Sunset Beach: too much inside information

Sunset Beach has its tricks. There are multiple secrets behind the famous Hawaiian wave. Sean Collins has investigated the various combinations offered by Sunset Beach, in big wave surfing days and in small surf sessions.


Collins identified the "Mechanics of Sunset". The heavy moving water currents, the large and multiple point arena field, a specific local geology and its massive reef, the favorable NW swell, the currents, the light East-Southeast wind and, of course, the surfer's attitude.

"I've watched the best at Sunset since the inception of the pro tour. I still contend that you're not a complete surfer until you've hoisted the World Cup. Not even Kelly Slater's pulled that off." Randy Rarick, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Executive Director.

This week, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach will crown its 37th champion; someone will join one of surfing's most illustrious lists that includes names like Andy Irons, Shane Dorian, Sunny Garcia, Tom Carroll, Derek Ho, Dane Kealoha, Shaun Tomson, Ian Cairns, and Mark Richards.

"I think that's why we all surf: that excitement of the unknown. Sunset delivers on all levels. It is a tough wave," says Pancho Sullivan, who is still in contention for a maiden World Cup victory at Sunset this week.

Sullivan is one of a dedicated breed of surfers who is committed to the break. While he can put on a great show at Off The Wall, Pipe or Rocky Point, his 'heavyweight' build, lead-footed power, and love of a challenge have naturally aligned him with Sunset.

The Momentum Generation packed their narrow boards and headed a mile west in the early '90s, taking most of the cameras and focus with them. Subsequently, only a handful have come close to conquering Sunset in the years since.

The Vans World Cup of Surfing is one of the only major events on the ASP World Tour that 10X world champ Kelly Slater has not written his name on. He hasn't competed at Sunset in five years and may retire before ever raising the World Cup overhead.

A new swell is filling in at Sunset Beach, one of the world's most challenging waves. The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the second jewel of the $830,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.