Day 1 of the Vans World Cup of Surfing: Notes from Sunset Beach

Monday, November 28, 2011

Big winds greeted Day 1 of the Vans World Cup of Surfing out at Sunset Beach yesterday, with just the faintest chill in the air. One of the Triple Crown of Surfing commentators noted it's mornings like this — a little bit cold, with big surf — when you happily realize winter has come to Hawaii. (We'll stipulate "a little bit cold" is a relative term; for Hawaii, it's daytime highs in the mid-to-upper 70s.) (Pictured: Surfers, faint dots in the outer line-up, wait for the next set. Photo: 3D Travel, Inc.)

This was the first decent swell to hit the North Shore this season, with consistent (if wind-whipped) sets in the double-overhead range barreling through from fading northwest and rising northeast swells, meeting at Sunset's inside bowl. The experience of watching the pros here is different from Pipeline, where the break (and the action) is much closer to shore. But it was still impressive watching tiny figures dive off the takeoff points and try to slice up those big walls of water. The naps on the sand in between heats weren't bad either.

Notes from the contest thus far and looking forward:

  • Hawaii residents took 11 of 16 heat spots, including favorites Sunny Garcia, Jamie O'Brien and Pancho Sullivan. Surfers agree: Sunset's one of the most challenging breaks. It pays to have hometown experience here.
  • Local female surfer Carissa Moore, the first woman to get a wild-card invitation to the Sunset leg of the Triple Crown, surfs her heat this afternoon with one-time mentor Garcia. The wild-card was extended to her after the two women's events associated with the Triple Crown were cancelled this year. (UPDATE: Moore finished third in her heat behind Garcia and Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) in a 30-minute heat with inconsistent sets.)
  • Back down to head-high sets today; a new swell expected to begin building Wednesday and peak Thursday may bring waves back to the double-overhead range.

You can watch the live webcast at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing website. Good to have the big waves back!

Vans World Cup Wave of the Day: Day 1

Great videos of the Sunset Beach surf at the ASP Tour YouTube channel. Here's their pick for best wave yesterday: Keanu Asing.

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