Reef Hawaiian Pro offering big bucks


POSTED: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Executive Director Randy Rarick is staring at small surf. Today is the first day of the holding period for the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Ali'i Beach Park, and the lack of contestable waves is preventing Rarick from running the first day of the most prestigious surf series in the world. Thus, the 60-year-old North Shore resident is forced to put the event on hold.

When the waves eventually roll into the North Shore and the Reef Hawaiian Pro kicks off, it will mark a new era in the history of the sport of surfing. This year the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is giving away a total prize purse of $1 million and will be broadcast live on Oceanic Time Warner cable channel 250. These two factors are helping legitimize the sport of surfing to the world, says Rarick.

“;Surfing is finally getting legitimacy and credibility into the ranks of what people consider a bonafide legitimate sport,”; said Rarick of the history-making prize purse. “;In the past the prize purses have been considered low compared to other sports like tennis or golf. What the million dollar prize purse does is give credibility to the sport.”;

Rarick and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will award $50,000 to the men's Triple Crown series champion, an extra $50,000 for the Billabong Pipeline Masters winner, a $50,000 bonus to the ASP's men's world champion, and a $25,000 bonus to the women's Triple Crown champion. The $175,000 is in addition to the existing $825,000 in event prize money, making for a $1 million total purse.

“;Surfing has grown and matured,”; Rarick said. “;It's moved from just a lifestyle to a credible sport. The interest (in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing) has grown nationwide and the surf industry is a $5 billion industry, so it makes sense to take it to the enthusiast and give them live TV.”;

After years of live Webcasts, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is setting a precedent by bringing the event to a bigger screen: your television.

“;This experience brings it closer to home ... and it's expanding the exposure of the sport,”; said Rarick.

With an ASP World Championship race between Australians and best mates Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson coming down to the Billabong Pipeline Masters, there's never been a more exciting time to follow the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Couple that with an El Nino weather pattern that greatly increases the chance of giant surf, and Rarick believes this year's surf series will be action packed and full of drama.

“;Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate and bring a good buzz of surf,”; Rarick said.

Like Haleiwa, Sunset and the Banzai Pipeline, Rarick has been a part of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing since the beginning 27 years ago. He isn't fazed by the lack of surf today because he knows the giant surf will come like it always does to the North Shore.