Triple Crown Time
Friday - November 11, 2005
Frederick Patacchia of Hawaii successfully backsides
the lip at Sunset Beach to seal his third place finish in
the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing Dec. 3, 2004. The
O’Neill World Cup is the second jewel of the Vans
Triple Crown of Surfing, the final competition in the
year-long round-the-world championship tour of the
Association of Surfing Professionals
Aloha, Wave Warriors!
Big news at press time! Kelly Slater is now the new seven-time world champ. Andy Irons lost in the quarter-finals to Aussie Nathan Hedge, thereby handing the title over to Slater.
We have a BIG weekend - a couple new swells for the holiday and the kick off of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing! Life is good in the Islands.
I had an enlightening talk with Vans Triple Crown director Randy Rarick. When that horn blows for the first heat of the North Shore’s six-week surf marathon, many think Randy’s job has just begun ... actually, the horn signals the easy part.
GQ: How early do you start prepping for the Triple Crown?
RR: We start gearing up for the next Triple Crown the moment it finishes.
GQ: You’re kidding?
RR: No, we have to line up sponsors to ensure the highest profile for the events - putting things away for that year, but also putting logistics together for the next year.
GQ: And then?
RR: Things start getting heavy for me late August - booking all our equipment, reserving all the houses for the ASP officials and judges, computer operators, etc. Many don’t have a clue about that aspect. There’s over 60 people involved.
GQ: Oh my God!
RR: Oh yeah, I mean, taking the prize money out of the picture, my payroll is about $600,000. Just feeding everybody is like $600 a day.
GQ: That blows my mind. RR: The prize money is $680,000, so nearly $1.3 million! So we alone pump over a half a million into the local economy. But events themselves put millions back with increased traffic.
GQ: Yes, but there’s nothing like the Triple Crown of Surfing.
RR: What you gotta realize is the whole world tour climaxes right here -the final events for both men and women - it decides who qualifies next year, making or breaking careers! And it all happens on this seven-mile stretch that’s the Mecca of Surfing - that you can drive up to, park your car, walk up, sit on the beach and watch the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.
GQ: Perfect - like the surf! RR: You got great waves on the world tour, but nowhere do you have the luxury to see it firsthand so easily, and six weeks of the best men and women surfers competing. And then for those who aren’t here in Hawaii, there’s the Internet. And we have the highest visitor counts on the entire ASP World Tour. Each day of the contest the hits just go up and up.
GQ: How many people log onto TRIPLECROWNOFSURFING.COM?
RR: Last year at the Rip Curl Pro Pipe Masters, we had 1.4 million visitors on the final day.
RR: Yep, the first day of the OP Pro at Haleiwa we had about 5,000 people ... by the time we moved to Sunset for the O’Neill World Cup, it was up to 150,000 - day one - but by the final day it was 400,000. Then The Rip Curl Pipe Masters came along and people were spreading the word, so that the final day we had more than a million people!
GQ: That’s amazing! Those are serious ad dollars!
RR: That’s why the ASP is working away from TV and moving toward the Internet area so much - you’ve got a captive audience that’s not as random as general TV.
GQ: Regarding the prestige of the Triple Crown, Sunny Garcia said it best: “The Triple Crown is as big as a World Title to me.”
RR: I think for the Hawaiians, in particular that’s true. I mean, a world title is still the top honor, but right behind that is the Triple Crown. To win here amongst your peers on the North Shore -you know, with a three event series - is to prove you’re consistent, you’re a versatile, competitive surfer in the most challenging conditions overall anywhere.
Surfnewsnetwork.com and 596-SURF will be Randy’s first local call ... “on or off or on hold” for the entire Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. I’ll usually have it online for you by 6:45 a.m. If 596-surf is busy, dial 596-wave or 638-rush and you’re in there!
Last, but certainly not least, to my biggest wave of love and joy, happy 14th birthday, Chelsea! - Love you more, Dad.
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