The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing reached its highest point in 35 years today in clean 10- to 15-foot surf after riding out the biggest waves in Vans Triple Crown of Surfing history. When all was said and done, Australian Joel Parkinson was the winner, claiming $20,000 and the lead on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ratings presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. More importantly, he gained momentum and psychological ground on close friend Mick Fanning, with whom he will battle for the ASP World Title at Pipeline next week.
But there was even more to the story than that. Joining the Aussie mates was six-time Vans Triple Crown champion Sunny Garcia, 39, who had to finish first or second to win a wildcard into next week’s Pipeline Masters and keep his dream of a seventh Vans title alive. He pulled it off as the cameras filming his life story documentary rolled. And then there was Dusty Payne, the 20-year-old from Maui who needed to do well today to become the first Maui surfer in history to qualify for the ASP Dream Tour. He did just that, finishing fourth in the final.