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Welcome to the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, where the world’s best surfers will compete in a historic contest series - the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipe Masters - for points to bolster their year-end rankings on the World Surf League Championship Tour (CT) and Qualifying Series (QS), and to etch their name into surfing lore by winning a contest or the entire series. Along the way, high performance surfing in some of the world’s most challenging waves sets the stage for jaw dropping rides, like defending World Champion John John Florence garnering a high score from the judges by carving an open face at Sunset Beach. We can expect powerful and progressive rides like this from the world's best and more during this year’s 2017 VTCS. Photo: Mike Latronic

r e n n Ta l e i n McDa




14 Free Parking 28 Publisher’s Note 30 News & Events 44 Talk Story / Keanu Asing 52 Talk Story / Seabass 58 Aloha 66 Hit List 120 Talk Story / Sunny Garcia 128 Community 134 Grom Report 138 Surf Art 132 Damage Control 148 Fantasy Pics 152 Fit For Surf 156 Environment 160 Industry Notes

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162 Last Look

Tatianna Weston-Webb Photo: Brent Bielmann


Shane Grace

60 VTCS Events and Locations Previewing the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing: The Hawaiian Pro, The Vans World Cup and the Billabong Pipe Masters

MARCH 1 - 4, 2018

WSL / Cestari

T U R T L E B AY R E S O R T WSL Title Race Recap Event by event, we look back at the high drama of the 2017 Title Race for both Men and Women

92 Russi


Looking back on the pinnacle moments and competitive achievements throughout each decade of the Triple Crown of Surfing


114 The Evolution of Ross Williams Tracking Williams’ career path, from a World Tour surfer to a WSL commentator and now John John Florence’s coach





HO17_FreeSurfHI_BK-LH.indd 1

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Publisher Mike Latronic Editor Cash Lambert Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic West Coast Distribution Kurt Steinmetz East Coast Distribution Eastern Surf Supply Hawaii Distribution Brian Lewis Staff Photographers Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Kyveli Diener, Tiffany Hervey, Kahi Pacarro, Lauren Rolland

Senior Contributing Photographers

Erik Aeder, Eric Baeseman (outbluffum.com), Brian Bielmann, Ryan Craig, Jeff Divine, Pete Frieden, Dane Grady, Bryce Johnson, Ha’a Keaulana, Ehitu Keeling, Laserwolf, Bruno Lemos, Mana, Zak Noyle, Shawn Pila, Jim Russi, Jason Shibata, Spencer Suitt, Tai Vandyke

Contributing Photographers

John Bilderback, Marc Chambers, Dayanidhi Das, Brooke Dombroski, DoomaPhoto, Rick Doyle, Isaac Frazer, Pete Hodgson, Joli, Kin Kimoto, Claire Murphy, Dave “Nelly” Nelson, Nick Ricca, Gavin Shige, Heath Thompson, Bill Taylor, Wyatt Tillotson, Jimmy Wilson, Cole Yamane Senior Account Executive Brian Lewis (808) 364-5503 Business Coordinator Cora Sanchez Office Manager Rieka Marzouki

FREESURF MAGAZINE is distributed at all Jamba Juice locations, most fine surf shops and select specialty stores throughout Hawai‘i. You can also pick up FREESURF on the mainland at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores and select newsstands. Ask for it by name at your local surf shop! Subscribe at freesurfmagazine.com Other than “Free Postage” letters, we do not accept unsolicited

Watch Board Stories on Channel 12, or 1012 HD in Hawai`i or at OC16.tv

editorial submissions without first establishing contact with the editor. FreeSurf, Manulele Inc. and its associates is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged submissions or their return. One-way correspondence can be sent to P.O. Box 1161, Hale‘iwa, HI 96712 E-mail editorial inquiries to info@freesurfmagazine.com A product of Manulele, Inc. 2015

THU 9:30pm Premiere FRI 3:30am & 12:00pm SAT 5:00am & 6:30pm SUN 12:30am & 7:00am MON 3:00pm TUE 9:00am WED 6:00am & 4:30pm

By Mike Latronic Freedom. If one word can reflect what all surfers experience in their watery art-form, this word will do very well. Whether you are a seasoned World Surf League rated veteran, a Vans Triple Crown contender or a weekend enthusiast simply finding solace on a fun few waves, the underlying theme is real and universal. The dictionary lists freedom as “the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement. The power to determine action without restraint – independence.” Some would go as far as include the word “escape” when they explain their surfing time. Surrounded by the wet and wild of mother ocean, as soon as lines begin forming on the horizon from an approaching set of waves, your heart beat begins to race. If only for a few moments, there are no more rents, no bills, no politics, no social media; even the details of the last episode of your favorite Netflix series slip away. As you start to take your first paddle into an oncoming wave, there’s absolutely nothing on your mind except the drop, the ride, the glide and the slide. Your mind, body and spirit are all in concert, creating a fulfillment said in the great words of our Pipe Masters title sponsor, Billabong: “Only a surfer knows the feeling.” While no one escapes the challenges and rigors of living on this planet there are those that choose to find balance. For my part - and hopefully yours - for every bill, political debate, social issue, criminal injustice and other baffling item in this so called civilization - there is a wave to help you find peace.

N O T E Brent Bielmann

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Sean Evans


Brisa Hennessy

In late September, a group of Hawaii’s top junior talent, including Cody Young, Wyatt McHale, Brodi Sale, Sage Tutterow, Ocean Donaldson Sargis, Robert Grilho III, Dante Silva, Logan Bediamol, Brisa Hennessy, Summer Macedo, Keala Tomoda-Bannert and Gabriella Bryan ventured to Hyuga, Japan, to compete in the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. Storylines headed into the event for Team Hawaii included high hopes for Maui’s Young, who has had a career year in 2017 thanks to a first place finish at the US Open Pro Junior in August, along with impressive freesurfing videos and photos that came out of a summer strike mission in Indonesia. High hopes also sat with Oahu’s Brisa Hennessy. Like Young, Hennessy won the US Open Pro Junior and headed to Japan with the goal of defending her ISA Junior World Champion title that she earned at last year’s ISA World Juniors. Overall, along with Young and Hennessy, Team Hawaii boasted a variety of hungry talent, ready to test their talents against the world’s premiere junior surfers. After the opening ceremony, which included a parade and each team mixing its native sand into a jar with sand from the 41 countries represented, action got underway for the 8-day contest. While older juniors like Young, Hennessy and Summer Macedo saw 30

standout finishes early on, other members of Team Hawaii battled it out heat by heat and taking lessons out of the losses, thanks to the coaching of Rainos Hayes, Kekoa Bacalso, Jason Shibata and Bert Ishimaru. After several lead changes throughout the event, Team Hawaii entered the final day of competition with a strong chance to win the points race. In chest to head high swell, Keala Tomodo-Bannert and Gabriela Bryan entered the Under 16 Final, and after an impressive showing, Bannert



Sean Evans


Ben Reed

Summer Macedo

earned second place and Bryan earned fourth. Young entered the Under 18 division aiming to push Hawaii to the top, and after showcasing his patented power game on multiple waves, he was awarded with the third place medal. Hennessy and Macedo entered the girls under 18 division, and after battling it out two other powerful junior surfers, Hennessy achieved first and Summer earned third.

Cody Young

“It was a crazy eight days,” Hennessy said after the awards ceremony. “My team worked so hard this week, and I am so proud to represent Hawaii and hold my flag up high.” Hennessy’s second title is a feat that has been accomplished by current World Surf League stars Tatiana Weston-Webb, defending WSL World Champion Tyler Wright and 6-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore. Ben Reed

Opening Ceremony

Even though Team Hawaii had such a strong showing throughout all 8 days of the contest, they came up just short of first place to Team USA, who was propelled to win by six individual medals.




E V E N T S Sean Evans


“What an incredible week of competition,” ISA President, Fernando Aguerre said. “We witnessed history here in Japan on many levels. We crowned the first ISA World Champions in Japan in 27 years and also saw new nations earn their first Gold Medals. The sport of surfing is growing and advancing all around the world as it was fully on display at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. We are looking into the future of surfing, and we certainly will see some of the athletes that competed this week in Japan among those representing their nations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in three years.” 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Results

Ben Reed

Brisa Hennessy

Brodi Sale

1 (Gold) – USA 2 (Silver) – Hawaii 3 (Bronze) – Japan 4 (Copper) – Australia 5 – France 6 – Brazil 7 – Costa Rica 8 – Argentina 9 – Portugal 10 – New Zealand

Ben Reed

Girls U-16 1 (Gold) – Alyssa Spencer (USA) 2 (Silver) – Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 3 (Bronze) – Samantha Sibley (USA) 4 (Copper) – Gabriela Bryan (HAW) Boys U-16 1 (Gold) – Joh Azuchi (JPN) 2 (Silver) – Taro Watanabe (USA) 3 (Bronze) – Keanu Chris Kamiyama (JPN) 4 (Copper) – Lucas Vicente (BRA)

Keala Bannert

Ben Reed

Girls U-18 1 (Gold) – Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 2 (Silver) – Leilani McGonagle (CRC) 3 (Bronze) – Summer Macedo (HAW) 4 (Copper) – Kirra Pinkerton (USA) Boys U-18 1 (Gold) – Ignacio Gundesen (ARG) 2 (Silver) – Noah Hill (USA) 3 (Bronze) – Cody Young (HAW) 4 (Copper) – Dylan Moffat (AUS)




24TH ANNUAL OLE LONGBOARD CLASSIC The 24th Annual Ole Longboard Classic, a homegrown contest held in August on Maui, gave the Hawaiian community the opportunity to compete atop longboards as fun-sized swell filled Launiupoko Beach Park. This year’s event had a record 259 entries in 13 divisions, and the Open Men’s division was the biggest with 40 surfers.

won despite catching only two waves in the 15-minute Final. Her graceful nose-riding stood out among the finalists.

Mau Ah Hee, a 29-year-old from Lahaina, who also won the Open Men in 2006 and 2008, was runner-up the past four out of five years, but this year, he won a split decision over last year’s champion, Eric Casco. Ah Hee also won the 19-29 age group.

Kelis Kaleopaa, a 12-year-old wahine from Honolulu, finished second in the Open Women and defeated 17 other girls to win the Junior Women. She also placed third in the 12-14 Junior division, which was a mixed class of boys and girls. Her Open Women and Junior Women Final were back-to-back, so after her Open Women heat at the Lahaina peak, she had to paddle to the Kihei peak for her Junior Final.

“To finally win it is crazy!” Ah Hee said. “I was worried about Eric’s lefts, he loves going left. I just do what I do.” Ah Hee’s third and final wave started right, then he faded left, stepped to the nose for a cheater five, then a quick hang ten, then a cutback, two more quick steps to the nose, and ended at the opening of the keyhole to the tide pool. It was his highest scoring wave on all three of the judge’s sheets. “I’m happy for Mau,” Casco said. “He deserved it today.” Casco won the 30-39 age division as well as the Ole board division, while riding the 10-foot Ole board he won at the Kimo’s Longboard contest in May. “I was focusing hard on that division,” he said. For the second year in a row, a Honolulu wahine won the Open Women. Ashley Ahina, a 26-years-old lifeguard at White Plains Beach,

“I loved it, it was firing!” Ahina said. “I was stoked that there was surf; it was perfect for longboarding. The girls were amazing out there.”

“It was stressful trying to get there, and I’ve never paddled so fast in my life,” Kaleopaa said. “The waves were awesome.” Glen Fukushima (50-59) and Mickey Ester (60 and over) impressively defended their titles, and other winners included Chase Burnes (Menehune), Zachary Newton (Junior Men), Ken Goring (40-49), and the father-daughter team of Christopher Simpson and Chrislyn Simpson-Kane in the Tandem division. For a full list of results for the 24th Annual Ole Longboard Classic, visit FreesurfMagazine.com!





Volcom Surf and Skate Jam Results

In late September, the Volcom Hawaii crew ventured to the Big Island for two epic days of action sports, including surf and skateboarding.

10 and Under 1 Max Germonde 2 Zal Costa 3 Kalei Rivas 4 Kona Makani

On our first day, Saturday morning, we were greeted with fun 2-3 foot waves at beautifull Honoli’i Beach Park, paddling out with frothing groms from all over the island. We decided to change the format into more of a jam session, where every surfer got 2 chances to surf and at the end of the day, the top 2 waves from both heats were scored. There were surfboards donated from Judd Lau surfboards, as well as tons of prizes and free pizza for everyone. It was an epic day of fun waves, sharing the stoke of surfing with the future generation of the Big Island and continuing our “let the kids ride free” roots going. On our second day, we traded surfboards for skateboards and headed up to Honoka’a Skate Park, where about 100 skaters were waiting and ready for the skate jam.

11-15 1 Kane Turalde 2 Diesel Butts 3 Jackson Dorian 4 Trace Tanoai 16-20 Girls 1 Rumour Butts 2 Malaika Bishaw 3 Starsky Kahikina 4 Chloe Smith 16-20 Boys 1 Jesse Kirkhill 2 Parker Walters 3 Rusty Crabbs 4 Andrew Speck Expression Session Sol Ortiz, winner of $200 cash











Sammy Morretino

For 9 years, Kauai’s Sammy Morretino has grinded it out on the Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour, traveling interisland to sharpen his bodyboarding repertoire. Along the way, he hasn’t only collected a wicked aerial game, spray-infused carves and multiple contest victories and regional titles; the 20 year old has also become a beloved member of the Hawaiian surf community. In September, Morretino, who also competes on the Association of Professional Bodyboarding (APB) World Tour, took his talents to the 22nd Annual Sintra Pro in Portugal. He entered the contest second in the Drop Knee World Title points race, and surfed his way into the Final, where he faced a goliath - Dave Hubbard, an 8-time Drop Knee World Champion - who was leading the points race at the time. Instead of feeling the pressure, Morretino applied it, laying down an 8.5 and a 7 and holding onto first place until time expired. He was then chaired up the beach to the podium, where he let out a roar: “I screamed so loud everyone back home in Hawaii probably heard me!” Freesurf: Talk us through the Final in Portugal, Sammy. You faced Dave Hubbard - the 8-time DropKnee champ. What was your mindset going against him, knowing his talent and experience level? Sammy Morretino: To be honest, I thought I was out of the World Title race, and I thought that even if I won the event and Dave got second, then he would still win the Title. Right before the Final, one of the event directors told me that if I won, I would actually beat Dave by 100 points. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I was more excited to surf with Dave in the Final and have a good battle, since it's been awhile since I’ve had a final with him. I got a 8.5 on my first wave. After 40

that, I sat a little inside and got another wave under priority and got another good score - a 7 - and then I heard the announcer say that Dave needed a 9 with not much time left. When I heard that, I had the biggest smile on my face. What did it feel like to stand on the podium holding the trophy? The feeling was amazing! I'll never forget it. I was in tears of pure joy. I kept looking at the trophy, thinking no way I actually did it! I screamed so loud everyone back home in Hawaii probably heard me! I'll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. It was a dream come true. What’s been your biggest struggle this contest season, and how have you pushed yourself to overcome it? In July of last year, my sister passed away and that was super hard to deal with. I had my mind caught up on that for a few events and didn't get the results I wanted. Life has a way of throwing these obstacles at you all the time, and you just have to learn how to overcome them and deal with your problems. For me, I deal with it by riding waves every day of my life. Even it's for twenty minutes, I'm out there! You dedicated the win to your mother - would you like to share more about that? In September of 2007, when I was 10, my Mom passed away because of a heart attack in her sleep. I didn't know how to handle it. I was silent...I didn't like to talk about about or bring it up. I went down the wrong path for a while and had some very hard times coping with


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her death. I accepted it a few years later that my mother is with me no matter what. She's my guardian angel. She never physically got to watch me compete or get sponsored, but I know she's seen every one of my contests and my accomplishments in life and I wanted to dedicate my World Title to her, because she deserves it more than anyone. Love you Mom! So what’s the future now that you’re the DK World Champion? How are you going to capitalize on this win? There's two more events in Portugal, so I’m going to try and get some points so that I have a good seeding for the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational in the winter. I’m going to for sure do my best to defend my Drop Knee World Title next year! I want to give back to the community at home on Kauai and do a free Bodyboard Clinic /Beach cleanup at my homebreak for the keiki. I also plan on trying to go on a few trips with my sponsors and friends to work on a film. I’m stoked to head back to the beautiful little island of Kauai so I can spend time with my family and friends, and save money to do the Tour next year. Anyone you’d like to thank after this big win?


I would like to thank Science Bodyboards, Gyroll Leashes and Wetsuits, Viper Surfing Fins, Hidentity Surf, Jamba Hawaii, Intricate Shockwave, Fumanchu Clothing and Tetro Times. A big shoutout goes to my dad, Sam Morretino, my girlfriend Ayana Kemmler, Conor Turley, Abraham Balmores, Holden Koki, Brandon Buza, Bud Miyamoto, Spencer Skipper, Aka Lyman, Joey Vierra, Shawnee Lyman, Mike Stewart, Norman Skorge, Pohaku Kekaualua, Debra Kekaualua, Blaine Jacintho, Billy Grace, my sister Alison, Carol Connelly and all my crew back home back home on Kauai! Love you guys and thank you for all the support over the years! Mahalo ke akua!


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KEANU ASING By Kyveli Diener

started to flow and I got to really enjoy competing instead of forcing everything. As the October sun lowered over Les Bourdaines beach in the south of France, Keanu Asing sipped a glass of Bordeaux wine a few days before the 2017 Quiksilver Pro kicked off and reflected on the roller coaster he’s been on the past 12 months. From the peak of his shocking underdog victory in 2016 Quiksilver Pro last year that sent ripples of hope that anyone can rise to the top with the proper motivation and hard work to the dark valley of facing injury, losing a sponsor, and ultimately falling off the World Surf League Championship Tour for the 2017 season to the meteoric ascent back into qualification territory, the South Shore ripper’s surfing and his view on life have been reborn. Thanks to the support of friends, his marriage to the girl of his dreams and a successful turn on the WSL Qualifying Series studded with three victories (the QS1000 Kommunity Project Great Lakes Pro in February, the QS3000 Barbados Surf Pro in April and the QS3000 Vans Pro in August) and numerous high scores in locations that breathed new life into his career, our catch-up with one of Kewalos most loved regulars was punctuated by the words “enjoyment,” “enjoyable” and “enjoy”. These words are exactly what Asing carries with him to every event, they are what define his place in life this year, and they are exactly what he plans to do as he returns home to Oahu for the North Shore Winter season already firmly in the WQS Top Ten with another chance to shine on some of his favorite waves in the world. Freesurf: What has been your formula for success this year, Keanu? Keanu Asing: I found a new love for surfing. The few years that I was on Tour, it was a big learning curve: the pressure, the criticism. You get so caught up in what everyone else thinks and what everyone else has in mind about you. Once I pulled back a little bit from what I tried so hard for, things just started becoming way more enjoyable. Everything

What was your mindset at the very beginning of the year when you faced not being on the WCT and grinding your way back on the WQS? I had a tough year last year: winning the Quiksilver Pro France, then the day after I cut my foot open and was almost going to be out for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, and I fell off Tour. I lost my sponsor [Fox], just to top it all off. There were so many ups and downs. Then the end of the year came and I just let go. I checked out. I was done. I didn’t surf for almost a month. I think for someone so young to deal with something like this, it was just a big learning experience. Not even learning about surfing - learning about the person I am and really taking in what this life’s all about. One morning in January or February, I went surfing at V-Land with my shaper Wade Tokoro and he was so excited to surf and jump in the water. I said to myself “look at the stoke he gets to come surf with me.” I think that put everything into perspective, seeing how excited he was just to surf with me. I finally let go of what this Tour means. At the end of the day, it means a lot to some, but it means nothing to most. This is just a platform for me to share my experience and what I’m about. Your mindset sounds similar to Ezekiel Lau saying that he tries to surf like he does in his freesurfs, just with a jersey on. Yeah, we are living our dream and we have to take every day to be thankful for what we’re doing, because not everybody gets to do what they love. When you’re so young and you want to do this for a living, all of a sudden you’re doing this for a living and then you have to try harder. It doesn’t become as enjoyable. Zeke and I had traveled together for that win he had [at the Billabong Pro QS 10,00 in Portugal in October] and we haven’t traveled together since we were maybe 15 or 16, so that was nice. It was good to hang out, drink wine every night and really enjoy what we’re doing - enjoy surfing, traveling, seeing Europe. When you enjoy everything around the contest, you start to enjoy competing.

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You’ve always had a never-give-up, it’s-not-over-til-it’s-over attitude, but what do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve discovered about yourself through this experience of falling of Tour and then nearing requalification? Before I was surfing for the judges and the critics; I wasn’t doing this for myself. The people I love are the only ones who I care what they say about me and at the end of the day, I’m just happy that people enjoy me and appreciate what I do and who I am. If people are talking bad about me, that’s their fault. They’ve still got my name in their mouth and they’re still talking about me, so they can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I’m the one putting the leash on, putting the jersey on and surfing for myself. How has getting married to your wife Kailin this year impacted your mindset? I think everything in life started to become more colorful, just being with my wife and knowing that she’s my rock, everything else will fall into place and that everything is going to be ok. Once that got settled, my competing took a different outlook: it became more enjoyable. She’s always making sure I trust God and trust His path for me and His guidance. At the end of the day, win, lose or draw, I have something to look forward to and it’s not just putting on a jersey and getting a trophy. She came with me to Australia at the beginning of the year and we had a good time in Foster, where I surfed a contest at Boomerang Beach. It was fun all around and then to top it off, I got some money and a trophy. That made everything else enjoyable.

You’ve visit regions on the WQS this year that aren’t on the WCT, like Barbados where you also won another event. How was it getting to go to these regions that you didn’t get to go to on the CT? It was really cool, and I made a lot of good friends along the way. Visiting these regions and surfing new waves... I miss that kind of feeling, the anxiety of paddling out, looking in, different waves breaking. Paddling out to a new wave is exciting and so is not knowing what you’re going to get. I think Barbados was the most exciting place, because it reminded me a lot of Kewalos with the way the sun set and the way you paddle out, just the area and the people who hang out at the beach. Everything there reminded me of where we grew up surfing.

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Every time you come home to Oahu after being away for a long time, what’s the first thing you want to do? I go to Highway Inn and just eat Hawaiian food. You don’t get traditional Hawaiian food anywhere. I get lau lau and poi, really traditional stuff. Which event in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is your favorite? To be honest, I love surfing Haleiwa, I love surfing Pipe and I love surfing Sunset. I have a different kind of love for Haleiwa, though. Just my family and friends around there, like the Foster family. I caught my first wave in the shorebreak there, and I pretty much learned how to surf at Haleiwa, thanks to Bonga Perkins. Plus, I grew up watching that contest and surfing the Haleiwa Menehune events, so it holds a special place in my heart.

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Coming into these two WQS events in the Triple Crown after the year you’ve had and at such a high ranking, do you have an extra momentum compared to previous years? In early October, I was looking at rankings and stressing out, and then I said, “You know what, if this is going to happen, it’s going to happen for a reason.” I’m not going to put it on this pedestal and try so hard and be just so invested in it, because obviously the last four years I’ve been on the bubble whether it’s the WCT or the WQS, and I feel like it stresses you out, it breaks you down and it ages you. At this point, there’s no reason to stress. It’s better to enjoy coming home and surf my favorite waves. I’m enjoying what I’m doing. And next year when I do requalify, because I know I will, it’s going to be fun. I’m going to have a different perspective on the World Championship Tour, and you’ll probably see me less on these WQS events. I’m just looking forward to working on my surfing and surfing with the Top 32.





CHANGING OF THE TIDES: THIS YEAR’S WINTER SEASON PHOTO CONTEST With massive and possible historic swell set to funnel into the 7-mile miracle known as Oahu’s North Shore this winter season, there will be an army of photographers shooting from land and the water, capturing the biggest waves, deepest barrels and terrifying wipeouts.

“FOR ME, IT’S JUST ONE GLOBAL PLAYGROUND.” Kai Lenny— 7X SUP World Champion—follows his calling with the card that takes him on more airlines to more destinations.

Hawaiian surf photographer Zak Noyle is offering incentives to shooters this winter in the form of a contest called Changing of the Tides. The event is 100% free to all participants ages 12-30, and in its first year, is open to Hawaii residents. “I want to give back to where I grew up, helping young Hawaii kids to have the chance to reach the world stage,” Noyle said. “The event will be world wide in the 2018 summer.” Contest Requirements: Participants must submit a total of 10 images total with a required 1 per category minimum. 1) Water Action - Any wave riding shot in the water. 2) Land Action- Any wave action shot from land. 3) Lifestyle - Capture the spirit of surf, in a non posed image 4) Portrait - A portrait shot capturing a human, posed.


5) Empty Wave - From land or from sea, capture the power and beauty


of the ocean with no wave riders. M O R E A I R L I N E S . M O R E D E S T I N AT I O N S .

6) New Creativity - Get creative, thinking outside the box with exposures, lights, angles or surfers.


Subject to credit approval. Apply for the personal Priority Destinations ® World Elite credit card and, if you’re approved, receive 5 Priority Miles ® per $1 spent on net qualifying travel purchases up to $6,000 per calendar year, and 2 Priority Miles per $1 spent on travel purchases thereafter; 2 Priority Miles per $1 spent on qualifying everyday purchases (gas, grocery, cable TV, phone and other monthly utilities); and 1 Priority Mile for every $1 spent on all other net qualifying purchases. Travel and booking subject to availability. Additional fees and restrictions apply. See the Priority Destinations World Elite Program Agreement for more information. First Hawaiian Member FDIC Bank reserves the right to cancel or change the Program at any time without prior notice.

Each prize was carefully handpicked and selected to give each winner an experience and platform that helps to elevate his or her career and showcase their skills on a worldwide stage by receiving global recognition and an introduction to international branding. Prizes include: An all expenses paid trip with Zak Noyle and the RVCA surf team to somewhere in world for the next RVCA team trip, their own signature tee with T&C Surf, to be sold in their stores, a 1-year contract with SunBum to become an ambassador for the brand and receive a year's supply of product, a contract for one year with A Frame Photo to work with and have them sell their images with their standard payments throughout the world and more! To enter Changing of the Tides, visit www.zaknoyle.com

S T O R Y WSL / Cestari




“What is your favorite joke?” I asked Sebastian Zietz, universally known as the funniest man on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). The 29-year-old paused, grinned and thought it over. “I can’t,” he said with a chuckle. "I always laugh before the punchline." Instead of talking jokes, I caught up with Zietz - ranked 11th on the Championship Tour as of October - and welcomed the strange advice that helped him skyrocket to his Vans Triple Crown of Surfing victory in 2012, his favorite event of the contest series and his go-to secret surf spot on the North Shore during lay days. Don't worry: there were still plenty of laughs, even without the jokes. After all, this is the man known lovingly and simply as Seabass. Freesurf: Which is your favorite stop on the WSL Championship Tour and why? Sebastian Zietz: Probably Pipe, just because I start getting excited about going home and going back to Oahu to the VTCS. My whole career jump started there and by the end of the year, I’m happy for it to be over and to go back to Kauai and relax for a couple months. How are you feeling heading into the VTCS this year? I’m pretty relaxed. I’m sitting 11th [after surfing in the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal in October], so I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve had it come down in past years where I’ve had to requalify at Pipe, and it’s hard being in that situation and having the


pressure to not only have to do good at Pipe, but also Haleiwa and Sunset. What’s your favorite event of the VTCS? I’m actually looking forward to Haleiwa the most, because it has a lot of power and it’s really rippable. I like to sneak away there when everywhere else is really crowded. It’s one of the more rippable, playful waves. Pipe’s fun and you’ll get the wave of your life, but when you’re freesurfing out there, you don’t really get a wave anyways. So it’s nice just being in the comp to get some waves. Looking back at your 2012 Triple Crown dream run, what do you think were the biggest factors in your success that year? Well, it was before the priority system. I actually had a guy in Europe tell me I need to “kill the Aloha,” and I kind of took it wrong and the guy was like “no, you’re too nice in heats, you need to take it from them. Do you want to make it or don’t you?” So I kind of went into the VTCS with that mentality, kind of snaked a lot of guys and took hold of heats a lot better. Then after I’d won Haleiwa and requalified, all the pressure was off and that’s when I feel like you really do your best surfing, when you’re not putting any pressure on yourself and you’re just going out there and having fun.





WSL / Heff


Now that you do have to work within the priority system, what from that year do you think will be the winning formula you bring into this year? I’ve always kind of thought that it was not letting the pressure get to you. You try to take that into everything. Last year when I won the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, I wasn’t on the World Tour and I was thankful to be in every event, so I was just winging it. I didn’t know if I was going to get into the next event or what was going on. I was focusing on the QS and because my focus wasn’t on the CT, I ended up doing really well. The key is to not put pressure on yourself. Is your quiver all dialed in for VTCS? My shaper is Al Merrick with Channel Islands. After how John John Florence was surfing earlier this year at Margaret River, everyone’s a little freaked out about [competing against him at the VTCS]. So I was feeling his boards and what he’s riding, and it’s completely different than what everyone’s riding. The boards almost look really weird and kind of unappealing, like “what is this? How do you even surf this?” Just how the wide point is way up high and the tail is super thin and narrow and it doesn’t look like it has a lot of rocker... It’s the total opposite of what I would ride. So I think I definitely want to take little out of that and start working towards what John and his team have kind of mastered. I would like to try a board that’s similar to that, of course it’s going to be a CI board, but I do have my Protons which are my go-to board that work amazing in bigger waves.

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Sunset Beach on Oahu, Hawaii






WSL / Heff


What’s your favorite break on the North Shore during the winter? It’s kind of a secret spot in plain sight. We call it the Boil. I heard Mark Healey call it the Plate one time, but I guess it’s mainly called Impossibles. It’s a little knuckler of a reef and the bodyboarders know it well. I’ve always kind of got an eye on it. John John moved into a house down there and he’s been surfing it a lot. I’m sure he’s been surfing it his whole life, but I’ve always kind of had an eye on it. It’s kind of a closeout but it’s makeable. What’s your favorite activity to do when there’s no waves? I’m kind of a gamer. I play Call of Duty - Yeah Bass is the name if any of you want to start a private match and get whooped. Do you have a routine before a heat to stoke yourself up? I don’t really. I just try to do what I normally would do any day before going surfing. When you’re at the comp, you’re surrounded by a bunch of friends, so I just try and talk to my friends, taking it easy. I see a lot of guys putting their headphones on. Do whatever you gotta do to be in your zone, but like I said, the pressure side is probably the worst thing you can do to yourself, so if I just hang out like any other day and I’m talking to people. After that, I’m ready to go.

Brent Bielmann



E komo mai (welcome) to Oahu’s North Shore. Please treat this extraordinary coastline with the admiration it deserves. It represents not only a fragile ecosystem, but also a gracious community that keeps surfing at the heart of its lifestyle. You can feel it at the farmer’s markets where dads tote future shredders on their shoulders, along the bike path that courses miles of famous sand, and in Haleiwa town where the first Vans Triple Crown of Surfing awards ceremony was held. This year we pay tribute to 35 years of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which has succeeded in bringing world-class competition and a community of creative people together to celebrate the lifestyle of surfing and honor its timeless heritage. For over 60 years, Hawaii has been a breeding ground for professional surfing and continues to produce some of the best stories that authenticate its history and unique culture. The Vans Triple Crown has been

an integral part of this storytelling and for more than half of the sport’s legacy, showcases the power and exclusivity of the North Shore. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a true original for a couple of monumental reasons: #1 Hawaii is the birthplace of modern-day surfing. While surfing did not originate in Hawaii, the Hawaiians are credited for the revival of the sport in the early 20th century largely by Duke Kahanamoku, a.k.a the father of modern-day surfing, who shared the ancient Sport of Kings with the world. Hawaii is the most isolated archipelago in the world and only accounts for a fraction of Earth’s land mass, but it is the most significant place on the planet when it comes to surfing’s past, present and future. Vans founder Paul Van Doren met Duke Kahanamoku in Huntington Beach during Surf City USA in 1964 and it was here that the first aloha-print Vans shoe was

conceived. Van Doren told Duke he wanted to customize a pair of shoes that he could take home to Hawaii, and when asked to pick out a design, the Hawaiian pointed to surf pioneer Fred Hemmings who was donning a red and white aloha shirt. The story goes that Van Doren took the shirt right off Fred’s back and brought it to the factory where the very first aloha-print Vans shoes were personalized. This custom shoe has become an annual tradition that Paul’s son Steve, Vans Vice President, perpetuates, where he gifts a limited batch of Hawaiianinspired Vans to commemorate each year of the Vans Triple Crown. #2 North Shore is the proving grounds for professional surfing. For decades, surfers have journeyed to the North Shore for a chance to sample the waves that have made this seven-mile stretch of shoreline so famous, including Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline. Surfers’ merit has always been sized against these breaks, since the

trio represent a diverse scale for testing progressiveness, grit and true talent. Match this with crowning World Champions through the Vans Triple Crown and you have ground zero for professional surfing. Vans has always considered the North Shore a second home, and each year the team returns to pay homage to the locale that has helped shape a global lifestyle. The Van Dorens interact through one-to-one connections (Steve flips burgers along the bike path at the Vans World Cup!), community events and total support, all for the love of perpetuating family, relationships and authenticity. Paul Van Doren himself always said, “I am in the people business, not the shoe business.” Even after 35 years, the Vans Triple Crown remains unparalleled in their community integration and lifestyle perpetuation, which has been inspired by the North Shore, its residents and the culture that we are all so lucky to live.


VANS TRIPLE CROWN BREAKDOWN Previewing the Three Gems of the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

Mason Ho

WSL / Heff

HAWAIIAN PRO Haleiwa Ali’i Beach, Haleiwa Nov 12-24

Featuring the top 128 surfers in the world, the Hawaiian Pro takes place at Ali’i Beach Park in Haleiwa, a town known as the gateway to the North Shore. With a heavyweight Qualifying Series (QS)10,000 status, the first event of the VTCS heavily impacts the ratings. Historically, regular footers have performed well at this event (only two goofy footers have ever won: Barton Lynch in 1988 and Conan Hayes in 1999). Last year, this trend continued when the North Shore’s own John John Florence - already crowned as the 2016 World Champion - bested a talented field to take the win. This year, the stage is set for high drama with QS surfers seeking points to bolster their rankings, along with a group of veterans aiming for their first VTCS win.


• •

The wave at Ali’i Beach can have numerous looks, depending on swell direction and size. As a predominant right hander on most swells, the left off the peak can also work when the waves are in the 4-foot and under range. This creates a very playful wall and lip, perfect for power mixed with progression. This also allows more versatility for the surfers. Once the swell builds over 4 feet, the right’s powerful and punchy sections beckon for huge power carves and wraps in the pocket. The notorious Toilet Bowl section on the shallow inside reef can make or break opportunities for big scores.


• •

An easy spectator experience, this event allows for front row seating on the sand as surfers tackle the tricky conditions that make this wave so noteworthy. There is parking directly in front of the beach and adjoining Haleiwa Harbor, but it fills up quickly. Beyond that, street parking is available along Haleiwa Road. The beach itself offers a good amount of real estate, with a handful of coconut trees for shade. Restrooms and showers are located on the northeast end of the beach.


VANS WORLD CUP OF SURFING Sunset Beach Nov 25 - Dec 6

The second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Vans World Cup of Surfing, is a big wave venue that requires an extraordinary level of skill, fitness and mental fortitude from surfers vying for the podium. Adding to the pressure for athletes on the cusp of qualifying for the following year's WSL Championship Tour, the QS10,000 event is the last qualifier of the year. Like the Hawaiian Pro, regular footers have historically performed well at this event, and last year, regular footer Jordy Smith, utilizing his power surfing, won his first Vans World Cup. “A win at Sunset had eluded me for a long time, and so had winning an event in Hawaii,” Smith said. “It was really special to win last year, but also a relief. I wanted my name next to the past champions on those trophies, and I’m proud to sit alongside all those names on the plaque.” With a hungry mix of QS warriors reaching for qualification in the big wave arena, this year’s Vans World Cup is bound to see high scoring rides and pulse pounding finishes.


• •

The most consistent big wave on the plant, Sunset is a dominant right breaking wave that is ideal for high performance surfing, including power turns and barrels. The wave can break from 2-15 feet before closing out. “Sunset really reminds you that Mother Nature is in charge,” said Smith. “You could be confident and feeling unstoppable, paddle out at Sunset and not make a wave. It really forces you to hold your rail throughout your turns.” Sunset breaks on almost any swell direction ranging from west to northeast, though the quality of the ride depends on wind conditions as well as tide, as opposed to swell direction.


• • •

There are parking stalls across the street from Sunset Beach, but the best bet is to arrive early because they fill up quickly. Public restrooms and showers are available in this area. It’s highly recommended to bring binoculars, because the surfing occurs more than 100 yards from shore. Stay clear of the surging shorebreak. Be mindful to avoid slowing down traffic along Kamehameha Highway while driving past the venue.

SHane Grace

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS Ehukai Beach Park Dec 8 - 20

The culmination of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the final World Title-deciding event of the WSL Championship Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory of Andy Irons runs at one of the most intense surf locations in the world: the Banzai Pipeline. In the name of glory, surfers throw caution into the wind and drop off towering, watery ledges and slide through blue barrels that break atop razor-sharp reef, all a mere 30 yards away from the crowded sand. The first day of action sees the Pipe Invitational run, where 32 of Hawaii’s best surfers battle it out for entry into the main event, with the winner and runner up both obtaining the golden ticket. Last year, Tahitian Michel Bourez bested World Tour rookie Kanoa Igarashi for his first Billabong Pipe Masters win, and this year, a 2017 World Champion will be crowned in the area’s hallowed sands.


• • •

A predominant left hander, Pipeline also includes a barreling right hander called Backdoor. Waves are best on a west or northwest swell, and swell sizes can range from 2-15 feet. Pipeline is made of three reefs: first reef, second reef and third reef.


• •

Spectators can park at Ehukai Beach Park, across from Sunset Elementary. If the lot is full, there are multiple places to park on the side of Kamehameha Highway. Heed all ‘no parking’ signs and use good judgement on where to park along the highway to avoid being ticketed (i.e don’t block driveways, stop signs or crosswalks). Restrooms and showers are available at Ehukai Beach Park. Avoid approaching the shorebreak and stay on dry sand. With strong swell, event structures have been known to get pulled into the ocean.


Heading into the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) every year, there are always new faces, old faces, favorites and dark horses that pop up throughout the six-week series. There are many variables that go into each event, and the most unpredictable is Mother Nature. While truly any competitor into the 2017 VTCS could come away with the prestigious win, we put together a list of top picks looking to make a mark this year.. We start with highlighting four Hawaii surfers - the Regional Warriors who aren’t so worried about points, but are instead vying for bragging


rights and staking their claim as homegrown champions; they are a force to be reckoned with in their local waters, often creating big upsets. We then showcase four surfers from the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), who are revved up and coming in hot, looking to collect valuable points to make the jump onto the WSL Championship Tour. Last, but not least, we chose four VTCS Contenders, who have performed well in recent VTCS years - some even having multiple trophies from the contest series - and are fan favorites to win this year's prestigious VTCS title.

WSl / Cestari WSl / Poullenot WSl / Poullenot WSl / Heff

WSl / Smorigo WSl / Heff WSl / Poullenot WSl / Heff

WSl / Poullenot

WSl / Heff

WSl / Rowland

WSl / Heff

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WSl / Heff


A North Shore native, 17-year-old Barron Mamiya has been tearing up the Pro Junior series this year. Winning three out of four junior events in the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region, including the Sunset Pro Junior, Pipe Pro Junior and Papara Pro Junior, Mamiya is on a hot streak. While not in any position to qualify for the CT this year, simply making a statement on the world stage at such a young age is high on his list.


262 9670




- Kawika Kinimaka (U18 Ole Longboard Classic Champion Battle Of The Paddle Champion)




WSL / Poullenot


With a last name synonymous with Hawaiian surfing, Josh Moniz has big shoes to fill. The 21-year-old homegrown Oahu surfer knows the breaks of the North Shore very well and has seen success at Sunset Beach and Pipeline on the junior level. Sitting 37th on the QS, Moniz will desperately need two good results at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach, a minimum Quarterfinals finish or better. Moniz has experienced the level of fierce competition at the VTCS before, having competed for the last five years. He will be looking to capitalize on local knowledge mixed with the WQS stripes he has earned on the road to make that big leap. 70


WSL / Heff


As a near full-time transplant to Oahu’s North Shore, this South African-born charger has a well-rounded approach. At 21 years old, Benji Brand has only been dabbling with the QS for a couple years while making it a priority to chase swells free surfing around the world. He’s only had the opportunity to surf in the VTCS once before, but with back to back Semifinal finishes at the HIC Pro and Sunset Open, he has proven to be a factor in the lineup. Add this to recent free surfing exploits at Haleiwa, and Brand has a very good chance for plowing through the field at this year’s VTCS.

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WSL / Heff


This Tahitian knows about solid waves coming from the harrowing reefs that bring us Teahupo‘o. The 21-year-old has traveled to a few of the International QS events, but his desire for more powerful surf has seemed to elude him any big results. In Hawaii, O’Neill has shined before, making the Semifinals at the HIC Pro, and looks to utilize his stocky frame to carve through a few heats at the VTCS this year.

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WSL / Cestari


Brazilian Jesse Mendes took an early lead on this year’s QS and hasn’t let off the gas since. Winning two QS6,000 events and backing it up with a fifth and a third, his amassed points thus far have guaranteed him a spot on next year’s CT. While not needing big results in Hawaii, you can bet Mendes will be looking to finish the year strong with a burst of confidence heading into his rookie year surfing alongside the World’s elite.. While he has yet to have a major result in the VTCS, he has been competing in the series for the last six years and has cracked into the Quarterfinals at both the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach. 76


WSL / Masurel


The Hawaiian battler Keanu Asing has seen both highs and lows in his career and is currently on the upswing heading into the end of this season. The 24-year-old from Ewa Beach qualified for the CT and made his rookie debut in 2015, but after two years, failed to re-qualify. Finding regained confidence and strength this year, Keanu won three smaller QS events, with a string of consistent results in the higher rated contests. This form has put him in sixth on the International ratings heading into the 2017 VTCS, where he will be looking to get at least one more good result to push him onto next year’s CT. While he has had a mixed bag of results in past VTCS years, his best came in 2014 with a Semifinal finish at Sunset, a result he needed to qualify for the CT. Asing is best with his back against the wall and his never say die spirit has motivated him to success in the past.

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WSL / Poullenot


At only 19 years old, Griffin’s surfing has the polished look way beyond his years. Mixing flawless technique with power and progression has led the young Californian to a breakout year on the QS. Currently sitting in seventh on the rankings, he is in a good position to qualify for next year’s CT, although he’ll be looking for at least one more good result to solidify his spot. While last year was his first showing in the VTCS, he commendably made it into the Quarterfinals at Haleiwa. Colapinto has been coming to Hawaii for several seasons and has seen success in Pro Junior events, including a runner up at the Sunset Pro Junior and a win at Pipe. Expect this youngster to continue his upward trajectory.

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WSL / Masurel


Aussie Wade Carmichael is a QS battler who has been campaigning for the last five years in hopes of breaking into the big leagues. His closest attempt was in 2015, where he finished 16th, ending the year with a big win at the Hawaiian Pro QS10,000. But it wasn’t enough to qualify. This year, he is sitting in ninth with an even better chance. Wade will need to find that winning form again, and cracking into the Finals could see him secure that spot. The regular footer’s aggressive forehand rail work serves him well on the predominant right-hand venues of Haleiwa and Sunset. With some swell and a little luck, he could easily turn heads once again.



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John John Florence is arguably the biggest threat when it comes to the VTCS. As the reigning World Champ as well as the defending VTCS champ - and with three VTCS wins under his belt - John’s accolades speak for themselves. Raised in the lineups of all three venues - Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipe - anyone that has seen him in action knows he is the obvious favorite. He will still have to do the work, but it’s a fair bet that Florence will at least be in the hunt for his fourth VTCS title by the time the Billabong Pipe Masters rolls around.


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WSL / Heff


South African Jordy Smith has a knack for moving his larger frame among Hawaii’s powerful surf, particularly at Sunset Beach. After seeing success early in his career at the venue by cracking several Finals, a win in Hawaii still eluded Smith until last year, when he took out the Vans World Cup of Surfing. He’s having another stellar year so far on the CT, so expect him to come into Hawaii guns blazing. He’s reached the Quarterfinals in both the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Billabong Pipe Masters, so if he can string together his best results, he’ll have a good shot at his first VTCS title.

W W W. R A I N B O W S A N D A L S . C O M



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P R E M I E R L E AT H E R O R I G I N A L R A I N B O W ®



WSL / Keoki


As Portugal’s latest export making a splash, Frederico Morais rocketed onto the world scene last year with back to back runner up finishes in the first two events of the VTCS, enough to move him up from 38th to 3rd on the QS, which qualified him for the 2017 CT. If it weren’t for the Florence freight train bettering him at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he would have taken home the VTCS title. Having an impressive showing thus far on his WCT rookie year, his forehand carving approach is poised to continue its dominance throughout the Hawaiian leg of the Tour. With a little extra focus on surfing Pipe, he could once again be knocking on the door for his first VTCS win.

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WSL / Heff


It’s been two years since Julian has completed a full VTCS series, after winning it in 2014. In that year, he took runner up at the Hawaiian Pro in Haleiwa and earned a huge win at the Billabong Pipe Masters. The following year, in 2015, he still managed a runner up finish at the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. Wilson’s technicallysound approach bodes well in the variety of surf on offer throughout the series. Being more than capable at each of the three venues, a serious campaign this year could easily see him in the running.



WSL / Cestari

WSL / Sloane

By Tyler Rock

Stephanie Gilmore

WSL / Sloane

Matt Wilkinson

Owen Wright

CT #01 QUIKSILVER/ROXY PRO GOLD COAST (MAR 14 - 25) Marking the start of the Championship Tour (CT) season, the Quiksilver/Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast of Australia served as the chance for past champions, returning campaigners and CT rookies to showcase their refined talents, setting the pace for the year to come. The contest is the first look at what every surfer is bringing to the table, who trained hard over the break, what new equipment is coming out and who is looking to make a statement. On the Men’s side for the Quiksilver Pro, Australian Connor O’Leary made the biggest dent as a rookie, earning a Quarterfinals berth. But the real story came from Aussie Owen Wright, who after taking a year off to recover from a major head injury he sustained at Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore, surfed his first event back all the way to an emotionally-charged win over fellow Australian Matt Wilkinson. The Women’s Roxy Pro saw the return-to-form of six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore. After a two-year winless streak, Gilmore found her winning form again by taking out Lakey Peterson in the Final.


AMPIONSHIP TOUR TITLE RACE RECAP CT #02 DRUG AWARE MARGARET RIVER PRO (MAR 29 - APR 09) Margaret River in Western Australia saw no shortage of swell for both the Men’s and Women’s field. On the Men’s side, the first day of competition went mobile, running Round 1 at the barreling North Point for first time in the event’s history. The day was climaxed by an impossibly long barrel by Hawaii’s Sebastian Zietz, scored as a 10-point ride by the judges. Heading into the final day, it was the John John Florence show, where his next level carving repertoire on the open faces of Main Break was enough to take out Cali’s Kolohe Andino in the Final. The win gave Florence the Yellow Jeep Leader jersey heading into the next event.

WSL / Cestari

WSL / Sloane

WSL / Cestari

In the Women’s event, reigning World Champion Tyler Wright put up some impressive numbers on her way to the Final, but fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons received the nod from the judges for the win. This result tied Fitzgibbons and Gilmore on the top of the Jeep Leaderboard ahead of Wright.

John Florence

Caio Ibelli

WSL / Sloane

Sally Fitzgibbons

John Florence

WSL / Sherm

WSL / Sherm

WSL / Sloane Courntey Conlogue

Jordy Smith

WSL / Cestari

Caio Ibelli

Jordy Smith

CT #03 RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH (APR 12 - 24) The iconic venue of Bells Beach did not disappoint this year. With pumping swell lighting up the forecasts, the event ran at both the Bells Bowl and neighboring break of Winkipop. While big names like Jordy Smith and John John Florence were at the point end of the event, there were a few new names as well. Championship Tour rookie Ezekiel Lau had a breakout performance, cracking into the Semifinals before losing to Smith, who took out Brazil’s Caio Ibelli in the Final. The Women’s event saw Courtney Conlogue take out three previous World Champions on her road to victory over Gilmore, and the California native rang her second consecutive bell. All three events saw three different winners for both the Men and Women during the Australian leg of the Tour, leaving the World Title race wide open. On the Women’s side, Gilmore’s string of consistent results saw her leave Australia with the yellow Jeep Leader’s jersey, along with reigning champ Florence holding the Men’s lead.

CT #04 OI RIO PRO (MAY 09 - 20) As a growing theme to this year’s World Tour, the next event of the season saw two different winners atop the podium once again. Shifting from the beaches in the heart of Rio, the contest ran at Saquarema, where there was enough swell on tap to see highly contestable beach break conditions for the field. For the Women, Tyler Wright captured the win for the second year in a row, which in turn gave her a tie for the points lead with Steph Gilmore. A Semifinal finish by Sally Fitzgibbons also secured her behind the leaders.

WSL / Morigo Adriano Desouza

WSL / Poullenot

Tyler Wright

WSL / Poullenot

WSL / Poullenot

On the Men’s side, a Round 3 loss by John John Florence to in-form wildcard Yago Dora allowed his rivals Owen Wright and Jordy Smith to close the gap on the points spread, both taking home a Quarterfinal result. Dora took this momentum all the way to the Semifinals, an impressive run in his maiden CT appearance. The Final saw 2015 World Champion Adriano de Souza best Adrian Buchan in a high scoring battle.

Adriano Desouza

WSL / Cestari

WSL / Sloane

WSL /Cestari

WSL / Sloane

Courtney Conlgue

Matt Wilkinson

CT #05 OUTERKNOWN FIJI PRO (JUN 04 - 16) With a new World Title sponsor at arguably everyone’s favorite stop on Tour, there was much anticipation headed into the OK Fiji Pro. The Women opened the waiting period and rolled into a quality swell to kick things off. Co-points leader Steph Gilmore fell out of the draw in Round 4, leaving the door open for Tyler Wright to take sole possession of the Yellow Jeep Leader Jersey, putting in a solid Semifinal finish. With the swell drying up toward the end of the waiting period, contest officials made the call to postpone the Final and run it at the beginning of the Men’s waiting period. Courtney Conlogue grinded out the win over Hawaii’s Tatiana Weston-Webb, and with her second win of the year, Conlogue bumped up to No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard. The Men’s event kicked off in solid swell, showcasing a high level of tube riding amongst the sport’s elite, highlighted by an unforgettable backside leg stall by Michel Bourez for an impressive 9.17. Bourez carried this momentum to a solid Semifinal result, losing out to eventual winner Matt Wilkinson, who found redemption in placing one slot better than last year’s runner up result. Meeting Wilkinson in the Final was Aussie rookie Connor O’Leary who, after starting the year at the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks with a Quarterfinal result, broke his string of 13th’s to put himself in contention for Rookie of the Year. Early exits by John John Florence, Jordy Smith and Owen Wright opened the door for Wilkinson to edge out Florence in the ratings lead, giving him the lead and coveted possession of the Yellow Jeep Leader Jersey heading into the next event.



WSL / Tostee

WSL / Morris

The Vans US Open, the next stop on the Women’s Championship Tour, boasted massive crowds in California’s surf city of Huntington Beach. While notorious for average surf, the South Side of the pier provided quality waves this year, allowing the Women to battle for valuable points. An early round loss by Stephanie Gilmore saw her slip down the ratings, while Jeep Leader Tyler Wright’s Quarterfinal result was enough to see her maintain the points lead. An ultra-consistent Sally Fitzgibbons, keeping her Quarters or better streak going, secured second overall while a Semifinal result for Courtney Conlogue moved her into third place on the Jeep Leaderboard; both nipping at the heels of Wright. In the Final, California’s Sage Erickson topped Kauai’s Tatiana Weston-Webb.

WSL /Rowland

Sage Erickson

Filipe Toledo

Sage Erickson

CT #06 CORONA OPEN J-BAY - MEN’S CT (JUL 12 - 23) High drama moments that took place at the Corona Open J-Bay included pumping surf throughout the contest period, going on hold for Great White Sharks and a boat that rode a wave to perfection. Excellent rides were thrown down in every round, if notevery heat. An in-form Jordy Smith dropped the highest heat total in the event with two perfect 10-point rides and carried the momentum all the way into the final day, where he fell short in the Quarterfinals. Gabriel Medina returned to form along with Julian Wilson, who both locked in Semifinal results. Once again, it was another rookie who turned heads: Portugal’s Frederico Morais put in an impressive display of rail work, even dropping a 10-point ride en route to the Final. But the man of the event was Filipe Toledo. In the non-elimination Round 4, Filipe stomped two massive full rotation alley-oops on a single wave to net a 10-point ride and backed it up with another huge rotator for a 9. His progressive approach to the J-Bay walls carried him all the way to the win, showcasing the future of surfing on a classic point break. After the Corona Open J-Bay, all events had been won by a different surfer, so the race for the World Title still remained wide open. Although Wilkinson’s Quarterfinal berth was enough to retain the Yellow Jeep Leader Jersey, the points spread between the top three - Wilkinson, Florence and Smith - shrunk to within 800 points. With the year only half over, there was plenty of time for others to surf their way into the mix.


WSL / Morris WSL /Cestari

WSL / Poullenot

The Billabong Pro Tahiti came with much hype: Slater was out of the contest due to a broken foot and the World Title race was ridiculously close. Once again, a new event winner meant that no one would run away with the points lead just yet. Wilson’s never say die approach pushed him to come-from-behind for the win in a dramatic Final against a fired-up Gabriel Medina. This result climbed Wilson to fifth on the Jeep Leaderboard, while Gabriel Medina’s runner up finish helped him crack the Top 10. The biggest shift came with Jordy Smith’s Semifinal result, which saw him gain the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard over Matt Wilkinson and John John Florence, a spot he hadn’t been in since 2011.

Julian Wilson

CT #07 SWATCH PRO AT TRESTLES (SEP 06 - 17) Heading to the skatepark-like venue of Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California, CTsurfers were ready to flex their progression muscles. The Swatch Pro saw the Women tee off on the rippable walls. Brazilian veteran Silvana Lima bested a slew of women on her road to victory, but with the result serving as her first keeper of the year, she didn’t have enough points to enter the World Title race. The real shift came when Keely Andrew took out Courtney Conlogue in the Semifinals, paving the way for Sally Fitzgibbons to slide into the first spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, while Conlogue secured second place. An early loss by Tyler Wright shifted her to third.


WSL / Morris

WSL / Masurel

Heading to Europe, Portugal hosted the next stop on the Women’s Championship Tour as the World Tour race continued to heat up. While Jeep Leader Fitzgibbons maintained her year-long consistency, racking up another Semifinal finish, World No. 2 Courtney Conlogue suffered a Round 4 exit. While still maintaining their positions, the result allowed Sally Fitzgibbons to gain more ground on Conlogue, who sat over 3,000 points ahead leading into France. Cracking the Final and breaking her slump, three-time World Champion Carissa Moore found form and gained confidence en route to a runner up finish. Taking the big win was Aussie Nikki Van Dijk, whose victory saw her ascend to No. 5on the Jeep Leaderboard behind the new-found consistency of Sage Erickson, now No. 4,and Tyler Wright holding on in third.

WSL /Rowland

Nikki Van Dijk

Filipe Toledo

Filipe Toledo

CT #08 HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES (SEP 06 - 17) The Men saw flair from the top of the Jeep Leaderboard, with the usual suspects playing their part. Jeep Leader Jordy Smith came in hot, and having won two of the last three years at Trestles, he looked confident to keep the Yellow Jeep Leader jersey on his back. Jordy walked away with a runner up result and his lead was further secured. John John Florence also walked away with a Semifinal finish to keep him in the hunt at No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard, while Matt Wilkinson’s early round loss saw him slip to No. 4 behind Julian Wilson, who moved into third. With his win in the Final, Toledo became the only surfer to rack up two event victories within the year. This Brazilian moved into No. 7 on the Jeep Leaderboard and gained a shot in the World Title race.

CT #09 QUIKSILVER/ROXY PRO FRANCE (OCT 07 - OCT 18) France is usually a pivotal point when the World Title race draws extremely close, and this year was certainly no different. The beaches of Hossegor delivered with a run of surf that ramped up the action and drama heading into the final stretch. After a quick start for the Women, the top contenders for the Title all progressed through to Quarterfinals, but it was ultimately two finalists who aren't in title contention that stole the show. For Carissa Moore, taking the win was vindication after a tough year. The result pushed her to number four on the Jeep Leaderboard while runner up Lakey Peterson moved to the sixth spot.

WSL / Masurel John Florence

WSL / Poullenot

Carissa Moore and Gabrieldl Medina

WSL / Masurel

WSL /Rowland

The Men's action was impressive as well, with pumping beachbreak on offer for the world’s best to perform. The biggest loss of the event was World number one Jordy Smith, whose round three loss to wildcard Marc Lacomare opened the door to a change in the Jeep Leaderboard. Another early loss by Matt Wilkinson also put a big damper on his Title campaign while fellow Aussie Owen Wright made it to the Quarterfinals. The crowd-pleasing approach of John John Florence served as the showstopper. His Semifinal finish gave him the Yellow Jeep Leader Jersey, and event winner Gabriel Medina showed his dominance in the French waves and slotted himself in at third on the Jeep Leaderboard ahead of Wright and Wilkinson.

Gabriel Medina



WOMEN’S Following the Quiksilver Pro France, the Women’s Title race is incredibly close as it heads into the final event of the year: the Maui Women’s Pro. The top contenders - Sally Fitzgibbons, (Tyler Wright, ranked second, suffered an MCL injury in October and it’s not known whether she’ll surf at the Maui Women’s Pro) and Courtney Conlogue are within 3,000 points of each other, with Carissa Moore - sitting in fourth - roughly 3,000 points behind Conlogue. A 2017 World Champion will be crowned in the waters of Honolua Bay at the Maui Women’s Pro, running November 25 - December 6.

MEN’S With two events remaining on the Men's side - the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal (October 20-31) and the Billabong Pipe Masters (December 8-20) - the World Title is still up for grabs. John John Florence, who is leading the points race, is in good of form heading into final two events - Florence is the defending champion at Portugal, and has performed well at Pipeline. Jordy Smith, ranked second, stumbled at the Quiksilver Pro France, and it will be a big test to see if he can come back fired up to challenge Florence. Sitting in third on the Jeep Leaderboard is Gabriel Medina, who has a mathematical shot at the Title. The most likely scenario points to a showdown at the last event on Tour - the Billabong Pipe Masters - for a champion to be crowned, concluding one of the biggest seesaw title races in surfing history.





To commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, we look back on the pinnacle moments and competitive achievements throughout each decade of the contest’s history

After placing well in the Duke Kahanamoku Classic and winning both the World Cup and the Pipeline Masters (despite wearing a cast on his right wrist), Michael Ho wins the first Triple Crown of Surfing in 1982.

Russi Divine

Michael and Derek Ho dominate during the early years of the Triple Crown by trading wins in consecutive years: Michael won in 1983 and 1985 while Derek won in 1984 and 1986.


80’S 104

Gary Elkerton utilizes his power surfing in the big wave arena of Sunset Beach to win the Triple Crown in 1987 and 1989.


Mark “Occy� Occhilupo cements his status as a teenage phenom in the 1980s by winning the 1985 Pipe Masters in 1215 foot swell at the age of 19.



Tom Carroll lays down his snap heard ‘round the world in 1991, putting an exclamation mark on his winning campaign at the Pipe Masters as well as winning the Triple Crown that year.




Sunny Garcia, thanks to his spray-infused power surfing, claims his first Triple Crown victory in 1992, and wins an undisputed five more titles: 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2004.

Florida’s Kelly Slater begins to shift the emphasis away from Sunset to the Pipeline, Backdoor and Off the Wall area, winning his first Triple Crown in the process in 1995.

Kauai’s Kaipo Jaquias wins the Triple Crown in 1996, becoming the first surfer from a neighboring Hawaiian island to win the Triple Crown.



After making the Finals of the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and winning at Sunset, Big Island native Myles Padaca wins the 2001 VTCS. His title continues to inspire the crop of surfing talent on the Big Island.

WSL / Cestari

Checkwood / A-Frame


Andy Irons dominates competitive surfing in 2002, winning the Championship Tour, the Pipe Masters and the VTCS. He would go on to win the VTCS in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

The 2000s saw one of surfing’s greatest rivalries: Kelly Slater versus Andy Irons, with the rivalry culminating at the 2003 Pipe Masters. Slater led the ratings heading into the contest, but Irons surfed on point, besting Slater in an emotional Final. This secured Irons’ second World Title.

Aussie Joel Parkinson wins three back-to-back VTCS titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

WSL / Heff


After winning the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach in 2011, John John Florence wins his first VTCS in 2011. Florence has since won two more VTCS titles: 2013 and 2016.

WSL / Miyake

After an average year on the WQS in 2012, Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz finished first in the Reef Hawaiian Pro, second in the Vans World Cup of Surfing and fifth in the Billabong Pipe Masters, winning the VTCS and earning a spot on the following year’s Championship Tour.

WSL / Sean Reilly


In 2014, Maui’s Dusty Payne saw a miraculous climb up the rankings with a win at Haleiwa and a strong showing at the Vans World Cup.

WSL / Heff

Heading into the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters, Hawaii’s Ezekiel Lau was one spot out from qualifying for the 2017 Championship Tour. Fellow Quiksilver teammate and CT rookie Kanoa Igarashi would have to surf into the Quarterfinals or better at the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters to double-qualify and open up the spot for Zeke. That’s exactly what Kanoa did, finishing runner up to Michel Bourez, and pushing Zeke Lau onto the 2017 CT in the process.




“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change.” Richard Branson said that, and although the businessman isn’t entrenched in our surf industry, his quote couldn’t better signify the life of 44-year-old Ross Williams. After grinding it out on the Men’s Qualifying Series for three years, Williams - raised on Oahu’s North Shore - utilized his knowledge to step onto the big leagues in 1995: the Championship Tour (CT). After six years on the CT, followed by a decade of freesurfing, Williams adapted, channeling his previous experience into a microphone and sitting in front of a broadcast desk at World Surf League events and becoming a beloved color commentator for three years. But it doesn’t end there. This year, he changed roles again and combined his experiences from competing on the CT, his time in the commentating booth and his freesurfing experience to coach John John Florence 2016 World Champion and the North Shore’s prodigy athlete. “Watching Ross Williams’ evolution has been awesome to witness,” said video kingpin Taylor Steele, who spent time shooting Ross’s freesurf sessions for monumental films like Momentum. “He started out a minimum wage pro and via hard work, smooth style and natural ability became an elite / iconic surfer. From there, he’s gone on to produce films, commentate for the WSL and now coach. Through all these variations of Ross lives a wickedly dry sense of humor.” “Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change.” Richard Branson may have said that, but Ross Williams has lived it. Here’s how.










GROM DAY S I N OH IO A ND H AWA I I Williams' humble beginnings didn’t start on Oahu’s 7-mile miracle known as the North Shore. Instead, his life began in Toledo, Ohio, with the Great Lakes resembling the closest thing to an ocean. The city, blue collar by nature, was a hotbed for refineries and factories, and his father helped support the family by working as a pipe welder. In 1979, when he was 6, the family picked up and moved to Oahu where, on the weekends, they frequented the beach, and it was only natural for young Williams to ride and stand atop a boogie board. He later obtained his first surfboard, a Dick Rozo-shaped single fin. “I was hooked,” he said. “I surfed as much as I could.”

D ON N I NG A C ON T E S T J ERS E Y Though Williams was “hooked” on surfing, he had yet to enter any surf contest. That was until Matty Liu, described by Williams as a “childhood phenom” who would later act in several surf films including In God’s Hands, entered the picture. The two began a friendship at a young age, and Liu - with the help of a friend who was old enough to have a driver’s license - took Williams to compete in his first contest at Sandy Beach. He had a predictable reaction to the contest jersey, air horn and the competition as a whole: “Yeah, I was hooked.”

J UN IOR DE V E LOPM E N T Williams didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Growing up in Haleiwa, most of the surfers he looked up to lived just down the road. “Mike and Derek Ho, Dane Kealoha, Johnny Boy Gomes, I loved watching those guys, and then I would see them in the lineup at V-Land or Sunset Point,” he said. “To witness what they were doing on a wave as a grommet...I was just trying to stay out of their way because they were such strong guys.” Williams split his time surfing on the World Tour and filming with Taylor Steele, appearing in films such as Momentum (1992), Loose Change (1999), and Hit and Run (2000).

At age 10, he found even more inspiration: Tom Curren. “Throughout the mid-‘80s and ‘90s, we would all watch videos of Tom over and over again,” he said. “In the living room,






we would be acting like we were surfing on a couch and we would mimic his style, doing all those gestures and positions. When he came to Hawaii, we would be the biggest groupies.”

H I S E X P E RI ENC E S ON T H E WORLD TOUR After graduation from Waialua High School, he dedicated himself entirely to the competitive circuit, spending three years on the Qualifying Series (QS) before landing on the World Tour, where he would spend the following six years battling the world’s best. Overall, his highest scores while on Tour were 15th in 1995, 1997 and 1999, and some of his best results included a runner-up finish to Joel Parkinson in the 1999 Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay and a third at the 1998 Pipeline Masters. In between 1993-1996, he was also featured on six magazine cover shots. In 2001, he showcased his big wave skills, finishing 4th at the prestigious Quiksilver/Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay. Williams is the first to explain that his career on Tour - defined by his smooth and powerful style - wasn’t all that he wanted it to be. “I wasn’t successful on the Pro Tour with winning a bunch of events. I was always getting by,” he said. “I think part of the reason why is because I didn’t change enough. I never molded to that smart competitive surfer of clocking in 6, 7 or an 8. I would try and freesurf and as a result, I lost a lot of heats that I probably could have won.” When he wasn’t competing, he was filming with Steele, and it was a relationship that “developed organically.” He was featured in films like Momentum in 1992, Loose Change in 1999 and Hit and Run in 2000. Because he split his time competing on the CT and filming, there was little time to delegate to QS events. He “never fathomed” having a bad year, so when he fell off Tour in 2001, he “had no points and was left with nothing.” If he wanted to get back on Tour, it was going to be at least a two-year program, grinding it out yet again on the QS. While this was initially his goal, a fly away air shattered both Williams’ foot and his plan. He spent the next few months in a cast sitting on a couch thinking. “It was the unknown,” Williams said. “It was a such bad break - a lisfranc fracture - and the doctors were saying things like ‘you probably won’t be able to surf the same’.” Retirement ensued. Months later, when he did paddle out, he was “baby footing around. I didn’t do any big airs, and my foot was tender so that made me cautious. But after a few years, it became fine.” 118

S T E P P I NG I N TO T H E B ROA D C A S T B O OT H About a decade after William's retirement from competitive surfing, he “caught wind of the ASP - WSL transition, and I raised my hand and said if they needed a commentator, I’m definitely willing. And I was lucky enough to be chosen.” It was the classic case of preparation meeting opportunity, because Williams began commentating years prior at the Reef Hawaiian Pro during the Triple Crown of Surfing. While in the booth, he discovered that he “loved it right away. Every surfer has that internal commentator in their head, and I was no different. I was able to express and dive into all those details. I felt comfortable when the heat started, because I would naturally dive into what was going on in the water.” What was it like to work alongside Williams in the booth, announcing at events in Australia like Snapper Rocks, Teahupo‘o in Tahiti and Vans Triple Crown venues? “It was a privilege and an honor,” said Ronnie Blakey, who joined the WSL broadcasting team the same time as Williams. “I grew up worshipping the Momentum Generation and, like anyone else that watched Taylor Steele’s movies, always marveled at how much water Ross moved. As a color commentator he ruled because, in my opinion, he breaks down technique better than anyone. As a former Tour surfer and huge fan of the sport, he's very in tune with competitive strategy, he can identify smart moves but also pick up on tactical mistakes. He also has a wicked sense of humor. Commentary and coaching aside, Ross still rips, is an amazing family man and I’m proud to call him a friend."

P U T T I NG ON T H E C OAC H ’ S H AT Transitioning from the WSL to a new role in 2017 - John John Florence’s coach - wasn’t an easy decision for Williams. “It was tough, because I loved commentating,” he said. “It’s an outlet; after you’re done being a professional athlete, a lot of times you’re this pro surfer that is trapped in an old man’s body, so being able to talk about surfing feels great. Coaching falls in line with that.” By spending most of his time in the water on the North Shore, from Haleiwa to Sunset and everything in between, Williams already had rapport with Florence. Over time, they naturally had conversations about competition, and Florence knew that Williams had been watching every heat for the last three years from the commentating booth. Williams came into the job with the goal of “being a sounding board and working on anything as subtle or big as John wanted. John’s really smart; he doesn’t just let everything happen naturally. He really

Ryan Miller

In 2017, Williams became John John Florence’s coach, acting as a “sounding board” for the defending World Champion, who has a strong chance to win the 2017 World Title.

studies the sport, which I love because we can get into details and talk Results and competition aside, he has spent many hours on the road about style, technique and all those layers. I love working with John with Florence and his team. “I’ve taken on an Uncle role, but I’m also a because he’s not afraid to take in extra info and then channel that info big kid,” he said. “We’ve had fun at each stop on Tour.” into winning heats.”

MOV I NG FORWA RD Though Williams doesn't know what tomorrow holds, and is entirely content with that, one thing is for certain: Whether he’s watching Florence hoist another World Title trophy, talking to him after a tough loss or freesurfing, he will continue to live a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change, writing his own success story.

“Watching Ross Williams’ evolution has been awesome to witness. He started out a minimum wage pro and via hard work, smooth style and natural ability became an elite and iconic surfer. From there, he’s gone on to produce films, commentate for the WSL and now coach.” - Taylor Steele

Ryan Miller

That “info”, combined with John John’s skill level, has appeared to be a successful formula: Florence kicked off 2017 at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast finishing third, won the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in March, earned another third at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in April, finished third at the Hurley Pro at Trestles in September, and as of October, is second on the Jeep Leaderboard.



By Cash Lambert

What is most impressive about Sunny Garcia’s 6 Triple Crown of Surfing wins - the greatest by any surfer to date - is that he achieved those wins throughout a 12-year span: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2004. It is a feat that speaks to Garcia’s surfing longevity, and although the 47-year-old won’t be competing in this year’s 35th Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, he “still feels like I can win it.” Starting in 1986, when he competed at his first World Cup of Surfing, Sunny realized a winning method that catered to his power surfing strengths: “My formula was to win at Haleiwa, try and win Sunset and after that, just cruise, because during the years that I won the Triple Crown, the points race was done by the time we went into Pipe,” he said.


With the world’s best surfers now putting their VTCS blueprints into action at the Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup of Surfing and the Billabong Pipe Masters, we caught up with Sunny to talk story about his winning formula, how his quiver has changed throughout each Triple Crown, and to hear more memorable stories, including his 1992 Pipe Masters run where he hitchhiked from Kahuku Medical Center to the contest site just in time for his semifinal heat.

“My formula was to win at Haleiwa, try and win Sunset and after that, just cruise, because the years I won the Triple Crown, the points race was done by the time we went into Pipe.”



Freesurf: Talk to us about your first Triple Crown Memory, Sunny. Sunny Garcia: I made World Cup Final in 1986 at age 16, along with Hans Hedemann, Mike Parsons and Mark Occhilupo in closing out Sunset. It was the biggest Sunset I can remember surfing, and I almost drowned during the event. Even though I got 4th, I was close to winning that event as a 16-year-old. Your first Triple Crown came years later in 1992. Did the confidence you earned at the World Cup in 1986 help drive you to that win? I did gain confidence, but what set up my 1992 win was what happened in 1991. I was raised on the West Side, so I never really cared about hanging out on the North Shore. Instead, I was very content to hang out in Makaha and surf. In 1991, Bryan Suratt invited me to stay at his house on the North Shore so that I could surf Sunset often. That set me up for the winter of 1992, where I won Haleiwa, did really well at Sunset and fairly well at Pipe. I owe that to Bryan, because he made me see how important it is to stay on the North Shore, surf Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipe and put in your time. That’s what I tell young guys today: you have to come early, get to know the waves, stay late after everyone goes home and put in your time. Throughout your 6 Triple Crown victories, what was your winning formula? My formula was to win at Haleiwa, try and win Sunset and after that, just cruise, because the years I won the Triple Crown, the points race was done by the time we went into Pipe. I think that four of my Triple Crown wins include a win at Haleiwa. I knew if I could go out and do big hacks - there’s one recipe that works well in Hawaii and that’s power surfing at Haleiwa and start off with a win, I’d feel confident about the rest of the events. How have your boards changed throughout your time competing in the Triple Crown? Jeff Johnson at T&C Surfboards shaped my boards for my first three Triple Crowns. Jeff ran a flatter rocker, and that

Garcia utilized his patented power surfing to win a record six Triple Crowns.


In the Quarterfinals, I hit the reef and thought I broke my arm, so I went to the hospital at Kahuku. After they gave me a shot to dull the pain, I hitchhiked back just in time to surf and advance in the Semifinal.

What are a few of your memorable Triple Crown memories? In 1992, I made the Final at Haleiwa with Kelly Slater, Derek Ho and Peter Mel. I remember it was a small, north swell and all lefts. I was riding a 6’6, and Kelly was giving me a hard time, saying ‘I can’t believe you’re going to ride that big of a board’, but it worked so well. I got two really good waves right off the bat, and everyone else couldn’t catch up. Anytime I beat Kelly or Derek, it was pretty special, because those guys are so competitive. I also had a Final at the World Cup of Surfing in either 1995 or 1996 with one of my best friends, John Shimooka. We were going back and forth until there was about 30


worked really well for me back in the day. I then went from T&C to Local Motion and worked with Wade Tokoro. Wade shaped his boards with a little bit of V and a double concave. I won’t say one board worked better than the other; as far as outlines and dimensions, they were pretty much the same and they worked the same. So, for the most part, my boards haven’t changed all that much. I have flat rocker, and run the same dimensions I was using in 1986: 6’6, 6’10, 7’2, 7’6, 7’10 and 8’3, and the last couple of years I had a 9’0 board made that I used at Sunset.

seconds left. I needed an 8.5 and when a set came, he took the first wave and I got right behind him, getting an 8.5 to win the World Cup. Another memory that comes to mind is a Final with Kelly Slater manon-man at Pipe in 1995, even though I lost to him.

Semifinal. In the Final, I knocked myself unconscious with a concussion and went back to the hospital.

Tell us about the Pipe Masters in 1992, where you had to visit the hospital twice in one day of competition.

All the wins are pretty special. You never know that you’ve won the Triple Crown until it actually happens. You’re biting your nails until the last heat.

In the Quarterfinals, I hit the reef and thought I broke my arm, so I went to the hospital at Kahuku. After they gave me a shot to dull the pain, I hitchhiked back just in time to surf and advance in the

Is there any Triple Crown win that is the most memorable?

After you achieved your first Triple Crown victory, I’m sure that created a desire to win another. But after 3 titles, even after 5, what was your motivation to keep competing?

kids today surfing good not just on Oahu, but Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. I see a lot of future Hawaiian World Champions.

When athletes are young, they have youth and energy as an advantage, but as they grow older, bodies change and athletes may lose that physical burst they once had, but maturity and an emphasis on dieting and exercise can often fill that void. Is this how you adapted as well?

It’s all about working out a formula. For my surfing, I felt that no one could beat me at Haleiwa. The Triple Crown is all about numbers, so it was the only time of year that I was looking at numbers. I knew exactly what place everyone was getting and which guys surfed Sunset and Pipe well. I was always calculating. So, I would say overall that after the first event, you take a look at everyone and see where they’re at.

In the 2000s, I was in better shape than I was when I was younger because I had been dieting and training, and overall I felt stronger, more mature and more patient. Who have been some of your favorite surfers to watch at the Vans Triple Crown, and who are you keeping an eye on today? I always enjoyed watching all the Hawaiians compete, like Mike and Derek, Hans and Dane Kealoha. Pancho Sullivan is one of my favorite surfers, too. And today, I like watching John John Florence come into his own and take on Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline. There’s so many

Although Garcia won’t be competing in this year's VTCS, the 47-year-old “still feels like I can win it.”

What’s your advice for those trying to win this year’s VTCS?

With your six wins in your Triple Crown resume, did you have six big celebrations afterwards? Or did you celebrate in a different way? I never did celebrate the wins. I’ve never been one to go out, and winning the Triple Crown was never about the money. It was to get the wins and going home and preparing for the next season, the next event, the next heat. The win was always my reward.

WSL / Heff

To win more than Derek! I was super competitive with Derek and Mike Ho. You can only imagine the smack talking that went on. When I got three (wins), we just grilled each other, and I was saying ‘I’m going to get four, or five’ and Derek would say ‘hey there’s no way’!













In 1983, Hawaii surfers Randy Rarick and Fred Hemmings, both in their 30’s, linked together the three main surf events on Oahu’s North Shore to create the very first Hawaiian surfing series. The impetus was to pay homage to Hawaii as ground zero for the sport and determine the best competitive surfer on the North Shore. The equipment had just shifted from single fins to thrusters and the scaffolding for the Pipe Masters fit in the back of a pickup truck, which took only 1 or 2 hours to assemble. With loose permitting, the Triple Crown was mobile and contest organizers had the freedom to hold events at whichever venue was breaking best along the North Shore, which is why Waimea Bay ran back-to-back in 1985 and ‘86. The World Cup at Sunset Beach boasted the largest prize purse professional surfing had ever seen, a hefty $45,000, and Hawaiians dominated the competition from the start. The Triple Crown was won back and forth between Michael and Derek Ho from 1983 to 1986 with Derek going on to win the title two more times. Dane Kealoha, Buzzy Kerbox and Buttons Kaluhiokalani all finaled in 1983 while Sunny Garcia claimed victory an unprecedented six times. “We didn’t realize at the time what we were establishing in regard to the legacy that was to follow,” said Rarick. “The history and the heritage is very significant in the progress of professional surfing.” Thirty-five years later, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has evolved into a multi-faceted series that goes beyond world-class surfing in premier waves. The three-prong series involves community-conscious activations, Hawaii’s most sustainable event program and a highly-

sought after lifestyle that is unique to the North Shore of Oahu. If the North Shore is the nucleus for professional surfing, then the Vans Triple Crown is mecca for the means. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) celebrates 35 years of heritage, competition and collaboration this season and has shaped a thriving cultural breeding ground. Interlacing creative self-expression through action sports, art and music, Vans – one of the industry’s original surf/skate lifestyle brands – has remained steadfast in promoting authenticity. A cornerstone of the North Shore’s surf season, VTCS is graciously hosted by the residents and local businesses and in turn, provides a lifestyle that comes full circle; VTCS single-handedly brings $25 million into the island of Oahu every year by hiring local employees, housing travelling staffers along the North Shore, working with local caterers, vendors and businesses, and granting Hawaii surfers prize money. This year, the events calendar is chock full of creative activations that include the youth, North Shore community, athletes at-large and fans to showcase surfing in a truly collaborative environment.



12 – 24





HAWAIIAN PRO, STOP NO. 1 OF VANS TRIPLE CROWN Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach Park, North Shore, Oahu Public event, 8am – 4pm



Surfer The Bar, Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu Public event, 6pm On November 18 amid the Hawaiian Pro, Na Kama Kai is organizing a day of shoreline activities for keiki (kids) to connect with the coastline. 30-minute sessions of surfing, SUPing, canoe paddling and more will highlight the program and help foster a sense of stewardship in the younger generations. The Gudauskas Brothers, known for their stoke and genuine humanitarian efforts, look forward to being onsite to work with Na Kama Kai founder Duane DeSoto to ramp up the energy.





Waimea Valley, North Shore, Oahu Ticketed event open to public johnkellyawards.com The public is invited to check out the Vans movie screening on November 24 at Sunset Beach Elementary, for a doublefeature cinema presenting a new documentary about pro surfer Tomas Hermes, and a film by George Trimm chronicling the latest adventures from pro surfers Dane Gudauskas, Nathan Fletcher, Nate Florence and others in the South Pacific. Sunset Elementary is also hosting their annual Surf Night on Friday, December 1; both events were created to involve the future professional surfers of the world and keep the grom stoke alive through familyfriendly movies, goodie bags, athlete signings, giveaways and more.


The North Shore Community Land Trust hosts the who’s who party of the winter season, the Benefit for the Country, which will take place at Turtle Bay Resort on Saturday, December 2. The nonprofit organization is credited for protecting and preserving open spaces around the North Shore, and Vans is partnering with them in new ways this year to enrich the evening and renew community commitments along Oahu’s Seven Mile Miracle, Vans’ home-away-from-home. To showcase the world’s best pro surfers in a raw, new element, the Vans Skate Jam will light up the Banzai Skatepark and feature a meet-and-greet on December 3 from 12 – 4pm.



SURFER AWARDS, ‘RED CARPET’ AWARDS EVENT HOSTED BY SURFER Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu Private event


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6TH ANNUAL MAULI OLA FOUNDATION NORTH SHORE BENEFIT CONCERT Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu Ticketed event open to public



NORTH SHORE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHRISTMAS PARTY Waimea Valley, North Shore, Oahu Ticketed event open to public, 6pm

“Imagine not being able to surf because of garbage...” When I was a kid surfing in Sand Island & Point Panic in the 70’s, thinking about sewage and pollution in the surf never crossed my mind. In this era, this a very real and present issue. Imagine not being able to surf because of garbage, because this is only a matter of time if we continue to not address these issues properly. A long time ago, Queen Liliʻuokalani & Princess Ka’iulani fought for the right of all Hawai’ian nationals to vote. They did so because they knew that the power to change Hawai’i to what it should be would some day be decided on by voting. In 2018, as candidates for Governor come forward asking for your vote, remember, if they don’t think in earnest, if they don’t act in earnest, then it is time to vote Ernest. Let’s ride this wave together as one people, as we demand clean water for all.

ERNEST DAVID KAIMANA CARAVALHO FOR GOVERNOR OF HAWAI'I 2018 To schedule a meeting with Ernest, for more info, to donate, or volunteer, please go to www.ernestforhawaii.com

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WYATT MCHALE By Kyveli Diener

Sitting down with Wyatt McHale in lush Pupukea where he grew up left me considering the difference between two labels often given to young, skilled surfers: grom and young gun. At just 16-years-old, McHale is definitely still a grom with energy for days and a hearty laugh every time someone goes down in an epic fall. But it’s his composed demeanor, unwavering steely gaze and the peaks of success he reaches both in and out of the water that all make him an unquestionable young gun, an up and comer with eyes on the prize and an unstoppable momentum propelling him straight to the top ahead of the rest. Wyatt’s banner year began in the best

way possible for a born and bred North Shore boy: with perfect Pipe. He was the youngest competitor in the Volcom Pipe Pro in February at 15 years old, but the 8.5 he scored early in Round 1 was the highest single wave score of the contest heat after heat, broken only when Mason Ho nearly got a 10 at the end of the second round. Wyatt turned right around after that contest and excelled in the Pipe Pro Junior, and then was able to keep surfing the wave that is now his absolute favorite on the North Shore. We caught up with this certified young gun and learned about how he got on board with Team Vans and where he plans to go from here. Freesurf: Tell us about how you very first started surfing.

Wyatt McHale: Me and my sister would always go down to Haleiwa and surf on the inside. I don't remember my first wave or my first interaction with surfing, but I just remember growing up surfing all the time. I know when I was 8-years-old I was really psyched on surfing, then I just started entering contests and it built. Do you remember who your first sponsor was and how that started? I think it was Rip Curl at the Haleiwa Menehune contest. Pancho Sullivan was giving out a sponsorship and I got it! It was super crazy and I was super stoked. I was 9. What are your goals for the rest of this year? I just want to surf well out here this winter and hopefully get into the Volcom Pipe and definitely the Vans Triple Crown.


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And how about your goals for your career?

with less people, is really good for building confidence out there.

I think my goals for my overall surfing career are just to be able to make a living surfing. That’s the dream job, so if I could do that, it’d be awesome. And obviously to make it on the Championship Tour, but if I’m just able to make a living surfing, that’s good enough for me.

What were the biggest lessons you took away from Volcom Pipe Pro?

Congratulations on your success in the Volcom Pipe Pro earlier this year! How did that success impact your approach to your surfing and training? It really boosted my confidence. I went out there with really nothing to lose — like you said, I was the youngest guy and I really just wanted to get good waves at Pipe; I wasn’t thinking about making heats. So, I think that attitude just worked out and I got a few really fun waves and a lot of great experience out there. It’s crazy being out there with no one, because usually there’s like a ton of people. It’s cool but it’s also a little weird, like you almost don’t know where to be sometimes. It was a good learning experience. How have you been building off that performance? Did that sort of set the bar for your year? It continued as normal, but for sure boosted my confidence. I just wanted to go out there and do well in the Junior event because I did well at Volcom Pipe Pro. I think if you’re confident, you can do any event and it’ll work out. Are you still feeling the stoke from that event eight months later? Yeah, that was cool. Then we had the Pro Junior at Pipe too, and it was really good for that. I think all that time out there, especially

Just getting to know the wave better. I was there for like three days, and it was different every day, so I got a lot of experience. One day it was kind of a sand bar, one day it was Backdoor and the next day was Pipe. It was good to see the different faces and just be able to adapt. What are a few of your favorite waves here in Hawaii?

In my current quiver, my short board is probably a 5’9” Bastard model from Pyzel. Then I have every kind of step-up: 5’10, 6’0, 6’3, all the way up to like a 6’8, that’s probably the biggest board I have for surfing. Then I have an 8’6 just in case I want to go out somewhere bigger, like Waimea Pinballs. Just a bunch of step-ups and short boards for everything. 5’9 would be my go-to. How did you get involved with Vans? A while ago, Geoff Auberlen — who works for Vans out here — put me on the flow team to just get a couple shoes here and there and I was super stoked. Then I slowly built the relationship with the people over in California, then eventually worked out a deal with them, decided this is what I want to do, and switched over from Rip Curl to Vans. That was last year in July. What is it like being part of the Vans team?

Definitely probably Pipe now, V-Land when I was younger. But now probably Pipe and Backdoor, and also I really like the Sandbar. You can’t go wrong when there’s a good Sandbar. And how about outside Hawaii? There’s a lot. I went to Mentawais a couple years ago on the Grom Games trip for Surfing Magazine — a lot of waves there are super good, like Kandui, Rifle Range. But also somewhere like Lowers can be really fun. I was just in Indonesia, actually — Lakey Peaks is a really good wave too. Tell us about your current quiver and your favorite board heading into the winter season.

It’s so sick! Everyone that works there is super cool and everyone on the team is super cool. I think they’re one of the best companies to be on right now in surfing, so I’m just super stoked to be part of such a great company. Which of your fellow team riders are you tightest with? I just hang out with everybody. Jett Schilling, he’s super cool, and Al Cleland, Kyus and Rasmus King, we’re kind of the grom team. Then also there’s guys like Nathan Florence and Ivan Florence to look up to in Pipe. How do you go “Off The Wall”? I just do my thing and be me. I think that’s kind of what it means, just be true to yourself. Final words for the Freesurf audience? Go out this winter, have fun and be safe!

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HEATHER BROWN Happy Little Waves By Tiffany Foyle When I first met Heather Brown, she worked as a dive instructor at Deep Ecology in Haleiwa (where the current Bottle Shop is). She painted and sold her art there. She was a boat captain, a dive master and waited tables for years before making it as a fulltime artist. She creates mostly in acrylic paint on canvas and her style is best described as happy. But instead of “happy little trees” like Bob Ross, she makes inimitable happy little waves.

“I loved the fact that we could spend as many hours as we wanted in the art labs,” she remembers. “Myself and some friends definitely took advantage of that freedom and flexibility and whenever I had free time, I would be in the studios making as much art and utilizing everything that was there at our fingertips to learn more and experiment with different mediums and processes.”

Heather’s big break occured in 2007 when her art attracted both Jack and Kim Johnson for the Kokua Festival poster art and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (women’s series) for their poster art. This year, she is the chosen artist for the VTCS artwork.

For the past 10 years, Heather has been a full-time artist. She spends 8-12 hours a day, six or seven days a week in her studio. When not working in her studio, she is usually traveling for art shows and events. In order to create, she needs a natural light-filled room with a nice breeze, her husband making art alongside her, some great music playing and their two dogs and two cats snoring away on the floor.

The 43-year-old has been making art since she can remember. “I come from a fairly artistic family, so as a child when I was with my grandparents and other family members, most of what I remember doing was making art and craft projects alongside them,” she recalls. She created art in different mediums throughout her life, but decided to go to school and received her Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. When she first started attending UH, her idea was to study the lost arts of printmaking.

Because every surf artist needs to gain inspiration from the water, Heather learned when she moved to Hawaii 20 years ago by paddling out every single day in Waikiki. “My all-time favorite place to surf in Hawaii will always be Pops in Waikiki,” she says. “It is where I started surfing, where I met so many great friends over the years, and most importantly where I met my husband Chris. Pops is such a fun wave and the longer paddle deters many people. I also love the big Waikiki/ Honolulu perspective that you can get out there.”


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She often gets teased by her husband and friends for not catching waves as she sits out in the lineup, just admiring all of the surrounding beauty. “Surfing to me is more about being entrenched in the ocean and being surrounded by the aquatic life,” she explains. “I love watching the light dance of the ripples in the water, the pull of the water off the reef when a set is approaching, the beauty of the talented surfers in the Islands riding waves of all sizes. My love for the ocean lifestyle is overwhelming and I am so happy to be able to play in the waters and surf these glorious natural wonders.” As Heather’s art has grown internationally, she is able to see its impact on other people’s lives. When she was in Okinawa at the Kadima US Air Force base doing a show for the military families stationed there, a man approached Heather and told her about how he had been in a coma and that the other soldiers put up a print of hers over his eyes so that when he came out, the first thing he would see was her art. “When he came out of the coma, he kept it above his bed for weeks so he could look at it and find his inner peace and find his strength so he could get back in the water,” she remembers. “We met him shortly after he started surfing again and I still tear up just thinking about how special that was. I create art with a simple purpose to bring more smiles to people's faces and a little extra Aloha to their hearts, but in actuality, so many times the people do that to me.” As for this year’s VTCS design, Heather focused on what the client Vans - wanted to see in the art. “There is no particular reason for colors I choose,” she explains. “When I'm creating art, I just like to let it flow and let the art happen rather than to over think it." Overall, her philosophy is simple: “Art is about creating something new.” And that is just what Heather has done for this year’s VTCS. Check out the Triple Crown posters and merchandise for her latest surf art. Her creations are available on Oahu and around the world in multiple galleries and boutiques. Visit HeatherBrownArt.com to see the complete list of locations.


While there will be much glory this winter season at the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, including high scoring rides and a World Champion crowned, there will also be a fair share of wipeouts, broken surfboards and injuries. Each venue - Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline - boasts significant challenges to contestants, such as navigating powerful rip currents and pulling into barrels that break atop shallow, razor-sharp reef. There’s also danger for the audience on hand: rogue waves can wash ashore, pulling personal belongings and sometimes people into the ocean. To fully understand these dangers, how to prepare for them and how we can assist the lifeguards on duty, we asked three members of the Hawaiian Water Patrol - a homegrown company that specializes in ocean safety - to give surfers and beachgoers alike tips on how to protect themselves and others during the winter season.

HALEIWA WITH KAWIKA FOSTER Bio: Age 43, an Ocean Specialist with Hawaiian Water Patrol. I learned to surf as a child at Haleiwa. About the Wave: When it’s 2-3 feet, there’s a right and a left, and when it’s 4-6 feet, the wave is a right, and can be surfed when it’s 10-15 feet. The wave is very powerful too. It will hold you down longer than usual. About the Reef: Haleiwa is all reef; it’s shallow and alive, and there’s crevices and cracks in it. Biggest Dangers: Be careful where you step in the water. There’s a lot of sea urchins, so you can cut your feet. There’s also a current - we call it the treadmill - that pulls toward the Haleiwa Harbor. It’s important to paddle with it every now and then to keep your spot. Another danger

is the Toilet Bowl on the inside of the right-breaking wave. It looks like a round circle, and when a wave comes through, it flushes like a toilet bowl. The crowd can be a danger when the waves are small, too. Rules to Remember: There’s an orange line on the breakwall that represents the current. The current goes toward the breakwall; it runs like a river. So if you’re past the orange line, you have to go around the Haleiwa Harbor to get in, but if you’re inside of that orange line, you can make it in to the beach.



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SUNSET BEACH WITH POMAI HOAPILI Bio: Age 33, born and raised at Paumalu on the North Shore. I’ve been walking Sunset Beach my whole life, and I began working with Hawaiian Water Patrol at age 15. I’ve been helping people on the beach on a private level for 20 years. Any time before that, I was the standard North Shore kid trying to help out people on their vacation.

About the Reef: Sunset breaks in deep water

and then hits a fairly flat reef. Biggest Dangers: The most dangerous aspect is getting in the water. I’ve seen multiple shorebreak injuries, even surfers who won their heat and then get drilled in the shorebreak. When the guys who surf Sunset often paddle out, they make it look so easy that you want to follow them out, but they’ve been paddling out there for years. It’s important to watch and time it. Right after the shorebreak is a current that sweeps right to left when you’re facing the ocean. A lot of foreign surfers get caught up in the current; it’s an overlooked aspect of the wave. The unassuming parts of the ocean are the most dangerous, and for people on the beach who want to get their feet wet, or try taking pictures, that’s where they get into trouble. I’ve seen many cameras and iPhones lost. Rules to Remember: Stay where the footprints are. If you see Keoki

About the Wave: A lot can be said about the Hawaiian name of that area: Paumalu. It means to be taken by surprise, which happens a lot out there. It’s one of the most challenging waves on the North Shore, and sees spectacular barrels and even more spectacular wipeouts. It takes a lot of physical conditioning and drive to rip that wave; it never ceases to amaze what that wave can do and what that wave can do to surfers. You can get barreled on the Point, you can get barreled almost anywhere on that wave and you can do turns. At Haleiwa and Pipeline, you can sit and get a wave, but at Sunset, you have to go get your wave. The wave can range from 2-15 feet or greater, and on the outside, it breaks at 20-30 feet.


dangerous waves in the world. The wave breaks in very shallow water to form that massive tube that everyone rides. Pipeline is the left and Backdoor is the right, and it also breaks in shallow water. Whether you go left or right, it's dangerous. You can ride 4-6 foot, but once it gets to the 6-10 foot range, you’re moving up the ladder and for that, you have to have experience. When it’s 15 feet, it starts breaking on the outer reefs and I would advise an amateur surfer to not paddle out in those conditions. About the Reef: The shallow reef is flat and smooth, but has holes that surfers can get trapped in.

PIPELINE WITH TERRY AHUE Bio: Former City and County of Honolulu Lifeguard, one of the founders for Hawaiian Water Patrol, also trains public-safety agencies on personal watercraft rescue. About the Wave: Pipeline is one of the most

Rules to Remember: Be aware, because waves can wash up and sweep bystanders off the beach. Stand further back from the ocean, and whether you’re surfing or just watching the waves, talk to the lifeguards if you have any questions. pau Heff

footprints, stay there. If you go anywhere in the smooth sand, you’ll get wet or possibly sucked into the ocean.

Biggest Dangers: If a beginner surfer goes out, he or she could get hurt by hitting the bottom, the board could hit them or they could get stuck in one of the caves in the reef. There’s also giant rip currents at ‘Ehukai, Gums, Pupukea and other places. If you swim out and get stuck in one, it’s almost impossible to get back in unless you’re a strong swimmer or know what you’re doing.

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He has to be the number one pick. He’s so well rounded and comfortable at all 3 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing locations: Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipe. I surf Haleiwa often, and live out front of Sunset, so I see him surfing and training at both breaks more than people give him credit for. People think he’s talented, but in comparison to other guys in the VTCS, he really does put in his time and I see it firsthand. So knowing how much work he puts into it, along with his talent, makes him a threat.

Ezekiel Lau

He is someone I’m highly rooting for this year. He’s had success at Haleiwa before and has won at Sunset, but it’s going to be difficult for him because he will be in a high pressure situation: he needs points on both the WSL Championship Tour and the Qualifying Series. I’m hoping he does well.

Frederico Morais

Frederico could be a smart darkhorse pick, because he made the Finals in both Haleiwa and Sunset last year. That, combined with him doing well on the CT this year and the confidence he’s gained along the way, I think he’s going to be a factor, especially if it comes down to smaller Backdoor. If it’s big west lefts at Pipe, I’m not sure if he’ll do as well because we’ve never seen him on big lefts, but I’m keeping an eye on him. He might surprise.

Owen Wright

Wright is one of the only goofy footers that I think could win the VTCS. He has a great backhand, as everyone knows, and if it’s smaller, he has the airs to go with it. It’s going to be cool to see him come back after his injury, and I think he’s going to rule.

Billy Kemper

I’ve been following his Instagram stories, and he’s been eating and training well. He surfs massive Jaws and is a serious competitor: he doesn’t mind sitting on you or taking you deep. He knows how to play the game. He’s very smart and if he has to use tactics against you, he will. I think he’s underrated in that sense, and with how dedicated he is to his training, I think he can do really well this year.

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DARIN YAP AT TACTICAL STRENGTH Story and photos by Chris Latronic

We heard you don’t just train Zeke but a handful of other surfers, like Kekoa Cazimero and Seth and Josh Moniz. How did that come about?

In the heat of a Honolulu morning, I made my way onto Waimanu street in the Ward/Kakaako area, a quaint little side street bustling with daily business. Nestled in a nook of the Kakaako Fitness facility lives Tactical Strength, the training center for some of Oahu’s top athletes and more recently, some of Hawaii’s best surfers. I talked with Darin Yap, a local boy with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from UH Manoa, to find out how his training program has been helping some of our star surf athletes, like World Surf League Championship Tour rookie Ezekiel Lau, Kekoa Cazimero, and Seth and Josh Moniz push their skills to the next level. Freesurf: Darin, how did Tactical Strength begin training surfers? Darin Yap: The first elite surfer we had at Tactical Strength was Ezekiel Lau. He came in his senior year of high school with a friend, and Zeke wanted to be more explosive, throw more water and do bigger turns. What has Zeke’s progression been in the gym? After Zeke graduated, he got onto a bigger stage. Then he hit a little bumpy road, a patch where we weren’t having the results we wanted to achieve. Part of that process was trying to figure out what he needed to do better in the water. We realized that it wasn’t always about throwing a lot of water and being a really powerful surfer. It was about trying to link moves together and being able to decelerate in the water and quickly accelerate again, so being more agile so that he could link his moves together quicker and be a little bit smoother when he was riding.

Kekoa’s little brother was in here training for football initially, that’s how we linked up with Kekoa. Zeke brought the Moniz boys in, and they brought some of the other guys in and it happened word of mouth like that. We haven’t been doing this for that long, as far as working with surfers. We’ve been training athletes since 1999, but our surfing program is pretty new. Every off season that these guys come back in, it continues to evolve as we keep trying to figure out what these guys need to perform better. For each one of these guys, they have different things they have to work on, whether it be mobility or getting stronger or more core strength. Whatever it is, each guy has their own thing they’re focusing on. How do you tailor these workouts to each specific surfer? Surfers are unique in that they need to get into extreme ranges of motion, and not only do they have to be in that position - which is unique in itself - they also have to be strong when in that position. They need to be able to explode out of that position, and do it while they’re riding a wave through balancing and coordination of staying on their line and all that. We do a ton of what we call anti rotation. In order for them to decelerate and stick their landings, now we have to decelerate that, have that spine stabilized and stick that landing and hit our next move. I think that’s the next area we’re continuing to progress our programs. How do you think outside the box when you’re creating these workouts, Darin? We sit down and watch video all the time. Kekoa will bring in video of him surfing and look at the angles. Everyone’s style is different, from Kekoa to Seth and Josh. I sit down individually with them over their surf videos, look at where they have to produce power and in what range, and how we can go about trying to support that moment. Sometimes we look at other people’s surfing.

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Other than Zeke and other South Shore surfers like Kekoa and the Moniz brothers, who else do you train? Clark Little, Hans Hedemann’s son Zach, Diego Ferri and Kai Martin. What’s it like for you, Darin, to be training the premiere surfers from the South Shore? It’s an honor obviously. I love working with athletes who are as talented as they are. What makes me more passionate about what I do is seeing the commitment these guys have and how bad they want it. It’s not necessarily the fact these guys are at the top of their sport; I think I get more enjoyment seeing the commitment and focus they bring to their craft. What’s the future of Tactical Strength? How important is flexibility, Darin? It’s huge. I think flexibility is important because it allows them to get into that deep range that they need. However, they need to be strong in that range and explode out of that range. Flexibility is only a part of that. Just because you can get into that position, doesn’t mean you own it in a sense that you’re able to be strong. While we do focus on flexibility and getting them into that range without compensation, we want them to be strong in that range, which majority of the program focuses on. Ankle mobility is huge too. It plays a big role in whether they can squat or not without compensation, so we’ll do a lot of calf stretching and work out of a deep squat.

I don’t try to look too far ahead. We have so many important things to do in the present. We’re working and grinding every day, just trying to get these guys better. I don’t take too much time to forecast where Tactical Strength is going; I try and look at my guys and see if they’re getting better. That might not be a good business model, but I never got into this business to have an empire. All I want to do is make sure the guys who entrust me with helping them get better every day.

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Leading the charge in the surfing contest world, not only for just one contest, but for three, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing remains the vanguard of surf contest sustainability. Going on five years of pushing the envelope, the sustainability goals for the cumulative series continue to challenge the organizers and the participants. It’s this challenge that keeps sustainability relevant with all parties on board to continue to improve. Improving is exactly what we want to do this year, and there’s a number of ways to get involved, from purchasing merchandise that is later funneled to local nonprofits and schools, placing your trash in the correct receptacle, being aware of sustainability measures and more.

Using Bio-Diesel for Power The production of these events consumes large amounts of power. Historically, including the present, the vast majority of events continues to be powered by diesel. But the VTCS will once again be using 70% bio-diesel sourced from local sources on Oahu, minimizing reliance on fossil fuels to power all the equipment and broadcast. How to Reduce Traffic The VTCS helps mitigate traffic in several ways. They partnered with Turtle Bay Resort to offer shuttles for anyone., they also produce a world-class broadcast for free, plus a live and replay coverage on Spectrum SURF Channel, on digital channels 250 sd and 1250 hd, and in addition, the event encourages people to use alternative forms of transportation to event sites, like bicycles, skateboards, The Bus, even da slippahs! Investing in Carbon Offset Projects The estimated total carbon created by the event has been offset through verified carbon credits, including projects that preserve rainforest and help Brazilian communities switch to biomass to power their homes. It is the goal of the VTCS to invest in a local Hawaiian carbon offset project for future events, once an offset project has been third party verified. The recent formation of the State of Hawaii Carbon Farming Task Force is a step towards such. 156

Supporting Local Nonprofits and Schools Sales from all the shirts and other items found in the merchandise area, along with funds raised during the annual golf tournament, will go to support local nonprofits and schools. Last year, raised funds were donated to over 20 groups, such as the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group, Haleiwa Arts Festival, Na Lio Kai Pony Club, North Shore Community Land Trust, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, AccesSurf Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation, Malama I Ke Ala Pupukea, Friends of Ali’i Beach, Na Kama Kai, Sunset Beach Christian School/ Church, Sunset Beach Elementary School, Haleiwa Elementary School and Waialua Elementary School. Additional community groups supported through charitable collaborations and in-kind contributions were Farrington High School, Kamehameha Schools, Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, Hui o He’e Nalu (Da Hui), West Side youth outreach donations, City & County of Honolulu North Shore lifeguards, and City & County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation North Shore Summer Fun youth programs/volunteer appreciation.So pick up some souvenirs and feel good about doing it! Waste Diversion Systems You’ve probably already seen the waste diversion tents and box systems around the contest venues and maybe even got to interact with them. Granted to most, it’s something totally new and can be confusing, especially considering what may be recyclable where you’re from is not recyclable in Hawaii. Remember, we’re on an island in the

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+ Go Plastic Free: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) is striving to be a plastic-free event series through the efforts of WSL, Vans, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Kōkua Hawai’i Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawai’i program, Hydro Flask, and our official event vendors. Please join our efforts and help eliminate single-use plastics and overall rubbish. + Bring a Reusable Bottle: Bring your own reusable water bottle to the beach. If you forget, you’ll be able to purchase a special edition Hydro Flask at the VTCS event sites. Go the extra mile and bring a reusable utensil and plate for any meals you may buy on site. + Support Official Event Vendors: Official VTCS event vendors use compostable materials and participate in VTCS and island-wide sustainability programs, including Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants. Show your support for their efforts by looking for the ‘Ocean Friendly Restaurant’ official decal and choosing to patronize vendors that put the ocean before the bottom line. You’ll be supporting North Shore businesses, families, and our local economy — mahalo. + Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Use the official Turtle Bay Resort VTCS shuttle, take TheBus, and/or carpool whenever you can! Better yet, take advantage of our world-class bike path and walk, bike, or skate your way to and from the events. + Reduce Your Trash Footprint: Be mindful about the amount of trash you create. For example: Don’t suck! Refuse unnecessary straws and lids. At VTCS event sites, look for the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii sorting receptacles and toss your trash correctly! VTCS composts in partnership with Waihuena Farm across from Pipeline/Off the Wall. + Think Reef Safe: Consider reef-safe sunscreens or sunprotective clothing that won’t damage our reefs or ocean ecosystems. Avoid products that contain these ingredients: oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, avobenzone and visit https://bantoxicsunscreens.files. wordpress.com/2017/04/eco-friendly-reef-safe-sunscreenguide-ban-toxic-sunscreens-web2.pdf to learn more. + Expand Your Surfing Horizons: With a visit to the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s ProTEST Hub. Learn more about eco-friendly surfboards and their implications for the future of surfing. + Share & Inspire Others: By using these hashtags when posting: #vtcssustainability #divertyowaste #cleanyobeach #thisisaway @wsl @vanstriplecrownsurf @sustainablecoastlineshawaii

middle of the Pacific Ocean. The goal of this program is to reduce the amount of waste created during the VTCS. Since 2013 when 29% of waste was diverted, to last year when 65% was diverted, the rates of diversion have been steadily increasing. It’s not just because of the tireless work by the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii crew, but rather through the spectators, organizers, staff and contestants that understand why and most importantly how. To help ahead of the VTCS events, here is a breakdown of the waste diversion tents: Hole 1: RECYCLE - In Hawaii we can recycle HI-5 Recyclables, which means bottles and cans that have the HI-5 logo on them. When the drink is purchased, you paid a $.05 deposit. When they are returned, the $.05 goes back to the returner. Last year, that recycling program brought in close to $400 for the Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization. We do not commercially recycle any paper or plastics, just the HI-5, so please only put those into hole 1. Hole 2: COMPOST: Luckily, we can compost a lot! In 2016, Vans purchased a chipper for SCH that allowed the organization to chip up all compostable plates, cutlery, cups and food scraps. The trick is making sure that the products you’re using are indeed compostable. The way to find out is if the material says ‘compostable’ on it. If in doubt, don’t put it in hole 2. Compost goes to a local farm to be composted, and eventually used as soil on the farm that grows some of the food for the next year’s VTCS. Hole 3: TRASH: Everything else goes into this hole. Last year’s breakdown was as follows: 19% Recyclables (1,288 lbs) / 46% Compost (3,103 lbs) / 35% Trash (2,359 lbs) For this year, the goal is to match if not exceed the 65% diversion rate. During the duration of the VTCS, SCH will be in local schools educating about the measures listed above in addition to their normal presentations focused on keeping our beaches clean and instilling the mantra “clean beaches start at home”. It’s our hope that others can look to the VTCS and be inspired to take steps to make their own events more conscious of the impacts they’re making on our aina. Let’s not wait for lawmakers to mandate this requirement; let’s just do it because it’s the right thing to do. Kahi Pacarro is the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

The Surfer’s Shaper Luke Tema Photo: Patrick Vieira

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Hawaii’s own Kalani Robb announced that he is serving as the new creative director for 7TILL8 Custom Wetsuits, a Los Angeles-based custom wetsuit company. “From my years as a professional surfer, wetsuit design has always been a priority to me,” Kalani said. “I am excited to be a part of the 7TILL8 team as Creative Director and to contribute my knowledge to their product development team. I look forward to developing products that will allow me to create unique campaigns and direct their brand towards a fun and exciting new path.” To see 7Till8’s wetsuits, visit www.7TILL8.com.

If you’re shopping for a new single fin for your longboard, Randy Rarick advises to try out the new BlackTip fin. “This fin has a power flex in middle that gives spring out of turn, and it’s the best single fin I’ve seen in the last 15 years bar none. “ Ask for it at your local surf shop!


Haleiwa’s homegrown artist, Julie Patacchia, launched an art installation at Turtle Bay, and it will be on display until

the end of the year just beyond the lobby near Nalu Kinetic Spa and Pa‘akai Restaurant. Those who visit the infamous North Shore this winter can view iconic paintings that chronicle the landmarks, traditions and pastimes of the once sleepy and rural North Shore. She paints the neighborhoods of old sugar mill homes and dusty streets, the bridge and stream in Haleiwa that have passed through a thousand times, the ocean she played in her entire life, historic buildings and gathering places, the flowers used to express Aloha, and the unique people rich in culture and tradition. Her art is life on canvas — an authentic portrait of the North Shore.

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While one of the focal points of the winter season will be on the action the three Vans Triple Crown of Surfing locations, lay days present the opportunity for the world’s best surfers to showcase progressive airs, spray-infused turns and deep barrels, further exemplified by Billy Kemper’s Backdoor barrel. Photo:Brent Bielmann

Profile for Freesurf Magazine

V14n11 Van's Triple Crown of Surfing 2017  

V14n11 Van's Triple Crown of Surfing 2017  

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