Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?


Vans and the world of big prize money

The fact that PROFESSIONAL SURFERS ever complain about anything, ever, is a f--kin' head-scratcher, but when talks turn to improving the ASP World Tour, low prize money is commonly cited as a problem.

Maybe the surfers have a point: they pay their own way around the globe, endure long and expensive waiting periods, and then put their bodies on the line in deadly waves and aerial contortions. Torn ACL? Two weeks in a French hotel? Airline boardbag fees? Put it all on Mastercard and pray you make enough heats to break even.

Help is on the way: the ASP is adding surfer health insurance and bigger purses to the 2010 World Tour - but Vans decided not to wait for the new year. The Vans Triple Crown is now the first surf event offering $1 million in prize money, including an extra fifty gees each to the world champ, the Triple Crown champ, and the 2009 Billabong Pipe master. Get that money.

But how does it compare to other prizes offered in sport and entertainment this year?



The prize: $1 million, awarded over the course of the Vans Triple Crown to surfers in the six men's and women's events between now and Christmas.

The challenge: Big results in each jewel of the Triple Crown, usually by getting massive shacks. Otherwise big carves will do it.

What winners do with the money: Buy a flood of beer, party for days, build a palace on Bali.



The prize: $1.6 million, awarded to singles champs at the US Open of Tennis.

The challenge: Yellow ball over net. Maybe an impolite fan or something.

What winners do with the money: Crystal meth habit, apparently.



The prize: $972,000, awarded to the winner of the Sony Open - the only PGA Tour event on the island of Oahu.

The challenge: White ball in cup. Fugly pants.

What winner did with the money: Bowflex machine, speedboat and Bosley hair restoration system.



The prize: $1.46 million, awarded to Barack Obama as part of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The challenge: World peace and other things.

What winners do with the money: Life-sized Taylor Swift doll "for his daughters."



The prize: $1 million, awarded by online movie rental company Netflix to a team of software engineers.

The challenge: Use computer machines to predict what movie a customer wants to rent.

What winners do with the money: Pay for sex (probably).



The prize: $100,000, awarded to the winner of America's Next Top Model.

The challenge: Be really, really, ridiculously good looking, and purge after meals.

What winners do with the money: Cigarettes, mirrors, razor blades. And lipstick.



The prize: $1million, awarded to the winner of Doritos' Super Bowl commercial contest.

The challenge: Make Americans desire a fatty, cheesy, unhealthy snack. Real f--kin' hard.

What winners do with the money: Star Wars cards and more Doritos.