The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series returns to the North Shore of Oahu, November 12 through December 20, and will celebrate 36 successive years of professional surfing, grounded by its commitment to community, surf culture, art and environmental sustainability. The first stage of the series - the Hawaiian Pro - launches November 12 at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park.
The esteemed reputation of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) has evolved over time, shaped by generations of surfing heroes who have left their mark throughout the years on the most challenging and wave-abundant coastline the world has to offer. In a story of personal challenge, physical prowess and proven performance in diverse conditions, the VTCS is the ultimate test of a surfer.
This specialty series includes the final stop of the WSL Men's CT - the 48th Annual Billabong Pipe Masters - as well as top-rated Men's QS competitions. The VTCS features three equally storied and prestigious events: the 34th Annual Hawaiian Pro (November 12 - 24, Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach Park); the 44th Annual Vans World Cup of Surfing (November 25 - December 6, Sunset Beach); and the Billabong Pipe Masters (December 8 - 20, Ehukai Beach Park).
Presenting a six-week showcase of the sport and the industry, the VTCS is the most sustained window into surfing anywhere in the world. The series ultimately sees the top performing competitive surfer of the North Shore's esteemed big wave winter season awarded as the VTCS Champion, alongside the crowning of the WSL Men's World Champion. The VTCS also awards promising rookie talents, individual event winners and qualifiers for the 2019 CT.
Twenty-five of the CT's top 34 athletes are entered in the Hawaiian Pro to kick-start the series. World Title contender and defending Hawaiian Pro winner, Filipe Toledo, will lead the way as the No. 1 seed once the event commences. Toledo will be joined by CT rookie and 2017 Vans Triple Crown Champion Griffin Colapinto. Colapinto finished runner up to Toledo at Haleiwa last year and secured a fourth-place finish at the Vans World Cup of Surfing, the second stop of the VTCS, for the series victory.
In 2017, Colapinto, 20, made history as the first ever Californian to be crowned VTCS Champion and the second youngest behind the North Shore's own John John Florence, who won it for the first time in 2011, two months after turning 19. Colapinto's win sets him up for his inaugural run on the 2018 CT and proved he has what it takes to tackle the world's best surfers and waves.
The Hawaiian Pro is a Men's QS 10,000 event and second to last opportunity for athletes to qualify onto the 2019 CT. Surfers on the bubble, meaning, in jeopardy of losing their place on the CT if they finish 23rd or lower, will be fighting the 128-man field for a place atop the podium at this event. The Hawaiian Pro heats up the QS competition while also igniting the VTCS title race, with an emphasis on welcoming international athletes, media and fans to Haleiwa, the gateway to Oahu's North Shore.
Patrick Gudauskas, who qualified for this year's CT by way of the VTCS last year, described the value of the series and what it means to athletes vying for professional status:
"I have dedicated my whole career to my performances in Hawaii during the Vans Triple Crown season. It is the most important series of events in the surfing world in my opinion. Nowhere in the world is the surfing more highly valued by the viewers and most importantly the surfers. Charging hard and performing great in those waves offers some of the most rewarding feelings you can have as a surfer, and I'm grateful every year to come back and enjoy the experience all the way through."
In sync with the competition, the WSL and Vans are also curating an exciting lineup of events in the community including outdoor movie screenings, a Skate Jam at Banzai Skate Park, Talk Story panels with athletes, Duct Tape Festival activations and more. As a brand rooted in people, culture and community, Vans has successfully honored the surfing's history as well as its modern-day champions, but more importantly, it celebrates Hawai‘i - the birthplace of surfing - as the inspired North Shore community who make this series so special.
"Vans is not a shoe company, we're a people company," said Steve Van Doren, VP Events and Promotions and Vans founding brand family member. "We care about people, communities, surfers, skaters. You can't live without the passion of people, taking care of people and investing yourself in communities. The North Shore is a peaceful life. It's rewarding, and we want to be a part of preserving that community and see the smiles on the faces of people we work with who are proud of what they're doing there. They are our creative expression."
A complete list of community events open to the public can be found at VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com.
Each event of the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will run on the four best days of surf within the event's holding window. LIVE streaming is available on WorldSurfLeague.com, VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com, Facebook.com/wsllive and the WSL and Facebook apps (Facebook login required for mobile viewing). Or tune into Spectrum SURF Channel, which will televise the action LIVE and in replay on digital channels 20 and 1020HD, across the state of Hawaii.