’s super difficult to win the Triple Crown, it is as valuable as a World Title.

Favorite North Shore grinds
Poke bowl from Foodland and Cholo’s.


South American girls representing at the Vans Triple Crown.

Belén Zappal and Juli Garnil

Mar del Plata, Argentina
2nd Triple Crown

Best Memory
B - Pipeline last year was really cool. Lots of people in the streets, everybody was excited about the contest.
J - Watching the Australian Wade Carmichael win in Haleiwa last year was fun.

Favorite surfers to watch
B - John John Florence, who just won in Haleiwa, Mick Fanning and Medina.
J - Marco Giorgi from Uruguay and Kelly Slater.

What comes to mind when you hear Vans Triple Crown
B - It’s fun, there are parties and people everywhere. It’s definitely different than summer time here. Also, lots of tourist and traffic jams.
J - Huge waves and parties everywhere.

Favorite North Shore grinds
B - The vegan Ganesha pad thai at Elephant Thai truck.
J - Açaí bowl at Banzai Bowls.

Life in Hawaii
B - I love it here! I’ts a mystical place to live in. Lots of nature, sunsets, sunrises, hiking, surfing, the community. I’m so grateful for being here.
J - It’s beautiful, we live in paradise. Everybody is nice and happy. I really like to live here.


More Faces of Triple Crown:

PART 1          PART 2          PART 3


Interviews and photos by Paulo Dias

Making the Cut: Episode 8, Finals Day at Sunset

Jordy Smith Claims First Hawaiian Win at Vans World Cup

Final Day Highlights - Jordy Rules

Slater Flashes More Brilliance at Sunset

Jadson Andre Keeps CT Dreams Alive

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