Positive vibes deserve a rainbow in the background. The Gudauskas brothers.
Faces of the Vans Triple Crown - Pt. 1
Hawaiian Pro

Faces of the Vans Triple Crown - Pt. 1

Nov 18, 2017

Patrick, Dane and Tanner Gudauskas

Professional Surfers
8th Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

What makes the VTCS different than other surfing events?
It’s the prestige, I guess. Triple Crown is very cool because it’s a combination of such a variety of waves. It really challenges the surfers to be well versed. You gotta be well in tubes, you gotta like big waves, and like we are seeing today (Hawaiian Pro Day 2), you have to do well in small waves too.

'If you win a Triple Crown, you’re definitely not just an "one-off", you’re legit!'

Patrick: The waves here are the best in the world. It’s such a proving ground. The freesurf, the events, I just focus on getting better in Hawaii. You see a lot a guys who win Triple Crowns go into winning World Titles. You just really focus on the waves, that’s the number one thing, you know.

Tanner: I’d say the people who compete in it. Having the Hawaiians and so much tradition. Some of the guys who don’t do the QS but are super good in good waves.

What does it take to win the title?
DG: It takes a lot of hard work, good decision making and a little luck from mother nature. In Hawaii, I’ve seen some of the best surfers in the world getting caught inside by a really big wave. Or not being able to get a set, or no waves would come. You got to be in sync with the ocean, it’s probably the most important thing. Feel confident and just go do your thing.

PG: You gotta have the mojo. A lot has to come together to win, there are so many good guys. But definitely putting in time, at least for us, we’ve just been trying to focus on that, over a decade of coming to Hawaii and really trying to learn every time you surf. Just being smart, soaking up, trying to emulate the local guys like Mason Ho, Derek, Mike. We look up to those guys. Watching how they approach the line-ups and sessions. That’s a big part of it - they are the gurus.

TG: You gotta have a lot of well rounded surfing skills, a lot of heart and a lot of courage. I think that’s a cool recipe.

What would it mean to you to win a Triple Crown title?
Oh man, for me it would be better than a World Title. I really would love it. It’s just about staying in the moment and really trying to surf good in every session. There is no reason that either of us couldn’t do it. I would love to make a final out here, that would be my first step.

TG: It would be insane! That would be the best thing going around. I would love that.

Who is the best competitor of all times out here? Why?
 I like Sunny Garcia for the Triple Crown. I think he just really embodies what it takes to be a Champion in Hawaii. He is an awesome animal to watch in the water.

TG: Honestly, Andy Irons is pretty hard to beat. He was always aggressive in everything. He would be ripping in small Haleiwa lefts, in Pipe and then really big Sunset. But I love the way Billy Kemper competes nowadays. You can see his attitude is so strong and he just wants it. It inspires me.

Describe a perfect day in the islands.
Wearing boardshorts! It’s better than anywhere else I go. I just like wearing boardshorts, sandals and hanging out with friends.

PG: Probably waking up in the dark and frothing with the boys on coffee. Surfing like three times, maybe going for a dive or something, and then having a couple beers and a barbecue!

TG: Wake up, coffee, surf a bunch. Have some beers, barbecue on the beach and enjoy having time with your friends. The food is so good here, you can barbecue all day.

Favorite grinds in the North Shore?
DG: I like Pupukea Grill.

PG: Pupukea Grill for sure is amazing. That and the Chevron Techron, we hit it for snacks all day long.

TG: I love Pupukea Grill, they are so nice there. I don’t understand how they can have so much good food out of that truck.

The local voice.

Kaipo Guerrero

WSL / Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Commentator
10th Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

What makes the VTCS different than other surfing events?
Basically, the gathering of tribes. The best surfers from all over the world come here to the North Shore of Oahu, where we have a cluster of world class breaks in very close proximity. That’s the allure of it, it’s the proving grounds. Also, the fact that each wave has its own personality, it takes its own skill set to perform. So, it’s the venue and the gathering.

Who is the toughest competitor of all times? Why?
I’m gonna go with, statistically and in my heart, the guy who dominated it for so many years, Sunny Garcia - Six Triple Crown victories. He’s been the best guy, not only in finishes but in longevity. Thirty years doing the Vans Triple Crown. He is a power surfer, he doesn’t back down. He’s got that aggressive attitude and he has that heavy-foot carving surfing, which is necessary here in the North Shore. You got big waves, lots of wind, it’s intense and it’s not for the faint of heart.

'Everybody knows that Sunny is an absolute tiger.'

What does it mean to be Hawaiian?
As a Hawaiian, we have the word “Kuleana”, which means ‘responsibility’. We feel like we have the responsibility to our culture, which we wanna perpetuate. We have the responsibility to inform the new generation about our cultural practices, language, even Mele, music, Hula. When you are Hawaiian, Hawaii chose you, and you are so blessed to have this as your homeland. I’ve been around the world now and there are beautiful places all around, but I just feel so lucky to live here in Hawaii.

Describe a perfect day in the islands…
Wake up, get a good session on a spot that not everyone is looking at. So, it’s just me and a couple friends. Head over and have a nice lunch, share some time with friends. Maybe get in the water one more time, with more people, just to be more social. And then cap off the day with a beautiful sunset at the beach, just have a good time cooking up some barbecue.

Favorite grinds in the North Shore?
It’s kind of a secret but is Paalaa Kai Market. It’s off the beaten path, over there in Waialua. Is a little market next to the Paalaa Kai bakery and they make super, super good fried chicken.

The Sheriff.

Kai Garcia

North Shore local / 1997 BJJ World Champion
20+ years of Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

What makes the VTCS different than other surfing events?
It’s the Mecca of surfing, this is the end of the Tour. So everything comes down to their whole year of work, of trying to get to their goal. And to be in Hawaii, a really really special place, it’s crunch time. The pressure is on. It’s the perfect fit, the perfect place.

What does it take to be a VTCS Champ? What type of surfer do you have to be?
It takes a lot of work. A lot of dedication, a lot of persistence. A lot of learning how to lose, growing, maturing. There’s no “one thing,” there are a lot of different components that come into it.

Who was the toughest competitors of all time in the Triple Crown?
I don’t know… Surfing has its moments. If you talk consistency, it’ll probably be Sunny (Garcia). His knowledge, his maturity, his rail game. And just like any other sport, who is the best? It’s the most consistent guy.

What’s your favorite wave in the North Shore?
I don’t have a favorite wave, there’s a bunch of them. I don’t have favorites.

Describe a perfect day in Hawaii.
Wake up, run across the street and surf Haleiwa for an hour and a half. Go home, people come over to my house, we work out. Then surf again later and go train BJJ at night. That’s my epic day.

Favorite grinds in the North Shore?
I like Thomas’ cooking (Ke Nui Kitchen).

The girls at the beach.

Evie Lindblom and Adrienne Waters

Hawaiian Pro spectators

Where are you from?
EL: I’m from Sweden originally, but I grew up in Australia and live here now, in the North Shore.

AW: I’m from South Carolina, but I’ve lived here for an year and a half now.

How many Vans Triple Crowns have you been to?
EL: This is my fourth. I’m super stoked that during winter, I can drive just 10 minutes and see the best surfing ever. Just down the road.

AW: This is my second one. I’ve always watched it back home, and now, actually getting to see it in person is really sick. I’m super excited, the winter is finally back.

Who is your favorite surfer to watch?
EL: I have a few friends surfing, so I don’t know if I can pick one. I love Leo (Fioravanti), Lucas Silvera, Marco Giorgi, Yago Dora, the Monizes, I always love watching them. It’s cool to see my friends do well.

AW: I would say Kelly Slater is always awesome to watch, to see him do his thing.

Describe a perfect day in Hawaii.
EL: We live together, at Keiki beach. I try to go to the beach everytime I’m off work or off school. I love longboarding, I’m not really a shortborder. I definitely love to get out in the water, that’s why I live here. It’s cool to be close to the ocean and I try to at least take a dip in the ocean every day. And then, you’ll see me sometimes at Surfer The Bar, boogying. I love dancing, so I go there when there is good music. We just dance and have fun.

AW: Waking up and going surfing in the morning at one of my favorite spots around here. Then getting an Açaí bowl and hanging out with Evie and my sister Kelsy, cruising on the beach. Then you go on a hike later for some exercise!

Photos and interviews by Paulo Dias

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