On a day at Sunset that saw clean but fading 6- to 8-foot swell, the Vans World Cup of Surfing charged from the Round of 32 through to the Final, culminating in an epic finale between Ace Buchan, Gabriel Medina, Sebastian “Seabass” Zietz, and Adam Melling.
Fresh off a win at the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa (which qualified him for the 2013 World Tour), Zietz screamed through the early rounds at Sunset into his second Triple Crown Final in a row. No surfer has won back-to-back Triple Crown events since Sunny Garcia did it in 2000, a record that for another year will remain intact. With his third-place finish, Seabass solidified his spot on top of the Triple Crown standings and earned himself a wildcard into the Pipe Masters come Dec. 8.
Melling needed a second or better in the contest to requalify for the 2013 World Tour. Sitting in third place with only 3:00 left in the Final, Melling stroked into a trademark Sunset right, linking four turns through to the inside bowl for a 9.33. "I was just focusing on the cramps I had in my arm, I was so tired," said Melling. "I knew if one would come through from out the point it'd run across, and I got the wave, I can't believe it."
As he kicked out, he looked out to the channel to see Medina trim through an outside barrel and finish with a couple backhand hacks. The wave was good for an 8.17, but only good enough for a second-place finish. "I was paddling back out and I looked over and saw him come out of the pit," said Melling. "I was like, 'Oh, what's he done here?' But it went my way, so stoked."
With the win, Melling guaranteed himself a spot on the 2013 World Tour and put himself in some good company at Sunset. "All the guys with their names on this World Cup of Surfing trophy, they're some of the best surfers in the world,” he said. “I can't believe I've added my name to it. It's surreal right now."
Watch all the heats from the Vans World Cup of Surfing with the Triple Crown Heat Analyzer.