In the tightest and most dramatic world title race ever, Kauai’s Andy Irons defeated Joel Parkinson, Phil McDonald, and six-time world champ Kelly Slater today at the Pipe Masters to take top honors in 2003. Along with his world title, he also won the Vans Triple Crown for the second year in a row. The contest was held in predominantly north swell conditions making for long, hollow rights with infrequent and short lefts. Both Andy and Kelly looked unstoppable throughout the event, yet the waves just never came to Kelly in the final. Andy, cramping and exhausted, mustered up the determination and willpower to defeat Kelly and the rest of the boysing Kelly in the final. The massive, pro-Andy crowd, was whistling and cheering for the champ after every wave. In symbolic and moving ceremony, Kelly presented AI with the winning hardware and gave a tear-jerking speech in which he dedicated his year to his father who passed away earlier in the year. He showed tons of class in his praise of Andy and epitomizes a champion—just not this year, because this day was Andy’s.
“Awesome! screamed Andy in his best Spicoli imitation. “I was a bundle of nerves all day. I started to cramp up in the semi’s, broke a couple boards—I didn’t think it was going to come out like this. It’s a dream come true! I want to thank my mom, my dad, my entire family. I also want to thank my friends from Kauai, my boys from Tahiti, the Abubo’s, everyone. Thanks to everyone for showing up, the crowd so loud, it was amazing.Congratulations Andy, you kicked ass this year and showed the grit and determination of what you are, the 2003 ASP World Champion.