Surf: 8 feet, slick like Coho, thick like OTW
Events held: Finals
Nature’s call: What, you thought I would hold out?
Predicted: Yes, Mundaka!3,2,1. . . power fists all around. Phil Macdonald, thick-as-a-brick rail warrior, has just tunneled out a 9.33 and 7.63 in a three-minute succession, stopping Slater and giving today’s eventual winner Andy Irons a gem of a hand. Slates, the man who posted the day’s highest score for three consecutive rounds, is stunned. And he’s not alone. As the new Aussie hero comes stomping up through the clinging French fans, the applause from his mates isn’t even as loud as his quarterfinal win. A little astounded, would you say?

We can talk for hours about Kelly’s form throughout this event, but the fact is, he lost in semifinal no. two, just as Taj Burrow did in semi one. The fact is, this Irons fellow is the real deal; the man bleeds confidence and it was flowing as strong as ever today in Hossegor. Remember, in round one, when he lost to wildcard, Fred Robin? What was it he said, “I’m laughing!” The time-bomb, get-pitched-for-fun A. Irons of yesteryear; he really hasn’t changed that much. He’s just learned to use all of it to his advantage. Today, in ridiculous, back-breaking La Graviere, he might as well have been called a two-time world champ. His finesse in the most fascinating of tubular places, his error-free heat surfing. . .they made a laughing stock of all those who slipped. Like K. Slater, who, with priority, gave Macca the winning wave. Not that the K didn’t handle with class, saying, “The best surfers won, and that’s the way it should be.” And then he paddled down to the shallowest bank, and found a way to break what would have been his winning board. Ah yes, passion extreme.

Macdonald did give a passionate dig here in his first-ever final, and he wasn’t the only one. There was Taj Burrow’s all-out speed, and Shea Lopez’s stinger backhand tube of the day against Slater in the quarters — truly, this was the kind of stuff usually reserved for a certain beach along Kam Hwy. But save the most passion for the winner. When Irons comes in after this, his fourth win of 2003, he doesn’t appear too satisfied. Sure, he’s pleased to build his lead; it was down to less than 400 points. And of course he says, “I’m stoked to win against all these guys.” But then, isn’t that what he’s already been doing, nearly every time?

No, the most telling factor is that he’s already dreaming of what he might do down in Spain, on his backhand. With oversize check in hand, drenched in victory lager; after just winning at what was looking to be one of those “Kelly Events,” it’s as if he’s already there. “I think I’ll be heading down to Mundaka tonight.” Yep, time to load up the boards.— Hagan KelleyQuiksilver Pro Final
1st Andy Irons (Haw) 18.06 – US$30,000
2nd Phil MacDonald (Aus) 13.73 – US$16,000
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$10,000)
SF1: Andy Irons (Haw) 16.06 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.83
SF2: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 16.96 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.83
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
QF1: Taj Burrow (Aus) 13.5 def. Daniel Wills (Aus) 13.03
QF2: Andy Irons (Haw) 14.16 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.84
QF3: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 15.17 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 7.83
QF4: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.1 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 15.63
Current Top 10 Ratings After Quiksilver Pro France, WCT #8/12
1. Andy Irons (Haw) 6,{{{960}}}
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 6,228
3. Taj Burrow (Aus) 5,988
4. Mick Fanning (Aus) 5,652
5. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 5,568
6. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 5,304
7. Taylor Knox (USA) 4,932
8. Dean Morrison (Aus) 4,{{{740}}}
9. {{{CJ}}} Hobgood (USA) 4,716
=10. Mick Lowe (Aus); Shea Lopez (USA) 4,656