Words: Brendan Buckley
The Vans World Cup of Surfing saw many moods of Sunset Beach. Big and mean. Awkwardly undersized. Frumpy like a collegiate softball star. Eighty-three heats told 83 different stories, but only one of them mattered. Sunset's mood for the final was charming: 4-to -6 foot (we're in Hawaii) handsome blue walls, offshore and inviting. Gabriel Medina, Sebastian Zietz, Ace Buchan and Adam Melling dug in.
Early in the final, Seabass sniffed out tubes like a hound dog, and laid rail like an ironworker. After being a Kauaian Cinderella at Haleiwa, it seemed as though it was Bass's destiny to win. Or at least Gabriel Medina's destiny to sabotage it. The Aussies had been shushed for the first 30 minutes. Then, the countdown clock struck 5:00.
It wasn't a flurry — more of a blizzard. Ace Buchan started the storm with a few crispy turns. He seemed to care for the turns a bit more than the judges did, thrusting two clenched fists in celebration. Then, Melling. What a horse. He looked like a stocky Fanning, hacking a Sunset wall thrice before overpowering the end section with a final smash. Then, a "THIS FEELS SO AMAZING" claim. Melling fans ignited, but their excitement was short lived. Gabriel, that destiny thief, knitted his way through a Sunset tube and soon made two feisty turns. An "I just spoiled your destiny!" claim. The sea went quiet and the judges began to sweat.
Three well surfed waves, three claims. But the podium is picky, and so they deemed Melling's horsepower worthy of the marbles, handing him $40K and a World Tour itinerary for 2013. And Sebastian Zietz gets a prize for being the only surfer not to claim a wave in the final and a wildcard into Pipe to keep his Triple Crown dream alive. How sweet it all was.
Check the Heat Analyzer and judge for yourself, sans the perspiration of vocational pressure.
Vans World Cup of Surfing Results
1. Adam Melling (AUS) 16.16pts, $40,000
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.67pts, $20,000
3. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.70pts, $12,000
4. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.26pts, $10,000
Triple Crown standings after 2 of 3 events:
1. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10,950
=2. Adam Melling (AUS) 7,200
=2. Alejo Muniz (BRZ) 7,200
=4. John John Florence (HAW) 6,500
=4. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6,500.