Bruce Irons came from behind in the final 10 minutes of the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Search to grab his first Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour Victory yesterday in Indonesia.
The victory came at the expense of fellow finalist Fredrick Patacchia of Hawai‘i and capped a marathon day of action that culminated in a stunning barrel shootout finale between the two Hawai‘i surfers, an ASP press release states.
“One of my goals when I joined the tour was to win an event, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen since I’ll be stepping away after this season,” Irons said in the release. “But the waves pumped this event! This is what the Dream Tour should be like all the time.”
He said he is stepping away from the ASP Tour at the end of this year, but is not retiring.
“I’m still planning on competing at Pipeline and Teahupoo and at venues I can get into,” the new champion said.
Irons took down reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning of Australia and Dream Tour sophomore Benn Dunn, also of Australia, en route to the finals where he met Patacchia.
Grabbing an 8.33 and a 9.33, Irons captured the title after starting out with small scores.
With 10 minutes remaining in the event, Irons unleashed a fury of backhand tubs and commited re-entries over dry reef to take the win which moves him to No. 10 on the ASP World Tour ratings.
“I was tripping out in the water when they kept announcing Fred (Patacchia) and I in the final,” Irons said. “It was all business, though. This is only the second time I’ve ever made one on tour and I wasn’t about to let it go. I was trying my hardest out there.”
The Rip Curl Pro Search win maintains the Irons’ family monopoly on Rip Curl Pro Search events. Bruce’s older brother, Andy, has two Rip Curl Pro Search titles under his belt, winning in 2006 and 2007.
“My brother has won this event twice and all I could think about in the final is how much I wanted that trophy,” Irons said. “The thing is sick! It was a great event and we’re going to have a huge party tonight!”
Despite being outscored in the final 17.66-11.16, Patacchia was in stunning form throughout the event, netting high scores and eliminating top seeds before coming up short in the final.
“Bruce and I are good friends but we were super competitive in that final,” Patacchia said. “Both of us wanted to win and we were hassling and trash-talking and everything. I had one wave at the start, but Bruce got two bombs towards the end and I could tell he was really gunning for it.”
Patacchia, rebounding from an injury early in the season, finished equal 9th in Fiji with Jeffreys Bay before coming up short against Bruce in Indonesia. This places him at No. 14 on the ASP World Tour.
“It feels great to come back after a slow start to the year,” Patacchia said. “The waves were so good for this event and I’m bummed I didn’t win, but to have Bruce there and since he’s stepping away, it feels good that we kept the title in Hawai‘i.”
Chris Ward of the United States finished in third place after coming up short against Bruce, 13.70-13.50. En route to that encounter, Ward eliminated Bruce’s brother Andy and 2007 ASP World Tour runner-up Taj Burrow of Australia.
“I’m not even bummed,” Ward said. “If I had come out of that one barrel, then I would have been in the final, but I’ve had a great day and a third-place finish really helps me this year. The next event is in my back yard at Lower Trestles, and I’m pretty confident out there.”
The next stop on the 2008 ASP World Tour will be the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley at Lower Trestles, Calif., from Sept. 7-13.
For more information, visit the ASP Web site at www.aspworldtour.com