Haleiwa ended unexpectedly well and we're already into the holding period for the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach — and just in time for the first big swell of the Triple Crown season. Sunset, as it does every year for a few days of the period, will be pushing 12 feet and total wave counts in four-man heats will be somewhere around ten. Starting today, from the safety of the bleachers and our armchairs at home, we can watch the world's greatest get cleaned up on the inside by West bowl sneaker sets.
Any murmurs about Sunset being "hard to watch" or talk questioning this hallowed wave's relevance on the contest circuit can be checked at Rockies. Hell yeah it's hard to watch. But you know what? It's even harder to surf. But those who surf it well, those who've tamed this wild and wooly mammoth — Michael Ho, Pancho, Sunny, A.I., Miles Padaca — have become legends. They remind us that heavy waves and power surfing are not to be trumped by airs and tail flicks.
So no, there will be no Neck Beards or D-Divers or air-reverses, or even many floaters. The competitors will be surfing men, with a foot more of space between their ankles, heart-in-your-throat-drops, bottom turns measured in seconds and slalom-like carves across mountainous walls.
Keep an eye on J.O.B., who's on a Triple Crown kick. Dane's too.* And Julian and Brother will be tested in the big stuff. Other stand-outs to watch are Maui's Ian Walsh, girl Carissa Moore, and a plethora of indistinguishable Hawaiians. As always, our money's on Parko. Wait, he's not in it this year? Don't care, still on Parko — he has a way with this place.
*As advertised but not necessarily fact