Irons Defeats Lopez To Win The Quiksilver Pro

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
www.aspworldtour.com
2003 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Irons Defeats Lopez To Win Event

June 3, 2003 (Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji) Reigning world champion AndyIrons (Kauai, Haw) today claimed his second event title this year bydefeating Cory Lopez (FL, USA) in the final of the Quiksilver Pro. TheUS$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced with quarterfinalsthis morning, ran right through semifinals and then climaxed with the grandfinale.

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Perfect 6-8 ft (2-2.5m) waves were on offer at Cloudbreak. Boat loads ofspectators came out to watch from the lineup, while thousands more loggedonto www.quiksilver.com for the live audio and video broadcast.

Irons flew into Fiji equal first on the ratings following his earlier win atBells Beach Australia, and remained the clear favorite throughout theQuiksilver Pro. Having posted the first perfect 10-point ride during roundthree, the 24-year-old continued his devastating backhand attack to reachthe final day. Despite creasing his favorite surfboard and being plagued bysea lice this morning, he shook it off like a true champion, collectinganother perfect 10 first ride of his quarterfinal clash.

Once in the 35-minute final, the Kauaian set an early pace with another deeptube and 9.0 score. Soon after he posted his and the event’s third perfect10, creating the highest combined total of the tournament (19 out of apossible 20-points) and a daunting score for Lopez to try to match. Heultimately couldn’t, and Irons earned an 8th WCT career win, extended hislead on this year’s ratings and pocketed US$30,000 prizemoney.

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“It feels amazing,” began Irons, after being showered in beer by fellowcontestants on the marshalling boat. “It hasn’t all sunk in yet, but I’msuper happy and it was really cool to be in the final with one of my bestfriends. I travel with Cory all year. He and I were just laughing at eachother out there. I’ve surfed against him my whole life, so it’s justamazing. We’ll be talking about this when we’re old.

“I’ve never done well here before,” he continued, “It was a big goal of minejust to make a few rounds. Every heat I was getting more momentum, andbefore I knew it I was in the final and got two huge scores before Cory hadhis first. I’m really stoked and it worked out perfectly. Dream come truefor sure.

“Last year was amazing,” he added. “It’s another season and this isdefinitely a good start. I’ve had two ninths and two firsts now, but we’vegot so many events left still. I’m not counting any chickens before theyhatch. I’ll be going to Japan (next WCT – Niijima Quiksilver Pro, June18-28) psyched and will be going for it. I’m just enjoying my world titleyear, and it’s been a good one so far.”

Lopez – who finished equal third last year in the Quiksilver Pro – went onebetter by making the final against his roommate on Tavarua Island. Havingeliminated Irons in round four of the previous event in Tahiti, theFloridian wasn’t able to do likewise at Cloudbreak today. His best score inthe final was a 7.5 and he ultimately required a combination of rides worth11.5-points. Rated 11th prior to Fiji, the 26-year-old moved into equal 4thposition on the current standings.

“It was just the luck of the waves,” reasoned Lopez afterwards. “I’d go thefirst wave and it would look like a sick one, but then the second wave wouldend up being way better. He’s a great surfer and any wave he gets he’s goingto turn it into an excellent score. Congratulations to him. He’s probablythe best backside surfer around and he definitely smoked me out there(laughs). I wish I could have gotten out of a combination situation to keepa little pride, but the waves went flat there at the end.

“I’m stoked with second though,” he added. “It’s great and I’ll definitelytake it any day. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I love Tavaruaand this is a great wave. Stoked Quiksilver for having an event here.”

Equal third were world #7Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay, Aus) and defendingQuiksilver Pro champion Mick Lowe (Windang, NSW, Aus). Both receivedUS$10,000 for their outstanding efforts in the 2003 tournament.

Perrow began his day being bounced off the reef prior to his quarterfinal,but similarly to Irons, responded with a near-perfect 9.8 first wave of theclash. Against the Kauaian the following match, however, he fell short ofthe mark. His last wave appeared a chance, but he still needed another 8.67score following it. Still, with two consecutive fifths prior to Fiji, the26-year-old now finds himself rated 3rd.

“I’d never surfed a man-on-man against him, and was probably more nervousleading up to it than in I had been all other heats,” explained Perrow. “Itwas more the unknown factor, but Andy’s just freakish. He can pull outamazing scores, so I just tried to forget about him. It rattled me a littlewhen he got that 9.33 first wave, and then I did a few stupid things.Halfway through I reminded myself it was still possible since he hadn’tscored two 10’s, so I just tried to focus. I got one score, and when thatset came I was excited. I could have been a bit deeper, and obviously Ishould have been for the score (laughs).

“I couldn’t have dreamt of a better start,” he added. “It just keeps gettingbetter, so maybe Japan will see me in the final. I’d be stoked about that.”

Lowe contested a semifinal rematch of last year with Lopez, but wasn’t ableto secure the same outcome. After going head first into the reef his firstride, the powerful goofyfooter waited anxious minutes for his next, whichultimately proved the best single score of the exchange for an 8.5.Nonetheless, he could only support this with a 3.93 during the dyingseconds, and bowed out needing another 6.33.

“I’m very disappointed, but I really didn’t get a wave until there was only14-minutes remaining,” explained Lowe. “After the 8.5 I had 10-minutes tocatch a 6.33, but nothing else broke. I’m happy as it’s a good result andCory’s been surfing really well all this event, but it would have been niceto go back-to-back.”

Finishing equal fifth today in Quiksilver Pro were world #5 Mick Fanning(Gold Coast, Aus), former world #2 Shane Powell (Avoca, Aus), last year’srunner-up Shea Lopez (FL, USA) and Chris Davidson (Narrabeen, Aus).

Davidson, in particular, benefited the most from the result jumping fromequal last on the ratings – following three previous 33rd finishes – into39th spot. The 26-year-old requalified this year for his third attempt onthe WCT and is determined to stick around longer than his past campaigns. Heultimately required another ride worth 8.45 points against Cory Lopez intheir heat this morning.

“Pretty stoked with a 5th place finish in this event,” said Davidson. “It’sone of the bigger contests of the year with perfect waves. I knew I’d havemy work cut out for me against Cory since it was barreling, but that’s life.It’s a good result and will let me drop all those 33rd’s from earlier in theyear. I’ve just got to stay focused and work on each heat. I’m ready for agood year.”

Live audio and video were broadcast on www.quiksilver.com during thetournament.

Official Results of the 2003 Quiksilver Pro
1st Andy Irons (Haw) 19.0 – US$30,000
2nd Cory Lopez (USA) 13.83 – US$16,000
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd, receives US$10,000)
SF1: Andy Irons (Haw) 16.83 def. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.67
SF2: Cory Lopez (USA) 14.83 def. Michael Lowe (Aus) 12.43
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th, receives US$8,000)
QF1: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 16.97 def. Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.4
QF2: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.07 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 13.77
QF3: Michael Lowe (Aus) 17.73 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 14.17
QF4: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.24 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 12.3
Current Top 10 Ratings after WCT#4
1. Andy Irons (Haw) 3,600-points
2. Mick Fanning (Aus) 2,964
3. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 2,940
=4. Joel Parkinson (Aus); Taj Burrow (Aus); Cory Lopez (USA) 2,724
7. Kelly Slater (USA) 2,688
8. CJ Hobgood (USA) 2,676
9. Dean Morrison (Aus) 2,640
10. Shea Lopez (USA) 2,424
br>3. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 2,940
=4. Joel Parkinson (Aus); Taj Burrow (Aus); Cory Lopez (USA) 2,724
7. Kelly Slater (USA) 2,688
8. CJ Hobgood (USA) 2,676
9. Dean Morrison (Aus) 2,640
10. Shea Lopez (USA) 2,424