Andy Irons Moves Closer Towards His Fourth Consecutive World Title
La Graviere, France (September 30, 2005) – Members of the newly formed Surfrider Foundation Professional Surf Team went one and two today at the Quiksilver Pro France, as current and three time World Champion Andy Irons took top honors and Damien Hobgood finished second. Both athletes took full advantage of the 6-8' conditions, surfing brilliantly through the quarters and semis before squaring off in the finals. With the win, Andy closes the gap on current World Championship Tour points leader Kelly Slater in his quest to win his fourth consecutive world title.
"The French are such diehard fans, said Irons. "They were on the beach when it was raining. It was such a unique vibe, it really pumps you up"
While many European surfing fans spent the day enthusiastically cheering the surfers on from the beach (estimated spectator attendance for the final day was in the thousands), a great deal more spent the day commiserating over the recent vote by the European Union's Parliament which failed to support proposed amendments that would have worked to protect beaches and coastal waters throughout the continent. Additionally, the Parliament backed down on its own Environment Committee's guidance to strengthen water quality standards; instead allowing for a new sufficient' category to be added, which allows beaches to pass the already 30 year old and out-of-date health standards relating to bathing water quality.
Environmental concerns and surfing have already collided this year when a planned WCT event, the Billabong Pro at Mundaka, Spain, had to be cancelled after a government sponsored dredging project resulted in the loss of critical sedimentation necessary for the break to produce its legendary left.
"The Surfrider Foundation is the watchdog for our oceans, waves and beaches," says Damien Hobgood. "Anyone who enjoys or has anything to do with our oceans should support Surfrider."
With the cancellation of the Billabong Pro event, WCT athletes will now only have two contests left, the Nova Shin WCT Brazil and the Rip Curl Pipe Masters, to battle for the final standings. With Irons still in the hunt, surfing fans are already buzzing about a possible repeat of the epic Slater vs. Irons final at the 2003 Pipe Masters.
For more information on the WCT, go to www.aspworldtour.com.
For more information on how you can help protect Mundaka and other European beach and coastal resources, go to www.surfrider-europe.org
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Foundation now maintains over 45,000 members and 60 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil. For more information or to join the Surfrider Foundation, visit us at www.surfrider.org.