Vans Marketing Executive on the Evolution of the Triple Crown of Surfing
Vans is remaking the Triple Crown of Surfing in a way that keeps some elements of the past and changes others.
Given the importance of the Triple Crown franchise to the industry, we followed up with Scott Sisamis, Vans Director of Global Sports Marketing, to find out more about the changes and why they are happening.
Let’s start with the basics. Why is the Triple Crown now digital instead of having live events? How can a digital surf contest compare to a live one?
Vans Director of Global Sports Marketing Scott Sisamis: When considering the two platforms there are obvious differences, the live is the traditional real-time heats, rounds etc.
The digital still honors the three iconic locations and titles of Haleiwa’s Hawaiian Pro, Sunset’s World Cup of Surfing and Banzai Pipeline’s Pipe Masters. However, it provides a new structure that allows surfers to compose what they see as their best surfing under the new Triple Crown format.
In addition to providing more flexibility in how surfers compete, it also opens the field to sanctioned as well as non-sanctioned surfers which allowed us to guarantee a minimum of a 40% local field. This also keeps the three breaks open to free surfing whereas with the live event we have days closed due to the traditional contest structure.
How did Vans become the lead sponsor of the Pipe event, which Billabong had for so long?
Scott Sisamis: Vans has been the IP holder of Pipe Masters for the past 25-plus years. While over the course of that time we have worked with talented teams at Rip Curl and Billabong, it was time to bring the Triple Crown together under the Vans banner following the end of the last Billabong agreement.
How will the Vans Pipe Masters evolve when it next runs in December 2022?
Scott Sisamis: It’s still early but it will follow several learnings from other Vans platforms as well as the new Triple Crown format to create a unique invitational event that honors one of surfing’s most prolific titles while evolving for the next generation of surfers.
Will the Vans Hawaiian Pro and the Vans World Cup of Surfing ever go back to live formats?
Scott Sisamis: For the time being we’re focusing on the live Pipe event with Triple Crown remaining digital. Both will be focused on the current and upcoming generations of female and male surfers.
The Triple Crown season used to also be a time for the industry to gather on the North Shore. Do you see that happening again in the future?
Scott Sisamis: Of course! Even with the new Triple Crown format we continue to work closely with community partners such as Sustainable Coastlines, North Shore Land Trust, Nah Kama Kai, HIC, T & C, and other retail and philanthropic groups. We’re rallying around the community in an effort to bring people together and share ideas. COVID has been the real hurdle.
That said, Pipe Masters will provide further opportunity to gather as we try to learn and give back to the culture of surfing that is constantly nourishing the global surf community.