Despite not making the main event of the Billabong Pipe Masters, San Clemente, California's Griffin Colapinto is the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion. The 2018 New Era Rookie was a standout performer at the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, finishing 2nd at the Hawaiian Pro and 4th at the Vans World Cup.
As Colapinto was not a part of the 2017 Championship Tour, and therefore did not have a seed into the Pipe Masters draw, the 19-year-old was forced to earn his way into the Pipe Masters via the local Trials -- the Pipe Invitational.
Although he finished 47th at the Pipe Invitational, he still entered the main event perched atop the Triple Crown rankings, but there were plenty of CT surfers who could have passed him with good results at Pipe. "It's the best feeling ever, but it felt weird," said an elated yet slightly baffled Colapinto, "I just watched all the guys who could pass me drop out."
Colapinto's historic victory is the first-ever Triple Crown Title for a surfer from California, and the first for Mainland USA since Kelly Slater did it in 1998. In the end, he finished 12 points ahead of one of his heroes, runner-up Kolohe Andino. With both surfers standing on the Triple Crown podium, it was a pretty good day for San Clemente.