Honolulu-native, and local surf standout, Zeke Lau, knows there's plenty at stake for him heading into this year's Vans Triple Crown. Following a somewhat rocky rookie campaign on the Championship Tour, Lau still needs to put together some solid heats on the north shore of his home island of Oahu in order to secure a qualifying spot that would allow him to stay on the elite tour for another year. But, the 23-year old says he's ready to rise to the challenge in front of the hometown crowd.
"When you're coming home you know exactly what to expect," said Lau. "I've been surfing these waves my whole life so I know exactly what to do and what to prepare for. It's a real refreshing feeling to come home and have that after I've been traveling all year and being on the road."
During 2017, the road has gotten rocky for Lau at times. In fact, at one point this year the Honolulu-native plummeted to No. 105 in the qualifying series rankings. But, after a win at the EDP Billabong Pro Cascais, and another win just weeks ago at Sunset Beach at the HIC Pro, Lau is great position for requalification.
Now he's hoping to take the momentum from his first place finish at the HIC Pro and carry it into the Hawaiian Pro and the Vans World Cup in the coming weeks. Both are QS10,000 events, which means even a few good results at Haleiwa and Sunset could stamp he a ticket for next year's tour. And Lau says he's embracing both the opportunity and the pressure that comes with those stakes.
"I love it," said Lau. "I love how the whole climax of the year comes down to the end and it's in my hometown. I love every bit of it. The world title is going to be decided at Pipe [Masters] and all the requalification stories - it's a pretty crazy environment. But, I love it. I've always wanted to be a part of it. It's been great."
Lau, of course, isn't the only Hawaii surfer with high stakes heading into the Triple Crown.
North Shore native, John John Florence will be looking to defend his world title in his backyard as well. Florence is currently 3,150 points ahead of Brazilian phenom, Gabriel Medina for the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the Hawaiian Pro.
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