Carissa Moore and John John Florence have been surfing together, and in some instances against one another, since they were groms. And in large part, their trajectory has been much the same: Winning multiple World Titles. And now, together again, they have won the Digital Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, in the first year that both men and women collectively competed at Pipeline, Haleiwa and Sunset.
Moore's win is a fitting reward after a winter in which she pushed the envelope on the North Shore, including surfing in the Final of the first women's Championship Tour event at Pipeline.
"I was pretty much surfing the North Shore almost every day, I live in town but I was making the drive up probably five to six times a week," Moore told the WSL.
This is Florence's fourth Triple Crown title, and while the format may have been different this year due to the Covid pandemic, it further secures his position in a prestigious club of surfers from Hawaii with multiple Triple Crown wins to their credit, including Andy Irons, Sunny Garcia and Derek Ho.
"It's a really cool event because it allows so much freedom and it really allows the surfers to go above and beyond on their waves rather than building a heat structure in that short 30 minutes and trying to get the best waves you can in 30 minutes," Florence told the WSL.
While competitors may not have faced the pressure of a traditional heat, the added emphasis on creativity and the requirement to be determined without time pressures added a new challenge.
As far as submissions to this year's digital format go, Florence's waves from Haleiwa will go down as some of the best-ever ridden out there. It set his campaign off to a hot start as he dropped a pair of bombs. His 29-point ride (out of 30) was the highest wave score of the event.
"When I went into it, I just was thinking about doing a big turn and the face was so clean and I was riding a smaller board. I just felt like I was going a million miles an hour on it. It just felt amazing," he said. "And coming out of that turn, I wasn't really expecting the barrel to be right there. I kind of just came up and I was like, oh, barrel. And it was just this perfect double up and I just stood there and then came out and had that end section."
Winners were also announced for each individual location, with Moana Jones-Wong and Florence coming out on top at Pipeline. Meanwhile, Moore and Florence were the two best surfers at Haleiwa, while Bronte Macaulay and Florence won at Sunset.Tatiana Weston-Webb and Jack Robinson won the Fan Vote category.
The competition was based on each surfer's video submissions from Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Haleiwa between December 21 and January 15. Scored by a panel of three WSL internationally-accredited judges who were guided by the WSL criteria as well as Vans Special Criteria: Self-expression, innovation and progression as well as location-appropriate surfing, the top two waves from each location were counted in the final scoreline.
You can watch the award show, hosted by Kaipo Guerrero and with appearances by Florence and Moore here.