Vans Triple Crown of Surfing: Calm conditions test the patience of the world’s best surfers

Hawaii Independent Staff

HALEIWA—La Niña, “the little girl,” has brought her little waves to Hawaii and is wreaking havoc with the world’s best surfers. For the first time in the 28-year history of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing,  presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, Sunset Beach has not delivered a single day of iconic giant surf for the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing. The below average surf conditions are a result of La Niña, a naturally occuring ocean-atmosphere condition that affects weather patterns responsible for the formation of Hawaii’s winter surf.

Seven days of the holding period for this, the second event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series, have transpired with only one day of competition completed. The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing has until December 6 to wrap up and, the official forecaster of the Triple Crown, expects a new small scale swell to arrive Wednesday and hold through Thursday, allowing competition to resume.

With only these two days of swell forecast for the remainder of the Sunset holding period, organizers are looking to take full advantage of the waves on offer. As a result, when competition does resume, heats will run simultaneously at two breaks: Kammies, to the west of the traditional Sunset lineup, and Val’s Reef, the shallower reef inside of the main Sunset break. Three men’s rounds are scheduled to run Wednesday, with the final day of both men’s and women’s surfing set for Thursday.

Far from the El Niño winter of 2009, when Sunset Beach was hammered day-after-day with huge, unrideable surf, the past week has barely seen a wave large enough to ride. The La Niña weather condition is testing the patience of the world’s top surfers who gather on Oahu’s North Shore at this time every year.

“Imagine a NASCAR driver waiting for the track to open up, or a football player waiting for the goal line to be painted in, and you’ll understand how frustrating this is for the world’s best surfers,” said Randy Rarick, Executive Director of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

“But the unexpected nature of the ocean is what differentiates surfing from so many other world class sports on the planet, so you’ve got to be patient and take the good days with the bad. While it may not be the big surf Hawaii is known for, we can still expect high performance surfing from the best men and women in the world.

“On the flip side, the North Shore couldn’t possibly look more beautiful than it does right now with its calm turquoise waters, clear sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. If you’re not one of the world’s best surfers, Hawaii doesn’t get prettier than this.”

Rarick has lived at Sunset Beach for 40-plus years and recalls only having to run the event in less-than-stellar conditions on one other occasion.

Live internet coverage of the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing happens every day, starting at 7:45 a.m. with “The Call”—the Triple Crown’s live daily morning show that features all the latest news, highlights and happenings. The series will also be broadcast live on television around Hawaii on Oceanic Time Warner Digital Cable channels 250 and HD1250.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing consists of three men’s and three women’s professional surfing events that are the final stop on the 2010 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour. Now in its 28th year, the Vans Triple Crown is considered the most prestigious title in surfing next to the ASP World Title.

Each event has an extended holding period with competition taking place on the biggest and best days of surf at each venue.