One More Round for an Irons Vans Triple Crown
If Kauai's Andy Irons can advance through one more round of the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters, a fourth $10,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title will be his, declaring him once more as the top performing surfer across all three venues and events that comprise this esteemed Series.
Irons is a three-time Vans Triple Crown champion (2002, 2003, 2005). A fourth Series title for him would give him one up on career rival and eight-time world champion Kelly Slater (Florida), who has also posted three Triple Crown victories. The most successful surfer ever of the Triple Crown Series is Hawaii's Sunny Garcia, who has amassed a total of six crowns.
Only one surfer can mathematically overtake Irons: Australian Taj Burrow. But in order to do so, Irons would need to go down in the next round and Burrow would have to go on to win the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters.
Irons will have to wait another day to realize this goal, with a decline in swell yesterday calling for a lay day in competition.
While just one full day of competition remains, the latest surf forecast has organizers preparing to run two half days: this afternoon, catching a rising north-west swell that will peak Wednesday night and gradually decline Thursday, and then Thursday morning through midday would wrap it up. Officials are concerned with the prediction of strong north-east winds that are expected to set in Thursday afternoon and stick around for several days, adversely affecting surf quality.
The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters has until December 20 to finalize.
Conditions will be assessed today at first light and a decision will be made regarding running round three shortly after.
Round Three Heat Draw
- Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA); Peterson Rosa (BRA); Rob Machado (USA); Tory Baron (HAW)
- Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS); Mick Lowe (AUS); Ian Walsh (HAW); Kalani Chapman(HAW)
- Heat 3: Bruce Irons (HAW); CJ Hobgood (USA); Dustin Barca (HAW); Hank Gaskell (HAW)
- Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA); Pancho Sullivan (HAW); Luke Stedman (AUS); Reef McIntosh (HAW)
- Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS); Chris Ward (USA); Nathan Hedge (AUS); Jamie Sterling (HAW)
- Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS); Cory Lopez (USA); Bruno Santos (BRA); Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
- Heat 7: Andy Irons (HAW); Jake Paterson (AUS); Roy Powers (HAW); Tamayo Perry (HAW)
- Heat 8: Bobby Martinez (USA); Travis Logie (ZAF); Jamie O'Brien (HAW); Evan Valiere (HAW)