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Stab’s Comprehensive Guide To The Triple Crown

OR who’s (probably) hired, fired, and retired from the 2018 CT.

news // Nov 3, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Aloha Luau Kalikimaka! Triple Crown season is nearly among us, meaning soon high waves, high stakes, and many high people will infest the North Shore. Of course we’ve already covered the world title race numbers, and even touched briefly on the QS and Triple Crown scenarios, but I think it’s time we duckdive headfirst into the reef and discuss how Hawaii will affect the 2018 CT – who’s in, who’s out, how the fuck is Willian Cardoso about to qualify again? 

HIC Pro, Sunset (QS 3,000)

Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.53.07 PM

Wade the Blade, while not Hawaiian, could totes win out here. Photo: WSL/Keoki

Want to know a fun-fact about the HIC (formerly Xcel) Pro? It’s had only two non-Hawaiian winners (Richard Schmidt in 1989 and Gavin Beschen in 2001) since its inception in 1984, and none since 2001. Now granted, this contest does boast a high percentage of Hawaiians in its ranks, but even if we were to assume that its competitors have historically been 50 percent Hawaiian, the odds of a Hawaiian winning the event 15 times in a row (which they have) is 1-in-32,768. That’s fucking…weird. 

Hawaiian Pro, Haleiwa (QS 10,000) 

Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.51.15 PM

Try to touch John out at Haleiwa. We dare you. Photo: WSL/King

Much to Sunny Garcia’s chagrin, who recently and passionately condemned aerial surfing at Haleiwa to Stab, stating, “that those who do airs should be shot.” The wave has become the Triple Crown’s token high-performance event. In the past five years we’ve seen Dane’s turn from hell, Julian and Dusty’s aerial shoot-out, and Griffin’s Hail Mary helicopter. If we end up getting some swell for the event (NPAC looks eerily quiet after this test swell), we could see some show-stopping performances at this event, along with the brutal rail surfing that Sunny knows and loves. 

Vans World Cup of Surfing, Sunset (QS 10,000)

Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.47.48 PM

Last year’s winner, Jordy Smith, dropping it like it’s hot. Photo: WSL/Cestari

The season’s final event takes place at one of the world’s most difficult reefs, making the race for qualification that much more exciting. History tells us that only powerful regular-footers can win in this lumpy playing field, so it’s a good thing Yago Dora has already done enough to qualify. Another fun fact about screwfoots: only two goofies have won a Triple Crown event in the New Millennium – CJ at Sunset in ’08 and Machado at Pipe in 2000. 

Pipeline Masters (CT)

Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.44.15 PM

Bra you seen that? Photo: WSL/Poullenot

Rarely does someone from the bottom of the rankings use Pipe to propel themselves to a qualifying position, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen. With all eyes on John and Gab, someone like Ian Gouveia could potentially slip into semifinal finish to push himself into the Top-22. If Kanoa did it last year, I suppose anyone can. 

The CT loserz 🙁

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Poor Ewey! Photo: WSL/Masurel

Every year in Hawaii, we call ten of the world’s best surfers “losers” and send them to the back of the line. There are ways for these losers to regain CT status, like through an injury wildcard* or a Top-10 showing on the QS, but such a delicate situation shouldn’t be left to chance nor last-second heroism. Without further ado, here’s who will (probably) be fired or retired from the 2018 Championship Tour:

  • Definitely Fired: Ethan Ewing, 9,500 points
    Poor fella had a season-long case of Grommie Syndrome, with every ounce of Ethan’s strategy and knowhow fading away in the face of superstar adversity. The Straddie kid is gone for now, but he’s too damn talented not to crack the CT again in a year or three.
  • Definitely Fired: Stuart Kennedy, 10,500 points
    Great at Snapper, not so great everywhere else. Could it be the boards?
  • Retired: Josh Kerr, 10,500 points
    This guy’s had a mental career, and something tells me it doesn’t end here. If my calculations are correct, Josh will join the BWT in 2019 and be the first to land a paddle-in air at Jaws in 2022.
  • Definitely Fired: Jadson Andre, 11,750 points
    Can’t say I’ll miss watching Jaddy surf, but Tourlife won’t be the same without this happy little baldman. Maybe PK will hire him as a full-time Tournotes extra, or perhaps he’ll just become a judge.
  • Probably Fired: Nat Young, 13,000 points
    Nat wasn’t “technically” on tour this year, but he surfed in every event except J-Bay so this is a second consecutive missed cut in my eyes. I’m not sure if Nat has gotten worse at competing or if his competitors have gotten better, but he’s gotta change something if he wants to salvage this career.
  • Maybe Retired: Jack Freestone, 13,000 points
    Jack is days away from having a baby with one of the wealthiest female surfers in the world, who happens to reside on a wave-rich tropical isle. Why the fuck should he ever compete again?
    Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 5.01.18 PM

    If you were Jack Freestone would you ever compete again? Photo: WSL/Poullenot

  • Probably Fired: Zeke Lau, 14,250 points
    Bruddah Zeke, what happen cuz? I had the big Hawaiian slated as a top-tier rookie, but after a major result at Bells he fell to the back of the pack. While I don’t see Zeke covering enough ground at Pipe to salvage his rookie season, he does have a little QS ace up his sleeve..
  • Probably Fired: Ian Gouveia, 14,250 points
    I thought this guy was the next Italo, but I was wrong (and Chad Wells was right).
  • Probably Fired: Leo Fioravanti, 15,200 points
    Leo, Leo, Leo – how could you forsake the name of Italian surfers everywhere? No pasta for you!
  • Potentially Fired: Miguel Pupo, 18,900 points
    The last spot on tour will likely go to Wiggolly or Miggy, and despite loving the both of them dearly, I can’t imagine a CT without Wiggolly’s backside squirter. Adios Miguelito.
  • Retired: Bede Durbidge, 20,200 points
    Despite being inside the current cutline, Bede will bow out from his competitive career in style, and hopefully not in a wheelchair. Be careful out at Pipe, big guy.

The QS winners 🙂

Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.57.03 PM


When Yago wins, we all win. Photo: WSL/Poullenot

Every year in Hawaii, we gain a new crop of CT rookies (or repeats) whose watermelon grins last until mid-March when Snapper brings them back to reality. But for now those CT hopefuls are just that and looking to make their dreams a reality between Haleiwa and Sunset. Here’s who’s been hired for the 2018 CT and why.

  • Definitely hired: Jesse Mendes, 25,400 points
    This kid qualified for the CT about four months ago, making his continual QS onslaught equal parts sad and impressive. If I were Jesse, I’d have spent the second half of this year hitting up CT venues like Chopes, J-Bay and Cloudy to get in “practice” for next year, but that’s just me.
  • Definitely hired: Yago Dora, 21,990 points
    This screwfoot’s got the most starpower of any rookie CTer since John in whatever year he qualified. Not sure if I see a world title in Yago’s future, but ten years of what the fuck moments? Definitely.
  • Probably hired: Willian Cardoso, 17,550 points
    I have honestly no idea how he pulled it off, but the Kung Fu Panda appears to be back! Willian’s got that fat-guy swag. Maybe he’ll beat Slater at Bells again.
  • Probably hired: Tomas Hermes, 17,000 points
    This munchkin has been on the verge of qualification for years now, but a string of injuries and perhaps his lightweight frame have had him come up short in Hawaii every time before. He’s got a decent lead this time around, let’s see if he can’t hold onto it. 
  • Probably hired: Keanu Asing, 17,000 points
    I have to say, I really didn’t see this coming. I’m a big fan of Keanu and his whole #heartoverheight deal (small boyz 4 life), but I didn’t think he had another requalification run in him. Good on the little fella.
  • Probably hired: Griffin Colapinto, 16,930 points
    Third at Haleiwa? 2023 world runner-up? You heard it here first.
    Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 4.59.19 PM

    The kid hath cometh. Photo: WSL/Poullenot

  • Probably hired: Wade Carmichael, 14,750 points
    Alternatively, Wade Carmichael is custom-built for the CT. Power hacks power hacks power haaaacks (with sick style).
  • (Also) Probably hired: Zeke Lau, 13,500 points
    No way this guy doesn’t get a result at either Haleiwa or Sunset. No fuckin’ way.
  • Potentially hired: Michael Rodrigues, 15,090 points
    This dude’s airs and hacks are fucked up, he just lacks a bit of the flow that CT judges have come to adore. If he cleans his act up a bit in the off-season, he could be a genuine threat on the CT, but he needs at least one result in Hawaii first.
  • Potentially hired: Michael February, 14,750 points
    I love this dude’s surfing, but if I’m to be completely honest, I’m not sure his stylish approach will cut it on the tour, nor the Triple Crown. He surfs too pretty for the big leagues!
  • Maybe hired: Jorgann Couzinet, 13,685 points
    Basically the French Michael Rodrigues.
  • Unlikely hire: Ramzi Boukhiam, 9,000 points
    Call me a Snaketales bootlicker, but Ramzi’s backside is a force to be reasonably considered. He’s gonna need at least a pair of semifinals, but I think Ramzi might be good for it.
  • Unlikely hire: Mikey Wright, 10,905 points
    will perform nightly goat sacrifices until this madman qualifies for the big leagues. And we’re running out of goats so let’s hope it’s this year.

And that is the conclusion of Stab’s comprehensive pre-Triple Crown guide! If you’ve made it this far you’re either a complete surf-nerd or have an excess of time (and patience) on your hands. So, congrats!(?)

*Injury wildcards for 2018 will go to Italo and Slater



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