It will only be fitting when professional surfer John John Florence puts on a yellow jersey, if merely by coincidence, to compete in his opening round at the Hawaiian Pro at Hale‘iwa Aliʻi Beach Park this weekend. The event at Hale‘iwa is the first stop of the acclaimed Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series that takes place every winter on the North Shore of Oʻahu.

The Vans Triple Crown attracts surfers the world over but is primarily known for attracting top talent from the islands. According to many surfers, winning the Triple Crown is an accomplishment second only to winning the title of the World Surf League (WSL), which consists of 34 of the top surfers in the world.

Florence, a Pūpūkea native and recently crowned champion of the WSL, secured enough points from the 2016 season for the right to wear the first-place WSL yellow jersey in the only remaining WSL event of the year, the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters also doubles as the final event of the Vans Triple Crown and features the entire field of WSL surfers, entrants from a trials event, and wildcard picks.

The Vans Triple Crown kicks off with the event at Haleʻiwa, a sleepy coastside town, often regarded as the gateway to the rest of the North Shore. Surfers call the ensuing stretch of coastline from Hale‘iwa to Sunset Beach the “7 Mile Miracle” for its diversity of surfing options, many of which are world-class.

Beginning with Haleʻiwa, the waiting period for the Hawaiian Pro begins this Saturday, Nov. 12, and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 23. A large northwest swell is currently overloading many of the surf spots on the North Shore, and as it fades to a more rideable size, contest organizers expect the event to run opening rounds this weekend.

The second event of the Vans Triple Crown is the aptly named Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. The event at Sunset Beach has a waiting period running from Thursday, Nov. 24, through Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Sunset Beach is a bona-fide, high-performance, big-wave spot with fast, shifting peaks that break across a playing field the size of a football field. Heavy wipeouts and broken boards are no stranger to Sunset Beach.

North Shore local Mason Ho will undoubtedly be the man to beat at Sunset Beach. Ho recently clinched victory at the HIC Pro, held at Sunset Beach earlier this month, against a stacked field of local talent.  

The culminating event of the Vans Triple Crown and the WSL season, likewise, is the Billabong Pipeline Masters. The waiting period runs from Thursday, Dec. 8, through Tuesday, Dec. 20.   

Pipeline is arguably both the surfing world’s most famous, and infamous, wave. It has been reported that more people have been injured or killed surfing the shallow reef break than anywhere else in the world.

For spectators on the beach, watching Pipeline is an exhilarating experience. The wave breaks close to shore and is known for large, cavernous barrels that completely envelop the surfer speeding along. Similar to Sunset Beach, broken boards and serious wipeouts are common.  

The 40-year plus history of Pipeline Masters’ champions is an ode to surfing’s greats. Eleven-time WSL champion Kelly Slater has seven Pipeline Masters under his belt, while newly crowned WSL champion, John John Florence, is hungry for his first.

Florence is widely known as a Pipeline expert. He has grown up surfing the place since he was a child attending Sunset Beach Elementary School across the street.

In this year’s Vans Triple Crown and Pipeline Masters, look for Florence’s surfing to continue to impress, even if he treats the events like a victory lap.

As the surfing action looks to get underway this weekend, make sure to check out the Triple Crown of Surfing Kick-off Party hosted by Turtle Bay this Saturday, Nov. 12, from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

For a schedule of all events pertaining to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, visit