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John John and Coco are leading the pack

While John John and Coco currently have the lead, there’s plenty of competition, and waves, left in the Vans Triple Crown. Photo: WSL.


The Inertia

Editor’s Note: This feature is brought to you by our partners at Vans.


We’re a little over halfway through the Vans Triple Crown event window (which runs until January 21), and we’ve already seen a ton of sick clips come through the entries page, like these two Pipeline drainers from Crosby Colapinto and Lucas Godfrey. Not to mention the fact that there’s swell hitting the North Shore right now, and plenty more on the way. Things are shaping up for a pretty exciting next couple of weeks as the Vans Triple Crown comes to a close.

This week also marks the the third voting period where fans can vote for their favorite waves. Fan voting day was yesterday (there’ll be one last opportunity to vote this upcoming Tuesday), and by Thursday this week’s Crown Clips winners will be announced, and any waves submitted in time will be scored by the judges.

As things stand now, John John Florence and Coco Ho are leading the pack for men’s and women’s respectively. John John has had a quiet start to the event, posting just two waves, both absolute Pipeline nuggets, though. With a 26.3 and a 28.3 of 30 possible points (the latter wave, above, being the highest scoring ride of the event so far), he’s built up a considerable lead. And with so many potential points still on the table, he’ll be difficult to beat.

john john florence laying down some rail game at Haleiwa

Last year, this wave from John John was the highest-scoring wave of the event with a 29.4/30. Photo: Vans Triple Crown

Following Mr. Florence is John Michael Van Hohenstein, a.k.a. “Johnny the Ripper,” who’s been taking a decidedly different approach by riding a longboard at all three breaks, even Pipeline. Currently, sheer volume is helping him hold down the number two spot, as he’s the only male competitor to have submitted two rides at each of the three locations. Billy Kemper is not far behind Johnny just off the scores of his two Pipeline waves, a 15.7 and a 25. And with two unscored waves at Haleiwa primed for this week’s round, we’ll probably see Billy move up. There’s a chance we’ll see a lead change if those two waves total more than 14.6 points.

However, there are currently a ton of unscored rides on the men’s side. Imaikalani Devault just posted his first four waves, two at Sunset and two at Haleiwa, Dane, Patrick, and Tanner Gudauskas posted three rides each in the past 24 hours (just in time to be voted on by fans), and other surfers are posting their first rides now too, so there’s definitely a chance for a dark horse to emerge.

On the women’s side, uncertainty reigns as well. Coco Ho is currently in the lead with two scored waves each at Pipeline and Sunset, but she has yet to post a ride from Haleiwa. Her best wave, above, is a 21.5 from Pipe. However, unless she gets to posting some absolutely crazy scores, and soon, there’s little doubt Carissa Moore is going to steal that top spot. The reigning world champ of just about everything right now has two rides at Pipe that have been scored, a 20, and a 27.7 (check out the video here), the highest-scoring wave so far on the women’s side. Carissa also has two unscored rides at Haleiwa and another at Sunset, submitted just in time for this week’s scoring period. Without any new waves from Coco, I think there’s little doubt we’ll see a lead change this Thursday.

Right behind Coco and Carissa is Zoë McDougall, winner of the Week One Crown Clip, and Moana Jones Wong, winner of the Week Two Crown Clip (winning wave above). Both ladies could easily close the gap: Zoë has two scored waves, one each at Pipeline and Sunset, and Moana’s only scored ride, the wave that won her last week’s Crown Clip, is a whopping 24.3. Trot out a few more of those, and she’ll be biting at Coco and Carissa’s heels for the lead.

In any case, the Vans Triple Crown is still fairly wide open. The victor only needs two incredible waves each at Pipeline, Sunset and Haleiwa in the next two weeks. That’s much simpler said than done, obviously. Stay tuned as more scores drop in the coming weeks at Vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com.

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