Sunset Beach: drop and survive the Hawaiian jewel

The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the second jewel of the Triple Crown of Surfing and will hit Sunset Beach, on the Hawaiian's North Shore.


Sunset Beach is a special surf spot. It is considered to be a test of a surfer's strength, stamina, courage, skill and vast ocean knowledge.

The long right walls break at the top of Sunset Point and make their way into the cove toward Sunset's infamous West Bowl, where the bottom of the wave drops out and the Pacific Ocean seems to converge and heave over the reef in wide, gaping and warping barrels.

"Sunset is one of my most favorite events. I love the football field size and the feel of the wave. I love how hard it is to ride. It's such a challenge. It's a wave that you feel like you don't really ride it, it rides you, like it's open-ocean surfing", explains Joel Parkinson.

Paddling the heftiest of their surfboard quiver, competitors must commit to literal mountains of water as much as 30 feet high and 50 feet thick, covering a distance of more than 100 yards.

Sunset Beach is notorious for closeout sets that wash through the contest area and pummel competitors caught inside. It snaps surfboards like toothpicks while delivering punishing wipeouts of severe consequence.

When a surfer paddles out at Sunset for his heat, he is not competing against three other surfers, but against the very ocean itself.

The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the last WQS event of the year and plays a decisive role in the definition of the upcoming ASP World Tour season.

Discover the best Hawaiian surf spots.