Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Brings Culture-Defining Series to Oahu for 37th SeasonNov 07, 2019
VTCS Champion, World Champion, Olympic Qualification Decided at Pipeline
26 CT Athletes Confirmed, Including Florence and Slater
Vans to Support Six Weeks of Community Activations Across North Shore
HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, November 7, 2019) – The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, an influential heritage surfing series with massive title-deciding implications, returns to Oahu's North Shore for the 37th consecutive year from November 13 - December 20. Sanctioned by the World Surf League (WSL), the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ushers in world-class competition, surf culture authenticity and community celebrations and has crowned the undisputed winner of Hawaii's professional surf season for nearly four decades.
Considered one of the most elite and highly sought-after titles known to surfers, the ultimate Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) Champion must prove their ability at three iconic surf contests; the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach from November 13 - 24; the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach from November 25 - December 7; and the Billabong Pipe Masters from December 8 - 20. Considered the cultural epicenter of surfing, the North Shore is now primed for big wave action following the Vans Pro presented by HIC, which qualified local athletes into the VTCS last week.
The culmination of the WSL Men's Championship Tour (CT) and Qualifying Series (QS) takes place within the VTCS six-week window, making this the most anticipated event series in surfing. More esteemed than ever, the 2019 VTCS marks the first time the WSL world surfing rankings will determine the first 10 eligible male Olympic qualifiers following the final of the Billabong Pipe Masters.
A traditional Hawaiian blessing welcomed traveling athletes to Haleiwa for the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. © WSL / Heff
The VTCS brings together global athletes, fans, media and industry luminaries while North Shore partner and mainstay, Vans, celebrates the authenticity of the series through a variety of free, community events over the span of six weeks. New this year, the Hawaiian Pro and Billabong Pipe Masters will offer ticketed VIP experiences as daily or multi-day packages during competition days, which grants access to prime viewing, big screens, VIP lounge, buffet lunch, signed athlete jerseys and more. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please visit the links below.
Twenty-six CT athletes are officially entered in the VTCS, including two-time World Champion and three-time VTCS Champion John John Florence (HAW) and eleven-time World Champion and two-time VTCS Champion Kelly Slater (USA). Florence has not competed since he ruptured his ACL in Brazil during the Oi Rio Pro and has been focused on injury rehabilitation for the past four months. He made it clear earlier in the year that Olympic qualification was still a goal and fans are hopeful he will take to the water for the 2019 VTCS.
Currently ranked No. 8 on the CT, Slater sits more than 3,000 points below Florence and also hopes to be part of surfing's inaugural inclusion in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. California's Kolohe Andino has already been provisionally qualified as the first male surfer to represent USA in Japan, but the second slot will be determined from the world rankings following the final event of the VTCS, the Billabong Pipe Masters.
A two-time Billabong Pipe Masters Champion, Kelly Slater will be counting on a strong result to surpass Florence on the world rankings. © WSL / Cestari
The VTCS begins at Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach for the Hawaiian Pro, where 128 athletes compete for the event win and a lead on the VTCS title race. As the penultimate QS of the year, the 10,000 points on offer provide crucial developments for the 2020 CT roster. With a range of past Hawaiian Pro event winners – from Oahu-bred power surfers like Sunny Garcia (HAW) and Pancho Sullivan (HAW), to Australian figures Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Mark Richards (AUS), to legendary names Tom Curren (USA) and Andy Irons (HAW), Haleiwa has many facets that challenge surfers to the core. The variety of winners is a testament to the wave’s versatility.
Equally challenging and even more physically demanding is Sunset Beach, located approximately seven miles down Kamehameha Highway from Haleiwa and one of the most consistent deep-water big wave breaks in the world. The hunt for a VTCS title continues at Event No. 2, the Vans World Cup of Surfing, as athletes take center stage to tackle maxing-out surf and end up on top of the 128-man field.
The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the go-for-broke, last-ditch effort for QS athletes to ascend onto the CT and is, therefore, the highest-stakes competition of the VTCS, as it also heats up the VTCS title race. Careers are shaped or shattered at Sunset Beach during the Vans World Cup and for aspiring pros like Barron Mamiya (HAW), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) and Jack Robinson (AUS) – who have all proven themselves at Sunset and sit toward the top of the QS rankings – the pressure is all too real.
Barron Mamiya (HAW) during the 2018 Vans World Cup of Surfing. © WSL / Heff
The concluding event of the VTCS and capstone to the Men’s CT is the Billabong Pipe Masters, the most charged event of the year and final chapter of surfing’s greatest competitive stories. It determines the most anticipated and highest regarded titles known to professional surfing: The World Champion, VTCS Champion and Billabong Pipe Masters winner. This year, qualification into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will up the ante as surfers bid for the historic opportunity to represent their nation for the very first time.
Hawaii will determine the final 2019 world rankings and thus the first 18 eligible Olympic qualifiers, (10 men and 8 women), with a maximum of two men and two women qualifying for each country. The 2019 VTCS sees surfers not only battle for the World Title, VTCS Title and re qualification onto the CT, but also to finish as one of the top two ranked surfers from their nation. The remaining 22 places will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation, Japan.
The VTCS heritage surf series celebrates the sport's historic past and redefines where its future is headed. From skaters to surfers, shapers to photographers, artists to industry notables, the VTCS is where careers are made, where legends are solidified, and where the next generation tests their talent against the old guard in the mecca of surfing -- the North Shore of Oahu.
Fans eager to catch the action can witness the VTCS LIVE via the world-class broadcast on WorldSurfLeague.com, VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com, Facebook.com/wsllive and on the free WSL app. Or tune into Spectrum SURF channels 20 and 1020HD, which will televise the action LIVE and in replay across the state of Hawaii.
Julian Wilson (AUS) at the 2018 Billabong Pipe Masters. © WSL / Cestari
Ezekiel Lau (HAW) wins the 2018 Vans World Cup of Surfing. © WSL / Keoki