Oahu is known as the Gathering Place, and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drinks echoes the island’s moniker.
Today marks the official start of the Triple Crown, with the Reef Hawaiian Pro and Cholo’s Women’s Hawaiian Pro at Ali’i Beach Park beginning their holding periods.
The Triple Crown is a highly coveted title, and annually brings the international surf community together on the North Shore.
"It’s the most prestigious trio of events in the world," said 2009 Reef Hawaiian Pro Champion Joel Centeio. "To do well at them is huge. It’s held in waves of consequence, so I’m always excited to be a part of the Triple Crown and always looking to do well."
With the recent death of three-time world champion and four-time Triple Crown winner Andy Irons, the event is certain to be more emotional this year.
"Andy Irons’ death hit every surfer in the entire world. I think everybody is still in a bit of shock," said Centeio, a friend of Irons’. "Surfing lost one of the biggest icons of the sport and it’s going to be a bummer, but (the Triple Crown) is going to go on. If I win, or I’m sure if anybody else wins, they’re going to dedicate it to Andy Irons and his family."
VANS TRIPLE CROWN OF SURFING
» Reef Hawaiian Pro & Cholo’s Women’s Pro At Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park Nov. 12-23
» O’Neill World Cup of Surfing (men) & Gidget Pro (women) At Sunset Beach Nov. 24-Dec. 6
» Billabong Pipe Masters & Vans Women’s Duel for the Jewel
At Banzai Pipeline Dec. 8-20
The Triple Crown will not run on Sunday to allow competitors to pay their respects to their brother and friend on Kauai at a memorial service for Irons.
"A lot of the guys that travel doing the QS and CT become really close because you’re with them all around the world," explained Centeio of the bonds in pro surfing. "To lose such a big name like Andy Irons brings all the surfers more close."
The Triple Crown of Surfing also will bring the action closer to fans in their living rooms. The live webcast on vanstriplecrownof surfing.com and the free Vans Live applications allow people to view all the action on their computers and mobile devices when the contest runs. In addition, on lay days, there will be a live morning show titled "The Call" that will highlight all of competitive highlights and lifestyle of the North Shore.
Centeio said the live telecast of the Triple Crown on Oceanic Time Warner Cable is the most beneficial way to watch for fans and athletes.
"The fans of surfing get to interact more with the athletes," said Centeio of the live webcast and telecast. "It’s just making surfing bigger and better and it’s good for everybody. The fans get psyched to the see the surfers, and for me it’s great for the exposure and sponsorships."
In addition, there will be the Clash of the Legends heat between Mark Occhilupo, Tom Carroll, Tom Curren and Sunny Garcia, as well as the crowing of Miss Reef, which will be held at Haleiwa Beach Park tomorrow at 4 p.m.