Hanalei’s Andy Irons had a day to remember yesterday when he claimed victory in the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters and the coveted Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing title.
For Irons, it was a fantastic ending to an amazing year and a tremendous finishing reward after relinquishing his Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour crown to Kelly Slater back in Brazil.
Finishing behind Irons was Mick Fanning, his younger brother Bruce, and Kalani Chapman.
Irons never looked in danger of losing the final. Despite Fanning getting off to an early lead, Irons looked solid and at home in the somewhat tricky conditions. Halfway through the final he dropped into a freak set and scored a perfect 10 after he slipped inside two deep tube rides and finished with a massive but unsuccessful aerial.
“The wave came off the reef and doubled up a bit,” said Irons. “I pulled in behind the section and came through it then managed to get back in another little barrel. I then tried a flying air and landed on the reef. It was one of the only waves in the final that came in clean.”
Irons then held onto first place until the final hooter as his brother Bruce and Fanning desperately attempted to reel him in. Chapman, meanwhile, struggled to find quality waves, but proved all event that he certainly has the skill to match it with the world’s best.
Irons was extremely happy and looked almost relieved that the year was over. For him it has been a roller-coaster ride as he did his utmost to stay in the title race right up to Brazil. To win today was obviously satis-fying for him.
“This definitely has made it a lot easier that’s for sure,” said Irons of not retaining his world crown. “I was one heat away from bringing it to Pipe in Brazil and now I’ve got in the back of my mind a lot of what ifs. But I really wanted to do well here in the Triple Crown and Pipe and I achieved