Pro surfer Joel Parkinson, 29, of Australia took first place Nov. 21 at the Reef Hawaiian Pro, the first leg of the 28th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Held in November and December when the waves on Oahu's North Shore build to jaw-dropping dimensions, the Vans Triple Crown attracts visitors and surfing fans from all over the world, and this year's event will feature more than 200 of the globe's best surfers competing not only for $900,000 plus in prize money but also the Association of Professional Surfers world championship.
Created in 1983 by Fred Hemmings, a surfing icon who is now a Hawaii state senator, the three-contest series was originally envisioned as an opportunity to get the world's best surfers competing on Oahu's world-class waves.
"The concept was to focus attention on three of the world's most prominent surfing competitions held in unquestionably the most competitive and awesome surfing venues anywhere," Hemmings said. "The Triple Crown represents the true measure of a professional."
Next up for the men is the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing held on the best five of days of surfing through Dec. 6. Then it's the Billabong Pipe Masters, taking place over the best three days of surfing between Dec. 8 and 20. Meanwhile, the professional women will compete in the Cholo's Hawaiian Pro, Gidget Pro and the Duel for the Jewel.
According to event organizers, last year's Triple Crown of Surfing generated more than $14 million in revenue for the state. To follow the contest, visit www.triplecrownofsurfing.com