Zeke Lau wins Vans World Cup of Surfing
Hawaiian upstart Zeke Lau's breakout victory at the Vans World Cup of Surfing had all of Hawaii celebrating as he asserted his place on the world's stage. As Volcom cornerman Kai Garcia said, "When you win, we all win." Lau is tied for first with Michel Bourez in the Triple Crown race heading into next week's finale, the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Ready for prime time, Zeke Lau stood tall when the surf pumped.
The Vans World Cup of Surfing
The Vans World Cup of Surfing finished in soggy weather, but more importantly, the event at this historic venue began in triple-overhead Hawaiian waves and ended with consistent surf.
Michel Bourez, who won the Reef Hawaiian Pro last week, took an early exit from the World Cup and posted a 33rd-place finish. But he's still in good position to win the Triple Crown heading into the Pipe Masters.
Damien Hobgood is No. 28 on the ASP World Tour and is in danger of not qualifying for 2014. If he'd won at Sunset Beach, he would have saved his spot. Instead, he took second. Now he has Pipe to keep his chances alive.
Throughout the Triple Crown, Frederico Morais downed John John Florence (three times), Kieren Perrow, Yadin Nicol, Kalani Chapman and Adam Melling. The unknown Portuguese surfer is quickly making a name for himself.
Kelly Slater decided to surf the Vans World Cup, one of the few trophies in surfing he has never achieved. He got an unheard of stand-up tube going left, but fell to eventual champ Lau.
Taj Burrow kept his competitive wit sharp with a good run at Sunset. The Triple Crown, like the ASP World Title, continues to elude him.
The ASP did away with the Women's Triple Crown in 2011. As cute as her new puppy was running around at Sunset this week, you get the feeling Carissa Moore would have loved a crack at the surf.
With a decent finish at Haleiwa and a great start at Sunset, Dane Reynolds got hit with an interference penalty on Kiron Jabour, killing Reynolds' chances for a Sunset win and the Triple Crown.
If there's a place on the professional surfing map to make a name for yourself, it's in Hawaii. The relatively unknown 20-year-old Beyrick De Vries nailed this massive barrel in the Round of 96 for a perfect 10.
Experience always plays a part at Sunset. At just 20 years old, Lau has surfed junior events and the 4-star HIC Pro (which he won in 2011) here for several years, giving him more experience than most traveling surfers.
Timmy Reyes is one of those guys you can never count out when the surf gets square, despite being off the ASP World Tour for several years.
Brazilian Raoni Monteiro won this event in 2010 when surfers were groveling in the famed Boneyard next to Sunset. Looks like Monteiro will be on the ASP World Tour in 2014, thanks to a finals appearance this year.
John John Florence
John John Florence felt the sting of Frederico Morais, who had Florence's number in the World Cup. Florence, the 2011 Triple Crown winner and heir to Hawaii's surfing throne, missed the finals at Sunset by a point.
Fredrick Pattachia Jr.
Fredrick Patacchia Jr. is a major threat once again. He made the finals at Haleiwa and briefly held the Triple Crown ratings lead until his 13th-place finish at Sunset dropped him a few notches. He will be on at Pipe.
Zeke Lau had to surf through all seven rounds at Sunset. The win ties him with Michel Bourez in the race for the Vans Triple Crown title. Lau's appearance at Pipe will his first WCT event.