He has won three of them, in a row, being 2008, 2009 and 2010, but Joel Parkinson is not going to win it this year. It’s not that he’s surfing bad, it’s not that he’s showing poor form it’s not that he’s disinterested, it’s just that fact that he didn't enter the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, so he’s out of the running. Actually, come to think of it, maybe he is a bit disinterested.

He has won one of them, last year, but Gabriel Medina is not going to win it this year. It’s not that he’s surfing bad, it’s not that he’s showing poor form it’s not that he’s disinterested, it’s just that fact that he didn't enter the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, so he’s out of the running. Actually, come to think of it, maybe he is a bit disinterested.

Photo: WSL

He has also won one of them, in 2014, but Julian Wilson is not going to win it this year. It’s not that he’s surfing bad, it’s not that he’s showing poor form it’s not that he’s disinterested, it’s just that fact that he didn't enter the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, so he’s out of the running. Actually, come to think of it, maybe he is a bit disinterested.

Photo: WSL

Ok but oh my fuck but is John John Florence interested! Let’s excuse the abysmal start to this article, because it really was bad, and let’s look at our world champion. He started off with a win at the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave invitational, and went on to win a World Surf League Championship Tour world title. Those are the two biggest titles of the year thus far. It would be an incredible bookend for his year to win the Pipe Masters & Sunset after his victory at the Hawaiian Pro to go on to win the Vans Triple Crown would just take the ridiculous to the sublime. Thing is, we do have a new freak, and he could just do all of the above and no one would be surprised.  My guess is that he will win it, to make his year seem otherworldly.

Remember when Sebastian Zietz won the Triple Crown in 2012? What a champ. He got carried across the beach at Pipe on a surfboard, and if you look closely at the footage from that day you can see Andy King and I, with our backs to the procession throughout, arguing furiously about what is the best gin in the world or which surfer has the biggest nose on the planet, or something like that. Apart from that, Seabass is a good bet in the waves of the North Shore, but bowed out early at the Hawaiian Pro, so he’s got a battle ahead of him for The Crown.  

Bede Durbidge is not going to win, is he? Who cares, because he is back in the water, he is surfing strong, and he is stoked all over again on the joys of surfing. He too bowed out early at the Hawaiian Pro already, but the very fact that he is surfing, in Hawaii, in the Vans Triple Crown, means that he is already the most winningest guy on tour. Welcome back dude.

Kelly Slater won the Vans Triple Crown in 1998, and hasn't had a sniff since then. Suddenly and oh-my-gosh he entered in the Hawaiian Pro for the first time in, like, 4 years, and has his heart set very firmly on a Pipe Masters title.

"More than anything I want to win Pipeline," said Slater in a recent WSL interview. "Triple Crown is second to that. To me, Pipeline is the one you want to win of any contest in the world, that or The Eddie. That's going to be where my focus is. But if I can do well in these first two events and then have a shot at Pipe, obviously if you win any of these contests, Triple Crown is in the conversation."

Then, if you were ranked second in the world going in to Hawaii 2016, just like Jordy Smith was in 2010, and wanted to prove a point to many people out there, you would give your heart and soul into a big performance in Hawaii. You would want to smash those naysayers, you would want to make a statement in the grinding sets of Pipeline, and to put a Vans Triple Crown crown on your head would vindicate a lot of latent talent that never seems to emerge. Watch him. The big boy is so fucking hungry. It’s probably a side effect from eating all of that Pronutro cereal when he was poor.