Amidst a fading, glassy swell, 20-year-old Honolulu local Zeke Lau took home the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach. On top of that, Lau now sits on top of the 2013 Triple Crown ratings along with World Tour surfer Michel Bourez.
Damien Hobgood came in second to Lau as Raoni Monteiro and Frederico Morais round out the four-man final, respectively. Hobgood, the lone goofy footer, took off on a seldom seen left and into a barrel in the dying seconds of the heat emerging with a claim. It wasn’t enough, though. Lau still came out on top.
For Hobgood, a second at Sunset helps his position as he tries to re-qualify for next year’s tour. As long as the surfers above him in the rankings continue to have the same amount of success, Damo will need a ninth or better at Pipe, which isn’t out of his reach.
But let’s talk about what’s really at stake here: The Triple Crown. With each Bourez and Lau sporting a 1st (6500 points) and a 33rd (700 points) in the last two events, they are tied at 7200 points. Freddy P sits behind them sporting a 2nd at Haleiwa (5200 points) and a 17th Sunset (1300 points). Damo is behind Freddy with 5850 points, most from his 2nd at Sunset and some from his 49th at Haleiwa.
Technically, these guys and maybe a couple of others really have a chance at the Triple Crown, but my favorites are the top three. All three of those guys have a killer carve, and all three know the tube fairly well. Freddy P has a good history with Pipe and Zeke Lau has been massively influenced by North Shore heavies, but let’s not forget that Michel Bourez’s playground sits at the end of the road: Teahupoo.
As much as I love Freddy P and his awesome attitude, an attitude I wish my generation would emulate, I think I’ve got to give it to Lau or Bourez. Both those guys have a modern power carve, and really what looks better after coming out of a gaping tube than a big ol’ man hack? Nothing I say, nothing.
All of this mixed in with another title race with Slater and Fanning is sure to make for an interesting Pipe Masters. The waiting period starts December 8, and we can only hope for a macking swell to set the stage.