The late, great Andy Irons at the Banzai Pipeline. Photo: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing/Cestari, ASP

HAWAII Magazine spectator guide to the 2010 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

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Hawaii’s big waves of November aren’t here just yet.

But that won’t stop the 28th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing from kicking off its official holding period today on Oahu’s North Shore. The 38-day, six-event professional surfing competition (three for men, three for women), is the surf world’s most prestigious annual contest. It’s also the final stop for surfing’s best on the 2010 Association of Surfing Professionals yearlong world tour.

Each Triple Crown event keeps an extended holding period, with competition happening only on days with big surf—in general, sustained wave heights of 15 feet or higher. The holding period for the first jewels of the Triple Crown—the Reef Hawaiian Pro and Cholo’s Women’s Hawaiian Pro—begins today and runs through Nov. 23.

With today’s North Shore forecast calling for somewhat miniscule one- to three-foot surf, fans shouldn't count on seeing the pros hit the waves just yet. The first decent swell of the competition, in fact, isn't expected until Monday morning.

Triple Crown pros have to compete in all three events in their respective gender categories, with each event crowning an individual champion. The male and female surfer who gains the most points over all three of their events wins the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing overall championship.
 

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Beach view of Triple Crown action. Photo: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

If you’re on Oahu over the next month, Triple Crown competition is worth the drive to the North Shore—especially when surf is at its monster best. Click here to check on surf conditions and the status of events. All events run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect thousands of surf fans, media and the just plain curious on days when the waves are kicking.

In honor of Hawaii world champion surfer Andy Irons, the Triple Crown is halting all competition on Sun., Nov. 14—regardless of wave conditions—to allow surfers the full day to attend the Irons family memorial services and paddle-out on Kauai. A second memorial service and paddle-out ceremony before the start of the Triple Crown’s Billabong Pipe Masters on Dec. 8 at the Banzai Pipeline will also honor Irons. The Kauai-native won the monster wave contest in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Anything else you need to know before you go?

On the pages ahead, you’ll find our HAWAII Magazine Spectator Guide to the Beaches and Events of the 2010 Vans Triple Crown of Surifng—full of tips on getting to each beach, where to park, bathroom availability and videos from last year's competitions. We also tip you off on each event’s defending champion to watch for, and the surfer perils and pitfalls each beach is most famous for.

All Triple Crown surf competitions are free and open to the public. Beat traffic and get the best spots on the beach by leaving town for the North Shore early. And keep our Triple Crown Guide bookmarked.

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Alana Blanchard at 2009 Women's Hawaiian Pro. Photo: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing/Cestari, ASP
Haleiwa Alii Beach
 
Reef Hawaiian Pro
(men’s event)
Nov. 12-23

Cholo’s Women’s Hawaiian Pro
(women’s event)
Nov. 12-23

• Location: Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, 66 Haleiwa Road, at the end of Haleiwa town

• Known by surfers for:
       
        - Powerful rip currents—strong channels of water that pull surfers away from their desired take off point.

        - The “Toilet Bowl”—a shallow reef patch where surfers often get caught inside waves as they break onto the reef. All surfers must navigate it at the start and at the end of their ride.

• Beach access: Easy. Right alongside the park.

• Bathrooms? Yes

• Parking? There’s an actual parking lot at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, but parking will be first come, first serve. Parking will also be allowed in selected areas outside the beach park.
 

• Reef Hawaiian Pro defending champion: Joel Centeio (Oahu, Hawaii)

• Vans Hawaiian Pro defending champion: Alana Blanchard (Kauai, Hawaii)

• Reef Hawaiian Pro total prizes: $145,000

• Cholo’s Women’s Hawaiian Pro total prizes: $35,000

 

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Pro surfer Mason Ho taking taking a wave at Sunset Beach. Photo: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
Sunset Beach
 
O’Neill World Cup of Surfing
(men’ event)
Nov. 24 - Dec.6

The Gidget Pro
(women’s event)
Nov. 24 - Dec. 6

• Location: Kamehameha Hwy, 8 miles east of Haleiwa town

• Known by surfers for:

        - Its reputation as a surf break where champions are made and broken.

        - The “West Peak”—a classic Sunset Beach wave known for being fast-moving and unpredictable.

        - A strong rip current dubbed “Sunset Rip”—a challenge for surfers trying to complete their ride on the break’s “West Peak.”

• Beach access: Easy. Just off of Kamehameha Hwy.

• Bathrooms? Yes

• Parking? The Sunset Beach Park parking lot will be open first come, first serve. Parking will also be allowed along Kamehameha Hwy, but if surf is big expect a bit of walk to the beach.
 

• O’Neill World Cup of Surfing defending champion: Joel Parkinson (Australia)

• Gidget Pro defending champion: Carissa Moore (Oahu, Hawaii)

• O’Neill World Cup of Surfing total prizes: $145,000

• Gidget Pro total prizes: $100,000

 

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Mick Fanning feels the force of the Banzai Pipeline. Photo: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing/Cestari ASP
Banzai Pipeline
 
Billabong Pipe Masters
(men’s event)
Dec. 8-20

Vans Duel for the Jewel
(women’s event)
Dec. 8-20

• Location: Ehukai Beach Park, Kamehameha Hwy, 7 miles east of Haleiwa town

• Known by surfers for:

       -  Its reputation as the most dangerous surf spot on Earth, claiming, on average, one life annually mostly due to its dangerous shallow reef. The last Pipeline death occurred in March 2008.

       - The biggest waves of all Triple Crown of Surfing events.

       - Producing some of the most photographed and filmed waves in the world.

• Beach access: Easy. Just off Kamehameha Hwy.

• Bathrooms? Yes

• Parking? The Ehukai Beach Park parking lot will be open first come, first serve. Parking will also be allowed along Kamehameha Hwy.

 

• Billabong Pipe Masters defending champion: Taj Burrow (Australia)

• Vans Duel for the Jewel defending champion: None. This is a first-year competition replacing the Billabong Pro Maui, which could not secure a sponsor.

• Billabong Pipe Masters total prizes: $400,000

• Vans Duel for the Jewel total prizes: $55,000

For more information, event schedules, surf reports or to watch Triple Crown events live on streaming video, check out the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing official website.

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