Andy Irons trying for fourth world title

INBITUBA, Brazil — Andy Irons of Kaua’i continued his hopes for a fourth world title as he eliminated wildcard and “giant killer” Heitor Alves (BRA) in the Nova Shin Festival.

Irons dropped on his first few waves, but regained himself to post two high scores that left Alves needing a combination to catch up.

Irons posted a 15.34 over Alves’ 14.00 score.

The victory sets the stage for a showdown against Kelly Slater (Fla., USA) who defeated Guilherme Ferreira (BRA) with two 8.5 scores in the first 10 minutes then went on to score a 9.0 in the very late stages to leave his opponent needing two good rides to catch up. If Irons (HAW) were to lose and finish behind Kelly Slater (USA) in the event, the 2005 Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour crown will go to former six-time ASP champion Slater.

While Irons didn’t get going till the halfway mark in the heat his radical snaps were well appreciated by the judges.

“I was pretty lost out there. We couldn’t hear a thing and I didn’t know how I was going,” Irons said.

“I thought it was much closer than what it was. I’m just happy that I won.” Irons also conceded that he may have made the wrong equipment choice, which had him somewhat confused in his tactical plan.

“It was more like England out there than Brazil,” Irons said. “I was trying to ride in the pocket but had trouble getting speed.” The Nova Shin Brazil is the tenth of 12 events on the 2005 Foster’s ASP Men’s World Championship Tour (WCT) and features 45 of the world’s top surfers and three wildcards.

For more information, visit the event website at www.aspworldtour.com, or www.billabongpro.com

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