1973 Triple Crown Retrofit

Jeff Hakman
Governing Body:
Fred Hemmings
  • 1. Jeff Hakman (2nd, 3rd, 5th) (18,630)
  • 2. Gerry Lopez (17th, 9th, 1st) (14,650)
  • 3. Clyde Aikau (17th, 1st, – ) (11,330)
  • 4. James Jones (4th, 4th, – ) (10,960)
  • 6. Larry Bertlemann (3rd, 7th, – ) (10,200)
  • 7. Ian Cairns (1st, –, – ) (10,000)
  • 8. Rory Russell (–, 9th, 3rd) (9,405)
  • 9. Reno Abellira (17th, 2nd, – ) (9,130)
  • 10. Jeff Crawford (7th, 5th, – ) (8,860)
  • 10. David Balzerak (6th, –, 6th) (8,860)

There was no actual 1973 Triple Crown. The North Shore-based three-event Triple Crown series, created by Fred Hemmings, was launched in 1983. But there were a lot of pro contests held on the North Shore (and occasionally Makaha) between 1971 and 1982, and we thought we'd compile the results year by year and figure out who would have won the Triple Crown between 1971 and 1981, had the Triple Crown existed.

1971 is our starting date because the Pipeline Masters debuted that year and because it was the first season where there were at least three international-level pro contests on the North Shore. EOS dug up the results from old surf magazines, newspaper archives, and (starting in 1976) early WCT result sheets. Balyn McDonald of Surf Stats plugged the names into a points matrix similar to that used by today's World Surf League, with 10,000 points awarded to each event winner, 7,800 for 2nd, and on down.

Smirnoff Pro - Ian Cairns
Duke Classic - Clyde Aikau
Pipeline Masters - Gerry Lopez

* * *

Results include each surfer's placing, in order, from the Smirnoff, Duke, and Pipe. Total Triple Crown points are also included.

An em-dash (–) result means the surfer did not compete in that particular event.

Prelims and semifinals for the '73 Duke Classic were held at Sunset; the final was held at Waimea. Clyde Aikau was the second alternate for the Duke. He ended up in the opening heat of the event, which he won; brother Eddie was runner-up. Both advanced to the semifinals, and then the finals.

The Duke final was held in two parts, which were then averaged together. Aikau and Reno Abellira tied for first, with Clyde winning on a countback. Thirteen years later, he won the 1986 Quiksilver-Eddie Aikau contest, also held at Waimea.

Ian Cairns got into the Smirnoff as an alternate and, like Aikau, surfed all the way to a win. He did not get a started in the Duke or Pipe.

Despite finishing 3rd in the '72 Pipe Masters, Larry Bertlemann didn't get an invite for Pipe '73; had he done so, his Triple Crown placing almost certainly would have gone top three.

The 1973 Smirnoff was the first pro contest to be held at Laniakea.

With her invitation to the Smirnoff, Laura Blears became the first woman to surf in a North Shore pro contest. No other women were invited. Blears finished 5th in her prelim, ahead of California regularfooter Tiger Makin.

1974 Pipeline Masters winner Jeff Crawford, one of the best tuberiders of the period, did not get an invite to the '73 Masters. He did get invited to both the Duke and the Smirnoff, placed well in both, and finished 10th overall. A win in the Masters and he would have won the Triple Crown. A last-place finish in the Masters and he would have placed 3rd in the Triple Crown.