Hawaiian winter surf is forecast to arrive on cue this Wednesday for an immediate, high-energy start to the REEF Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach – the first stage of the 32nd annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore.
Surfline, official forecaster for the series, is calling for powerful surf in the order of 15- to 20-foot faces and light winds – as good as Haleiwa gets. More than that, there is a high likelihood that the event could have an unprecedented run of four consecutive days of big waves that would see a champion crowned as early as Saturday.
Reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) will lead the 128-man field of the REEF Hawaiian Pro and sees the event as an important opportunity to maintain form ahead of his world title showdown at Pipeline in December. It doesn’t hurt that the forecast promises precisely the kind of surf that gets his juices flowing. Fanning is hot off a win at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal and looking to maintain the form that could lead to his fourth ASP World Title.
“I love surfing Haleiwa, it’s one of my favorite waves in the world,” says Fanning. “In my eyes it’s one of the most high-performance big waves. I’m really excited to surf it again with the forecast looking so solid! This event gives me an opportunity to get used to my Hawaii boards and get reacquainted with the power.”
The REEF Hawaiian Pro is a PRIME rated event on the ASP Qualifying Series. It offers critical qualification points for fresh challengers looking to solidify a berth on the 2015 Championship Tour (CT) and take on the established leaders of the sport. For the 28 elite CT competitors entering the event – like Fanning, John John Florence (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), and defending REEF Hawaiian Pro champion Michel Bourez (PYF) – it’s an opportunity to size up a larger field of international talent, fine-tune equipment, and adjust to the power and competitive intensity that makes Hawaii the ultimate challenge for a surfer.
The six wildcards have also been announced for this event: Luke Davis (USA); Ian Gouveia (BRA); Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI); Nathan Florence (HAW); Mason Ho (HAW); and Torrey Meister (HAW).
REEF’s Clash of the Legends has been staged as part of the REEF Hawaiian Pro since 2010. This year, however, the ASP has migrated this event-within-an-event into the ASP Heritage Series, and it will take place during the competition window at Pipeline. In future years, the Heritage Series will be included at one of the three Vans Triple Crown venues, meaning that Haleiwa and Sunset will again be options.
After-dark events are also a trademark of the 6-week Vans Triple Crown series, and this week’s feature events include:
- Thursday, November 13, 8 p.m. – Talk Story with filmmaker Cyrus Sutton, presented by REEF. Surfer The Bar, Turtle Bay Resort.
- Friday, November 14, 5 – 9:30 p.m. – The REEF Hawaiian Pro Beach Party at Ola’s Restaurant, Turtle Bay Resort. After Party at Surfer The Bar.
- Saturday, November 15, 6 p.m. – Annual Surfrider Foundation John Kelly Awards at Waimea Valley – Official Kick-Off Party of the Vans Triple Crown.
The 2014 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, produced by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), will run from November 12 through December 20. All events are free and open to the public.