“Hawai‘i and Australia, brah!” proclaimed Kamalei Alexander (Kaua‘i surfer/filmmaker) as he wrapped his arm around Mick Fanning during Andy Irons’ victory party at the Red Bull house. Mick, in his inebriated state, answered back with a “Yeah, mate!” Mick had good reason to celebrate–his good friend Joel Parkinson had just won the Rip Curl Pro at Sunset Beach, netting 30,000 U.S. dollars (nearly 60-grand in Australian dollars), and his bruddah from Kaua‘i, Andy Irons, had sealed the world title earlier in the day.[IMAGE 1]
Nearly everyone wore custom-made Billabong jerseys with “Kauai” on the front and “Irons #1” on the back. For one afternoon, everybody was from Kaua‘i. A giant cooler was filled to the brim with Aussie and Seppo beers, and gallon-size containers of Red Bull concoctions were being passed around liberally. Partaking in this joyous afternoon was the A-list of professional surfers: real Kaua‘i boys and girls like Braden Dias, Kaiborg, Kala Alexander, Chava Greenlee, Dustin Barca, Bruce Irons, Keala Kennelly, and Rochelle Ballard mingled with fellow Hawai‘ians Sunny Garcia, Jason Magallenes, Bonga Perkins, and Makua Rothman.
Luke Egan showed his true class when he gave Andy a big bear hug. Nathan Hedge made sure the cooler stayed full. Parko had a smile on his face one can only get from winning 30-grand. Noodles passed around a jug of something that made everybody’s face twist when they took a swig. Occy was checking out the twelve-foot bombs coming through Rockpiles and remarking on how awesome Hawai‘i is, and Mick jokingly offered to “scrap any of you f–kers from Queensland!”
With some heavy dudes chillin’, you’d think the drunken Aussie might get some cracks, but no, everyone was too happy. This was a day to celebrate the awesome, ass-kicking year that Andy had on the 2002 WCT. Congratulations, Andy!–Justin Cote