In a year in which women barnstormed their way into North Shore lineups in the most spectacular fashion, it's fitting that one of the most fearless competitors in the sport has secured her maiden Vans Triple Crown title.
This is the first year that women have competed across all three Triple Crown venues -- Sunset, Haleiwa and Pipeline -- and Carissa Moore spent almost every day driving from her home in Honolulu to the North Shore to put in the hours at some of the most challenging waves on the planet.
"What was great about the digital Vans Triple Crown was that it motivated all the women to get out to places like Pipe and give it a shot. I think it can be a very intimidating lineup on the daily, just with the crowd and the wave itself which, is very powerful and challenging, breaking on a shallow reef," Moore told the WSL.
"From when Maui got moved to Pipe until the end of the Triple Crown holding period, I was pretty much surfing the North Shore every day. I live in town but I was making the drive up five to six times a week," she continued.
For her efforts in the first-ever digital version of the famed Vans Triple Crown, the four-time World Champion added another well-deserved accolade her already impressive run this season, which also saw her finishing runner-up during the first women's Championship Tour event at Pipeline.
While Tyler Wright may have taken out the Final with a last-minute series of turns at Backdoor, it's safe to say Moore was the people's champion, finding the barrel and surfing with a deftness and confidence she's earned by spending time out at Pipe, wearing the heavy wipeouts and dealing with the most hotly-contested lineup on the planet.
"The girls know how to barrel ride, it's just about getting out to these more challenging lineups and making it happen," Moore explained.
The Covid pandemic forced the Vans Triple Crown to go digital, with the video submission contest running between December 21, 2020 and January 15, 2021. Still, it was a sanctioned World Surf League event and the clips were judged by the same exacting standard as live event, with some special Vans criteria thrown in (self expression, innovation and location-specific surfing).
Competitors submitted their two best waves from Pipeline, Sunset and Haleiwa, the three jewels in the Triple Crown. The Vans Triple Crown is second only to a World Title in terms of prestige.
"I thought the digital format was really fun, I am obviously super thankful and grateful that Vans stepped up and created this platform, especially in this challenging year," Moore said.
Among Moore's winning rides are two solid barrels at Backdoor Pipe -- a wave she's been mastering with the help of Pipe legend Jamie O'Brien. Almost as impressive through are the rides she banked from Haleiwa and Sunset, slicing a series of impeccable, powerful hacks and wraps which showcase her impeccable style.
"One day hopefully I'll get to compete in a live Triple Crown," she added in a nod to what the future may hold in store.
For all the winners and entries from a memorable season on the North Shore, head over to VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com.