HALEIWA/Oahu/Hawaii (Saturday, November 17, 2012) – The big guns entered the draw at the REEF Hawaiian Pro today and the battle for the 30th anniversary Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title began in earnest. Super clean and contestable 4-foot surf may have been smaller than yesterday’s offering, but it opened up the door for the full spectrum of maneuvers from tube rides to aerials. With four surfers in the water at any given time, the judges had their work cut out for them: A total of 1,053 individual rides were scored today.
The entrance of ASP World Championship Tour competitors Kelly Slater (USA), John Florence (HAW), Gabriel Medina (Brz), Michel Bourez (PYF), CJ Hobgood (USA), and Bede Durbidge (AUS) took the intensity up a notch.
Slater drew the biggest crowd, paired up against the legendary Hawaiian Sunny Garcia, Alex Smith (HAW), and Jesse Mendes (BRZ). Garcia offered up a spirited contest from the outset, locking in a clean tube-ride that shot a message to long-time rival Slater that the game was on. Slater’s trump card was his aerials, while Garcia focused his energy on securing the biggest waves that better suited his power gouging approach.
“He’s just as grumpy as ever, I love it,” said Slater, on Sunny. “He has to catch the first wave and paddles right back around you. You’ve got to try to get a score and put a little pressure on him… but you know Sunny, he’s stubborn, he’s got this mentality where you know he’s going to play the heat his way, and you can’t change that. So you have to do your own thing.”
Garcia was doing double time again today, switching between the main event and the final heat of the exhibition REEF Clash of the Legends against Kaipo Jaquias (HAW), Mark Occhilupo (AUS), and Tom Curren (USA). Garcia eventually won the Clash for a bonus $10,000.
Despite the nostalgic glory of winning the Legends, it’s safe to say that Garcia’s real focus today was on proving his place in the lineup against Slater. Including today, the pair have faced off 16 times during their careers – Slater holding the upper hand with 11 wins. Satisfied with his performance, Garcia was full of praise for Slater.
“Kelly is always in it to win it,” said Garcia. “That guy has the deepest desire to win events of anybody I’ve ever known, so it’s going to take a lot to beat him, and I’m up to it.
“Kelly’s the greatest of all time. Even I have a hard time saying it, but I’ll say it: ‘he’s the best surfer ever’, and I’m very proud of him, the way he’s carried surfing for so long. He’s done a great job being an ambassador for surfing and I’m just grateful to be able to call him a friend.”
Gabriel Medina (BRZ) surfed the last heat of the round of 96 today and flew through a dizzying display of aerials to post an event-high heat score of 17 points out of a possible 20.
“Hopefully I can do good in the Triple Crown, that’s what I’m looking for,” said Medina. “This is my first time doing it serious. Last year I did Triple Crown and I wasn’t too serious but now I’m trying to get focused and I really want to get this.
“I prefer conditions like this, lefts and kind of windy so I can do big airs. I just try to go big and get high scores… and I think it worked.”
Inspired by Dane Reynolds’ layback hack of yesterday – a single move that reverberated through cyber-space – John John Florence arrived for his opening heat today. He went on to post the top single wave score of the round – 9.4 – with an outrageous air that rockets him into contention for the Hawaii Air Show award: 250,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles for the best aerial of the Triple Crown.
“I kept hearing about Dane’s turn and had to watch (the video),” said Florence. “It was just crazy. It was like the craziest turn I’ve ever seen out here!
“This event is really exciting. It’s fun, it’s a bit different than the (elite tour events). It’s harder. You have a lot of guys groveling for each wave and it’s definitely fun.”
Reynolds (Ventura, CA) marched on in solid form again today, as did Keanu Asing (HAW), Nathan Hedge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS).
The first two heats of the Round of 32 were held before day’s end and resulted in the elimination of Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), Dege O’Connell, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) and Alain Riou (PYF).
Organizers will reassess the conditions at first light tomorrow morning for a possible final day of action.
Complete results from today follow down below.
In celebration of 30 years of world class surfing, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing hydrated by vitaminwater offers $1million in prize money this year, including a $100,000 bonus, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a $10,000 custom Nixon watch for the overall series champion. Each of the three events of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has a two-week holding period within which to run, requiring just 3-4 days of excellent surf to be completed. To find out when the event is running, log on to:
CLASH OF THE LEGENDS FINAL:
Final : Sunny Garcia (HAW) 27.90pts ; Kaipo Jaquias (HAW) 26.46pts ; Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 26.28pts ; Tom Curren (USA) 25.23pts
ROUND OF 64:
H1 : Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 14.57pts ; Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 13.16pts ; Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.63pts ; Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 12.30pts
H2 : Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.60pts ; Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.53pts ; Kai Otton (AUS) 12.26pts ; Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 11.73pts
H3 : Alain Riou (PYF) 13.60pts ; Nat Young (USA) 12.33pts ; Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.60pts ; Travis Logie (ZAF) 3.53pts
H4 : Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.83pts ; Dege O’Connell (HAW) ; Glenn Hall (IRL) 8.53pts ; Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 8.23pts
H5 : Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.26pts ; Cory Lopez (USA)13.34pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 11.50pts ; Romain Cloitre (FRA) 0.00pts
H6 : CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.60pts ; Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 14.30pts ; Hank Gaskell (HAW) 11.60pts ; Gabe Kling (USA) 10.60pts
H7 : Brett Simpson (USA) 11.00pts ; Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.90pts ; Charles Martin (GLP) 7.50pts ; Marc Lacomare (FRA) 7.04pts
H8 : Kelly Slater (USA) 14.60pts ; Sunny Garcia (HAW) 10.80pts ; Alex Smith (HAW) 9.73pts ; Jesse Mendes (BRA) 8.93pts
H9 : John John Florence (HAW) 16.90pts ; Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.07pts ; Dylan Goodale (HAW) 9.67pts ; Koa Smith (HAW) 7.06pts
H10 : Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.70pts ; Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.60pts ; Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.90pts ; Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.83pts
H11 : Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.74pts ; Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.43pts ; Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.33pts ; Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 10.06pts
H12 : Alejo Muniz (BRA) ; Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 13.97pts ; Mason Ho (HAW) 13.76pts ; Taylor Knox (USA) 9.90pts
H13 : Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.33pts ; Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.90pts ; Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.23pts ; Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.80pts
H14 : Bede Durbridge (AUS) 14.10pts ; Gavin Gillette (HAW) 9.87pts ; Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.77pts ; Olomana Eleogram (HAW) 7.00pts
H15 : Perth Standlick (AUS) 14.83pts ; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.30pts ; Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.23pts ; Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.67pts
H16 : Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.00pts ; Evan Valiere (HAW) 10.50pts ; Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 7.78pts ; Luke Davis (USA) 6.60pts
ROUND OF 32:
H1 : Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.16pts ; Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.70pts ; Dege O’Connell (HAW) 12.33pts ; Nat Young (USA) 10.13pts
H2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.97pts ; Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.10pts ; Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.23pts; Alain Riou (PYF) 7.84