The Vans Triple Crown, a long-standing highlight of the pro surfing season, is set to kick off November 12, 2014 with the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Taking a look at the trifecta's past champions, it's clear why a spot among them has become highly coveted. Here's a selection of accomplished chargers from Vans' list of former champs.
Pipeline's Surfing Son
2011 & 2013: John John Florence, Hawaii
John John Florence (HAW), 22, has been raised on the 7 mile miracle of Hawaii's North Shore since birth and was destined to become a Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion. In 2005, at the age of 13, he became the youngest surfer to ever compete in the Triple Crown. Just 6 years later, in 2011, he became the youngest surfer to ever win it. A Final against lifelong hero Kelly Slater at the Pipe Masters last year, coupled with a Semifinal finish at Sunset, gave him his second Vans Triple Crown title, which he will be back to defend this winter. No question: John is the man to beat in 2014.
2002, 2003, 2005, 2006: Andy Irons, Hawaii
Kauaian Andy Irons was born and raised to dominate the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. AI tops the list of most Triple Crown prize money won cumulatively with $271,725, and has the single season prize money record with $59,000, which he won in 2006. Irons tied with Sunny Garcia for most Triple Crown event wins, seven total (four at Pipe, one at Sunset and two at Haleiwa). Furthermore, Andy and Derek Ho are the only two surfers to win at all three venues of the Triple Crown. In addition, Andy's battles with Slater at the Pipe Masters are epic, legendary duels that give us chicken skin whenever mentioned.
Broken Arm and All
1983 & 1985: Michael Ho, Hawaii
When Hawaii's Michael Ho won the newly created Vans Triple Crown title for the first time 26 years ago, he was already famous. Michael has surfed around the globe and is known for his fearless approach to big surf. In fact, he won the Pipe Masters with a broken arm one year. Now a veteran surfer, Ho continues to impress the younger generation with his big wave skills. In 1997, at age 40, Ho again made it into the Pipe Masters Finals, placing second to Johnny Boy Gomes. To this day, whenever Pipeline is going off, Michael Ho is still on it.
For the full list visit vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com.