As both the finale of the A.S.P. World Championship Tour and the highlight of the Hawai’ian North Shore competition season, the Triple Crown doesn’t extend its importance to just pro riders, but the large contingent of companies that rely on its exposure. To see what’s in store this winter, TransWorld SURF Business asked Contest Director Randy Rarick what is to be expected at this year’s Triple Crown.
What’s going on with the Triple Crown this year? Anything new with sponsorship?
This year’s Triple Crown is slightly bigger and better than last year. G-Shock is back with Vans as our title sponsor, so we’ve got the “Vans/G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing.” We’re going to continue to have our awards for both the top men’s and ladies’ positions, which is a 7,500-dollar bonus each for whoever comes out on top in the Triple Crown rankings.
We’ve got the three events. The Hawai’ian Pro will be bumped up to a five-star, 80,000-dollar event for the men while the women’s goes up to a four-star, 16,000-dollar event. We’ve also got the longboard division back again, which will be bumped up to 15,000 dollars. So the whole Hawai’ian Pro¿men’s, women’s, and longboard¿has been bumped up prize-money-wise.
Who sponsors the Hawai’ian Pro?
G-Shock. They’ll be back again; we’re happy to have them back. Then we move on to the World Cup, which we’re actually renaming The Rip Curl Cup this year just to simplify it because Rip Curl is sponsoring it. Also, Rip Curl is bumping its involvement up to a six-star WQS level that means it’ll be worth 100,000 dollars¿the highest ranking you can go.
Roxy will be back with the women’s WCT Roxy Pro in conjunction with Rip Curl. It’ll be held at Sunset Beach.
Mountain Dew is back for the final event, the Pipe Masters. So in total, we’ve got over 400,000 dollars. The prize money went up about 50,000 dollars and I’m happy to say, that’s a good increase for all of those competing out there.
Last year you had the 1,000,000-dollar prize up for grabs for one person to win all three events. Will you do that again this year?
No, we decided that it was a great one-time promotion, but pretty
much it was a long shot and most of the competitors took it that way. We were going to bump it to 2,000,000 dollars this year, but if they couldn’t win 1,000,000 dollars last year, what’s 2,000,000 dollars going to do for them? There aren’t going to be any special promotions like that this year.
I should back-track a little bit and talk about the women’s. We are also going to have the Billabong Girls, which will be the first of the three women’s events for the Women’s Triple Crown. Billabong is still negotiating a site for that event, tentatively scheduled for the west side of O’ahu once again. So we have the three men’s events and three women’s events for the Men’s and Women’s Triple Crown.
Any side events for the Triple Crown?
There is a possibility, we are negotiating an event with a free live beach concert, live bands, and a possible skate ramp in Hale’iwa, which would be fun. Vans has its Warp Tour, and its talking about pulling a couple of the bands that are normally on the Warp Tour and having a mini Warp Tour concert for free at Hale’iwa Ali’i, but that’s still being worked out.
Basically we’ve got a good formula going, a nice window to wrap up the whole ASP tour. We’re not trying to change things so much as we are trying to bump up the prize money for both the men’s and women’s events. That’s our goal¿to increase the purses so the guys who are here at the end of the year to wrap things up get a little more to show for their efforts.
How does professional surfing impact the rest of the surfing world?
You have to realize, like any sport, pro surfing is the pinnacle and
the most visible promotion of that particular sport.
The trends and the equipment changes that take place on thee pro level filter down to the common guy who is the consumer.
The Pipeline Masters is a good example: it’s the epitome of the showcase of contemporary surfing at that particular juncture. A lot of people say there’re great surfers in different parts of the world and at their local beach who could beat any pro surfer and maybe they do surf better at that particular place. But pro surfing is just that, it’s a showcase of bringing together three- or four-dozen of the best surfers in the world in one place; it’s a mirror of what contemporary surfing is.
In my opinion, pro surfing really helps the continual progress of contemporary surfing. I think it’s an essential element to keeping the sport moving forward, otherwise we would kind of stagnate. Contemporary surfing is always evolving, and pro surfing, via the contest and the surfers, just accelerates the involvement and keeps things exciting.