Showing the form of a true champion and with his fists punching the air, Andy Irons kept his Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour crown hopes alive by claiming victory in the Quiksilver Pro France presented by Samsung. Taking place in six to eight foot conditions at La Graviere, and with the early elimination of Kelly Slater in the quarter finals, Irons put the pedal to metal to defeat Damien Hobgood in the 35 minute battle royale, defeating him 17.00 out of 20 to 12.83.
Irons went straight to work from the onset of the final, notching up small scores but really drove it home after 12 minutes, scoring a 7.67 on a strong left breaking wave. Hobgood meanwhile had yet to catch a wave.
Irons then paddled straight back into the lineup and launched into a huge backhand attack hitting the lip numerous times to notch up a 9.33. Hobgood was still yet to score and was well and truly behind the eight ball. Hobgood tried to peg Irons back with a 7.50 for a deep tube with 19 minutes remaining but it was too late as the Irons stagecoach had run away.
“I love this event!” shouted Irons who danced on the podium while tipping Foster’s all over the huge crowd gathered in front. “I can’t believe that I’ve won here again. I want to move here! I love the people I love the food and I love the waves! I’m just so stoked and Kelly is going to have to wait to pop the champagne cork for a little longer.”
Irons paid tribute to the thousands of fans who lined the beach and cheered him every step of the way and was pleased with the tactic he used to defeat Hobgood who he knew would be looking for the tube.
“The French are such diehard fans,” he said. “They were on the beach when it was raining. It was such a unique vibe and it really pumps you up to get a really good score. I saw it was a little crumbly out there and I knew that Damien would be looking for the barrel and luckily he only got that one. On my waves I just did as many turns as I could and it paid off. Bring on Brazil!” Although hanging on by his fingertips, Irons is still in the running for his fourth Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour Crown and another situation like today in the next event will see Irons breathing down Slater’s neck come the grand finale at Pipeline, Hawai’i.