With one leg complete, we have our early front runner for the 2017 Triple Crown of Surfing title.
Filipe Toledo topped the rest of the field during a fairly choppy finals day at Haleiwa, capturing the Hawaiian Pro title and the quick lead on the Triple Crown leaderboard.
It was a day dominated mostly by the Championship Tour surfers as Toledo and company used their experience and ingenuity to surpass many of the Qualifying Series entrants. Six of the eight semifinalists were CT regulars, including three of the final four.
But Toledo surfed what should be deemed a perfect contest, winning all five of his four-man heats, from round three through the finals. It’s an ideal spot for Toledo when the waves aren’t huge, as he can show off his creativity, his style and his precision. Those were all on display, and Toledo impressed the judges on wave after wave.
Although he has those 10,000 big points in his back pocket, Toledo will need more than just that result to finish the winter with the Triple Crown victory. He’s never been very strong at Pipeline, so the conditions at Sunset Beach for the World Cup will be a huge determining factor. If it’s big and barreling, he might not hold that lead for very long. If it’s more manageable with advantageous winds, he could put himself in a really good position for the prestigious crown.
The surprise of finals day was American Griffin Colapinto, who made it all the way to the final and took second place. Colapinto cemented himself in the QS top 10 with the result, moving up from seventh to second on the season. He’s had a great year, and his performance against all of these CT surfers bodes well for his chances for success next year as a rookie.
Brazil’s Tomas Hermes probably also punched his ticket for the CT with a semifinal appearance, good for a fifth-place result. He moves from fifth to fourth on the leaderboard, which should be very safe for a top-10 final standing.
Wiggolly Dantas and Michel Bourez made the final heat and took third and fourth places, respectively. Kolohe Andino, Adriano De Souza and Jordy Smith were all semifinalists, giving the final few heats a ton of star power to close the event.
John John Florence didn’t make it quite as far, falling in the quarterfinals to Dantas and Andino. The defending Triple Crown champion starts off his winter with 3,600 points for 13th place after the first contest. Florence is so good at all three venues, so even a quarterfinal showing feels like a bit of an upset. But everyone who gets to surf all three contests has a chance, and John John has a better chance than the rest.
Sebastian Zietz was knocked out in a loaded heat in round four that was comprised of four CT regulars. It was a fun session that had some twists and turns along the way, but ultimately Italo Ferreira and Jordy Smith advanced over Jadson Andre and Zietz.
Young Josh Moniz was Hawaii’s last man standing. He reached the quarterfinals and took a third-place result behind Toledo and Smith. It’s a great result for Moniz, who moved up 10 spots into 27th on the QS. In all likelihood, he’ll need to reach the final heat at the World Cup to get into the top 10 for the season, but that possibility remains after his performance at Haleiwa.
One down, two to go in this Triple Crown season. Many of the world’s best came away with the biggest hauls, but there is still an opportunity for the lesser known surfers to make names for themselves. The Vans World Cup opens on Saturday. Even more CT competitors are slated to surf, and the conditions should help further define the leaderboard.
David Simon can be reached at email@example.com.