SURF: Six-to-eight feet and offshore
EVENTS HELD: Quarters, Semis, and Final
NATURE’S CALL: Good call, Rod
FORECAST: Break out the grovelers for JapanReigning Quiksilver Pro Fiji champion Michael Lowe watched from the channel as Andy Irons pumped his way through yet another impossible backhand barrel. Lowey’s obviously no slouch himself, but he couldn’t help but marvel at Irons’ utter dominance over the rest of the ASP World Championship Tour. “He’s a machine,” announced Lowey of the current world champ. “Always been a machine, when he was younger he was just a few cogs short.” As quickly as Kelly Slater drew even with Irons by winning the last event in Tahiti, today Andy reestablished his supremacy with a controlling performance at flawless Cloudbreak.It didn’t look like it was going to be Andy’s day. Despite the increased swell and ideal, offshore conditions, he got off on the wrong foot, so to speak. He went for a morning freesurf prior to the quarterfinals and was mauled by sea lice. Then, as he boarded the Quiksilver ferry to rest up for his heat, he slipped on the slick floor and landed flat on his ass. “That’s it,” he spat forth, “I’m starting the day over right now.” It’s that easy for him nowadays. He decides to achieve something, and it happens.No one even came close to rocking Andy’s boat on the final day. Before each of his heats, he was visibly antsy to get off the ferry and into the barrel. “As soon as I got through (Troy) Brooks, I started gaining momentum,” noted the champ. Indeed, the Round Three clash against the wildcard who eliminated him in the very same position last year was the only challenge Irons would face throughout the event. “I don’t know what it is about that guy, but he always rattles my cage.” After that, it was Irons’ competitors who were rattled. They would have been better off hiding below deck on the ferry during his heats than watching his path of destruction.
Andy’s repertoire ran like this: he used impeccable patience, passing up many decent waves and selecting only those that promised deep barrels; once behind the curtain, he held fast to his rail and pumped his 6’6″ to daylight; unleashed on the open face, he threw vertical snaps and roundhouse cutties before launching one last floater straight over the reef just inches below. His average scoring ride for the entire event, an astounding 8.8 out of ten. He began each round with a whopping score, leaving his opponents desperate and reeling. He walked over Shane Powell, Kieren Perrow, and best friend Cory Lopez as quickly as he used to blow up at himself in years past. Powelly, like the rest, went away muttering, “Not much you can do about that.” It was the same thing Irons had said three years ago after throwing up the white flag halfway through many a clash. Now a veteran at 24, he has settled into the system and left his sordid early years on tour behind him.