Two new champions were crowned yesterday at the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro won the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and Australia’s Tyler Wright won the O’Neill Women’s World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.
Wright, a 16-year-old who placed third at the Cholo’s Women’s Hawaiian Pro last month, also was awarded the female Triple Crown rookie of the year award. The young Australian saved her best surfing for the final. She posted the highest-scoring ride of the event: a 9.57 out of a possible 10 points. Furthermore, she had the entire field needing a combination of scores within the first 5 minutes of the final.
"I just really had nothing to lose in these events. I just went in there to have fun and catch some waves," said Wright who posted a two-wave total of 17.24 out of a possible 20 points in the final. "It started pulsing there for a little bit and I was happy."
Sunset Beach’s Coco Ho, 19, was the runner-up. Current world champion Stephanie Gilmore, 23, took third and Australian Sally Fitzgibbons finished fourth.
"It was super fun. It was north (swell direction) and we were kind of sitting on the Boneyard (section)," said Ho of the conditions and 8-foot wave face heights. "It’s a fun wave where you can get six turns. It’s a picture-perfect point. The Boneyard, you catch it from deep and it’s a barreling section that you can float or do whatever on."
On the men’s side, Monteiro seemed to link up the longest rides from the Boneyard section the best. He is the first Brazilian since Fabio Gouveia in 1991 to win the O’Neill World Cup. They are the only two Brazilian men to win a Triple Crown event.
"It means a lot to me because I’ve been trying to do good in Hawaii for so long," said Monteiro, who has been coming here for the past 15 seasons. "I just tried to sit out there and I knew when the set comes the wave first breaks on Boneyards out there deep. So I knew if you get the waves that go all the way through the bank you can make some good turns, so I just tried to do that and it worked."
Monteiro won the event with a two-wave total of 14.27. Australian Julian Wilson finished in second place, and was also awarded the male Triple Crown rookie of the year. Maui’s Granger Larsen claimed third place and Australia’s Josh Kerr finished fourth.