NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Australian Adam Melling has won the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, exactly what he needed to retain a position on the ASP World Tour for 2013.
Melling, 27, who pocketed $40,000 with the win found himself in the final against Sebastien Zietz (Kauai) - the recent winner of the REEF Hawaiian Pro (the first stop of the $1million Vans Triple Crown of Surfing); Brazilian Gabriel Medina; and fellow Australian Adrian "Ace" Buchan.
He was up against the wall, knowing he needed a win or a second to get the points he needed to requalify.
Zietz ran away with an early lead after a 7.67 tube ride. Melling was afraid he had peaked too soon, surfing "the perfect heat" in the quarter finals that earned him the highest score of the entire competition: 18.4 points out of 20 (9.4 & 9.0 wave scores).
But glassy smooth 6-8 foot surf prevailed and so did Melling's powerful level of performance. Digging deep, he turned the tables on Zietz just minutes before the close with a near-perfect ride (9.33) that featured four gouging turns. He shot from third to first. But with seconds remaining, Medina paddled into a game changer, got barreled and cleanly exited. Melling was left floating, waiting for Medina's score to drop... not enough to steal the win, but enough to take second, relegating Zietz to third and Buchan to fourth.
For Kauai boy Zietz, 24, the moment was still a sweet one despite missing the win. One of only a handful of surfers to ever make back-to-back finals in 30 years of the Vans Triple Crown, Zietz leads the Triple Crown ratings and that gives him a wildcard into the ultimate event: The Billabong Pipe Masters (Dec. 8-20). He is also incredibly close to clinching the $100,000 Triple Crown cash bonus. Melling or Alejo Muniz (BRA), tied for second on the Triple Crown ratings, would need to place third or better at Pipe, with Zietz losing first round, for Zietz to lose the title. In addition to the cash, Zietz could walk away with a $30,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a $10,000 custom Nixon watch.
Equal fifth after semi-final losses today were Perth Standlick (AUS) and Jesse Mendes (BRA). Equal seventh after the semi's were Alejo Muniz (BRA) and Lincoln Taylor (AUS).
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, hydrated by vitaminwater, now moves to the Banzai Pipeline for the third and final stage of the series. The first potential day of competition is Saturday, December 8.