The holding period for the second gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – the Vans World Cup of Surfing – officially starts today at one of the most celebrated big wave breaks in the world: Sunset Beach. Known for its massive waves and vast playing field, surfers’ athleticism will be rightly tested as they battle for position in the lineup. The holding period is November 24 – December 6, and contest organizers are looking forward to solid surf and contestable waves.
“The forecast for the Vans World Cup is highly promising at this stage,” said Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Director Marty Thomas. “Unlike Haleiwa, which requires a more westerly swell, Sunset Beach is a magnet for any waves directed toward the North Shore. We’re already tracking a number of solid NW swells heading our way. We have four full days of competition and we’re anticipating large, high performance yet challenging surf at Sunset Beach.”
After an exceptional final in head-high surf at Haleiwa’s Hawaiian Pro last Saturday, athletes will now test their big wave skills at Sunset. With a $250,000 prize purse up for grabs and critical season-ending ratings points, expect an extremely charged and dramatic competition over the next two weeks at the Vans World Cup of Surfing. This contest is the last QS10,000 event of 2015, and tension is high for athletes on the cusp of qualifying for the World Surf League’s premier tour: the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour.
There are 128 surfers competing in the Vans World Cup, with a mix of international and local standouts including defending champion Michel Bourez (PYF), recent Hawaiian Pro winner Wade Carmichael (AUS) and local favorites Dusty Payne (Maui) and Ezekiel Lau (Honolulu). Payne and Lau bettered their QS standings with a third and fourth place finish, respectively, at the Hawaiian Pro, and are looking to come into the next event strong.
“Any heats that I win is going to increase my rating so I’m just trying to take it one heat at a time,” said Lau. “I’m not going to go crunch points right now, we have Sunset coming up and I’m just going to focus on my next heat.”
Payne is happy to be home and competing in familiar territory. Last year’s Hawaiian Pro, another QS10,000, helped launch his career on the World Tour, and this year the Maui surfer is looking to have just as much fun.
“It’s huge to have these 10,000’s here in Hawaii,” said Payne in his post Final heat interview at Haleiwa. “We travel all around the world surfing these 10,000s and the waves are maybe as good as the shore break in here [Haleiwa] … Hawaii has the best waves in the world so I think they should have the whole tour here.”
Organizers will make a call each morning at 7am during the holding period. There will be no competition this Thursday in respect of Thanksgiving Day.