Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro, 28, became the first South American male in 20 years to win the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, since Fabio Gouveia in 1991. Monteiro is only the second South American male in the 28-year history of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing to win any event here. His victory today was worth $20,000 and major credibility.

Today’s 30-minute final was hard-fought and far removed from the usual Sunset lineup with head-high waves from a strong northerly direction forcing surfers way up the point. The final consisted of Monteiro, Hawaii’s Granger Larsen, and Australian pair Julian Wilson and Josh Kerr. Wilson finished second, Granger third, and Kerr was fourth. The lead exchanged hands multiple times between the top three before Monteiro clinched it with a 7.87 point ride, his best of the final, for a winning total of 14.37 points.

“It means a lot to me because I’ve been trying to do good in Hawaii for so long,” said Monteiro, who is from Rio de Janeiro.

“I’m here in first place right now and I’m very, very happy.

“It was really challenging today. I just tried to sit out there and I knew when the set comes the wave first breaks on ‘Boneyards’ out there deep. So I knew if you get the waves that go all the way through you can make some good turns. So I just tried to do that and it worked.

“You have to be prepared for every condition so I was prepared and ready for small waves. I’m from Brazil so I know how to surf small waves and I’m very happy.”

For Wilson, this was his second final in as many weeks, having placed third at the first leg of the Vans Triple Crown in Haleiwa. Today he received the JN Automotive Group Rookie of the Vans Triple Crown Award for the top new talent of the series.

“It wasn’t’ tough, I found my waves, I had a good heat,” said Wilson. “I had my chance to win and I just fell short. I felt like I surfed a pretty good final and it’s always a good feeling to come in from a final and feel like you had the chance of winning it and you had the waves. I’m not disappointed. I made two finals back to back and it’s incredible.

“The rookie of the year was a great award. I had the final with Heath (Joske) at Haleiwa and it was his rookie year and I felt like we were going to have a bit of a shootout over here, and whoever was going to get the best out of us two was going to get it. It was something I was going for going into Sunset. Heath was very unlucky and didn’t get into the event so I felt a lot more relaxed about the rookie of year.”

Despite being eliminated by Monteiro in the quarter finals, Australian Joel Parkinson still leads the Vans Triple Crown series ratings heading to the final stop at the Banzai Pipeline. Parkinson is ahead of Wilson and Monteiro.

The third and final stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is the Billabong Pipe Masters, that has a holding period of December 8-20.

Live internet coverage happens every day, starting at 7:45 a.m. with “THE CALL” – the Triple Crown’s live daily morning show that features all the latest news, highlights and happenings. The series will also be broadcast live on television around Hawaii on Oceanic Time Warner Digital Cable channels 250 and HD1250.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing consists of three men’s and three women’s professional surfing events that are the final stop on the 2010 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour. In its 28th year, the Vans Triple Crown is considered the most prestigious title in surfing next to the ASP World Title.

Wildcard Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, has won the O’Neill Women’s World Cup of Surfing, topping Sunset Beach local Coco Ho (HAW), 19, reigning four-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, and ASP Women’s World Tour No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, in head-high surf at Sunset Beach.

The final stop on the ASP Women’s World Tour, the O’Neill Women’s World Cup of Surfing also marked the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown and played a vital role in surfers’ campaigns towards requalification for the 2011 ASP Women’s Dream Tour.

Wright, competing in the first Vans Triple Crown of her young career, quickly catapulted into the lead in the final, racking up the event’s highest single-wave score of a 9.57 out of 10 en route to the highest heat total of a 17.24 out of 20. She did it by linking a series of massive forehand hacks and powerful carves to leave the field in a combination situation within the first 10 minutes of the bout to eventually take out the win.

“This feels pretty cool,” Wright said. “I had fun out there and caught a couple of waves and it started really pulsing at the end, so I was happy and having fun. The girls were ripping out there so it was good.”

Wright, who won her first ASP Women’s World Tour event at 14 as a wildcard, will be competing on her rookie year among the elite in 2011 and used the O’Neill Women’s World Cup as excellent preparation for next season.

“This event has been a great warm up for next year,” Wright said. “It’s going to be fun next year and I’m looking forward to it.”

Wright, who finished runner-up at Haleiwa two weeks ago, also earned the prestigious JN Automotive Group Rookie of the Vans Triple Crown award and her current standing will see her compete in the third women’s leg: the Vans Duel For the Jewel at Pipeline.

“I didn’t even know there was a Rookie of the Year title for the Triple Crown until someone told me the other day,” Wright said. “It’s really cool. I’m happy to be here and having fun so I guess that’s the main thing I suppose. It’s awesome that I got in to Pipe. I’ve surfed there a couple of times now and I love it out there, you get some pretty big barrels.”

Ho, who finished the year 7th overall, made her first final of the season in front of her home crowd at her local break of Sunset Beach and was satisfied that the best result of her year came at her local break.

“Tyler (Wright) kind of had it from the start and it was hard to hear out there,” Ho said. “I just wanted to get two good ones, but I’m more happy then sad. I finally got a final this year and to finish this well at home, I’m really happy.”

The Hawaiian’s second place finish also secures her spot as one of four competitors who will battle for the Vans Triple Crown Title at Pipeline, the Vans Duel for the Jewel.

“Getting in to Pipe kind of all came with it,” Ho said. “I didn’t expect anything. I knew I had a 7th at Haleiwa, but now I’m going to be in Pipe. It should be so fun with just three girls out and hopefully backdoor will have a few fun ones.”

Gilmore, who wrapped up her fourth consecutive ASP Women’s World Title in Puerto Rico, worked her way in to yet another final at the O’Neill Women’s World Cup, this time finishing 3rd behind Wright and Ho, moving her back to second place entering the final event of the Vans Triple Crown at Pipeline.

“I guess I’m not in the lead for the Triple Crown, Tyler (Wright) is, and that’s pretty cool,” Gilmore said. “I really struggled out there in my last heat. I didn’t watch it too much and it was extremely shallow.”

Gilmore, who topped Wright at the Cholo’s Hawaiian Pro, the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown, views the young Aussie as a welcome addition to next year’s ASP Women’s World Tour and is looking forward to battling against her throughout the 2011 season.

“Tyler is really hungry,” Gilmore said. “She’ll be a good addition to the tour. She’s really good and hopefully we’ll be pushing each other. We need more girls like that on tour and I’m looking forward to the competition.”

Fitzgibbons, who finished the year at No. 2 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, entered her fourth final of 2010 after topping defending event champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, in the Semifinals and took fourth place overall. Despite being frustrated with not taking the event win, the Australian talent looks at the final as more valuable experience under her belt for next season.

“I was stoked to make a final here at Sunset two years in a row, but the waves just kind of evaded me,” Fitzgibbons said. “I didn’t really have the rhythm and Tyler was on the good ones early one. I hadn’t really surfed the point like that much before. It does get frustrating sometimes making so many finals and not getting a win, but I’ve got to just keep moving on and keep building and hopefully get that win sometime soon.”

The final stop on the 2010 Women’s Vans Triple Crown will see the current top four surfers on the ratings after the first two jewels, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Coco Ho, and Alana Blanchard (HAW), 20, battle for the prestigious ASP Specialty Series title in a one-heat battle at Pipeline, the Vans Duel for the Jewel. The event will take place during the Billabong Pipe Masters waiting period, December 8 through 20, 2010.