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Surfline’s Mechanics of Sunset Beach

November 30, 2011

Sunset’s reputation looms like a nightmare waiting to happen. Lung-crunching hold-downs; converging west and north peaks that consume you like an avalanche; and a wasteland for those not privy to the code of lineup markers. Year after year, Sunset sifts through the world’s bravest and most willing challengers to crown one surfer who masters its infamous “world’s most challenging” conditions.

“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.

Sunset has about as many combinations as a 7-digit phone number: A massive reef that extends almost a mile offshore; a multitude of swell directions; and a line-up that shifts with every incremental foot of wave height. Surfline.com today released the first official Mechanics of Sunset study, by Sean Collins, that investigates the mystique, mystery and complexities of a break that very few will ever master.

“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 11X 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 this second. Tomorrow ASP World Tour hotshots Taj Burrow, Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson and Adriano De Souza will paddle out in wave face heights exceeding 20 feet, prepared to face their Sunset fears. On Friday, the 37th Vans World Cup champion will be crowned. Join us LIVE at www.vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com.

The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the second jewel of the $830,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. It is an ASP PRIME event with a $250,000 prize purse.

For a full breakdown on the mechanics of Sunset Beach view the feature on Surfline.com

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