Reef’s Clash of the Legends Sets the Bar at Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

Above: Tom Curren: Trademark Style Photo: Kirstin Scholtz
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Above: Tom Curren: Trademark Style Photo: Kirstin Scholtz

HONOLULU — Their careers might have begun before the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing was even born, but world champion surfers Tom Curren (USA), 46; Tom Carroll (Australia), 48; Sunny Garcia (Hawaii), 40; and Mark Occhilupo (Australia), 44, can still pull rank. Their exhibition “Clash of the Legends” heat at the Reef Hawaiian Pro today didn’t just bring the beach to its feet, but powered out the day’s highest heat and wave scores in wave face heights of up to 20 feet.

The Clash of the Legends will see all four of these surfers battle a total of three times. Their top two scores from each heat (six waves total) will be tallied to determine the Ultimate Legend by the close of the Reef Hawaiian Pro. The Reef Hawaiian Pro is the first stop of the 28th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, and runs through November 23 at Haleiwa.


Curren, Carroll, Occhilupo and Garcia amassed an incredible number of titles and records during their collective 87 years on tour, laying claim to a total of $3.3 million in prize money; 130 tour wins; a total of 1,163 events surfed; and no shortage of rivalry. If anyone thought this was just a fun heat, they were clearly wrong.

Pairing the largest waves of the day and a highly energized crowd, the Legends laid down enough power turns to light up the city of Honolulu by heat’s end. Tom Curren took match No.1 with the highest heat score of the day: 17.06 points out of a possible 20. It didn’t come without drama; Garcia incurred an interference on the Californian after fading him into the pit on one wave. Occhilupo finished second with  16.53, Garcia was third with 13.69, and Carroll was close behind on 13.4 and the honor of riding the biggest wave of the day.

“I thought we were going to go out and have a friendly heat, but I guess not!” said Garcia.

“I haven’t surfed against Tom since before I won my World Title. There’s no grudge matches. I’ve only beat Curren once in my entire life so I guess it sticks that way ’til the next time we complete.”

Carroll jested back on the beach that he’s considering making a comeback: “Well, I think so, it’s gotta be in the cards. The ego is kicking in now!

“Watching those three guys really go at each other and push each other up into the 10s and nines was pretty awesome. They really wanted to win that thing.”

The opening eighteen heats of the Reef Hawaiian Pro ran today and local knowledge saw the Hawaiian contingent dominate the scores and wins. Nine of the top 10 wave scores were posted by Hawaii surfers, with Big Island’s Torrey Meister, John John Florence (Haleiwa), and Sean Moody (Haleiwa) heading the field., official forecasters for the Vans Triple Crown, expect favorable conditions and swell to persist tomorrow for the second day of competition.

Live internet coverage happens every day, starting at 7:45 a.m. with  “THE CALL” – the Triple Crown’s live daily morning show that features all the latest news, highlights and happenings. The series will also be broadcast live  on television around Hawaii on Oceanic Time Warner Digital Cable channels 250 and HD1250.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing consists of three men’s and three women’s professional surfing events that are the final stop on the 2010 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour. In its 28th year, the Vans Triple Crown is considered the most prestigious title in surfing next to the ASP World Title.

Each event has an extended holding period with competition taking place on the biggest and best days of surf at each venue.


Round of 136. Surfers listed in order of 1st through 4th. 1st & 2nd advance.
H1: Ian Walsh (HAW) 14.76; Sean Moody (HAW) 11.17; Daniel Jones (USA) 10.34; Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 7.13
H2: Charlie Carroll (HAW) 11.10; Kamalei Alexander (HAW) 10.40; Love Hodel (HAW) 9.56; Makai McNamara (HAW) 7.33
H3: Jack Perry (AUS) 11.83; Albee Layer (HAW) 10.17; Landon McNamara (HAW) 3.23; Cheyne Willis (HAW) 2.43
H4: Evan Valiere (HAW) 11.34; Flynn Novak (HAW) 10.40; Ezra Sitt (HAW) 8.43; Jonah Morgan (HAW) 6.36

Round of 128
H1: Torrey Meister (HAW) 16.73; Dege O’Connell (HAW) 16.67; Brad Ettinger (USA) 10.53; Paulo Moura (BRA) 7.87
H2: Messias Felix (BRA) 13.16; Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.90; Kai Barger (HAW) 12.43; Danny Fuller (HAW) 10.74
H3: John John Florence (HAW) 16.10; Sunny Garcia (HAW) 12.36; Tyler Newton (HAW) 5.93; Ruda Carvalho (BRA) 5.60
H4: Sean Moody (HAW) 16.33; Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 14.10; Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 13.00; TJ Barron (HAW) 6.94
H5: Heath Joske (AUS) 12.80; Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 12.17; Hodei Collazo (EUK) 11.37; Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 9.00
H6: Hank Gaskell (HAW) 15.97; Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 15.07; Dylan Graves (PRI) 13.16; Charlie Carroll (HAW) 12.00
H7: Rhys Bombaci (AUS) 9.63; Chris Ward (USA) 9.57; Billy Stairmand (NZL) 8.73; Liam McNamara (HAW) 6.13
H8: Yuri Sodre (BRA) 13.67; Kamalei Alexander (HAW) 12.27; Clay Marzo (HAW) 10.84; Junior Faria (BRA) 6.77
H9: Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 15.50; Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 13.40; Dayyan Neve (AUS) 12.43; Ricardo Santos (BRA) 1.33
H10: Jack Perry (AUS) 14.50; Marco Giorgi (URY) 11.30; Andre Silva (BRA) 10.50; Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 10.47
H11: Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 13.50; Solomon Ortiz (HAW) 12.00; Adam Robertson (AUS) 11.60; Romain Cloitre (FRA) 7.03
H12: Albee Layer (HAW) 13.10; Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.30; Chris Waring (USA) 10.14; Casey Brown (HAW) 9.76
H13: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 12.70; Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 10.40; Kiron Jabour (HAW) 10.16; Derek Ho (HAW) 4.54

Clash of the Legends
H1: Tom Curren (USA) 17.06; Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 16.53; Sunny Garcia (HAW) 13.69; Tom Carroll (AUS) 13.40