A Bugs Eye View

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Another superb edition of the Rip Curl Pro Search wrapped up in grand style with the crowning of Bruce Irons (HAW) as champion for 2008. Talk about keeping the crown in the family, elder brother and three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons has dominated the previous two Search events, perhaps this floating license best suits the spontaneity of the Irons bros. The mere fact that it is traditionally held in some world class barrel might also have something to do with it.

That was a great achievement for Brucey, he has won major events at Pipe, including the Masters, but never as a touring pro. So in his self-proclaimed testimonial season, Bruce knocked up a memorable parting victory. He may be stepping off the Dream Tour, but I am certain we have not seen the last of Bruce Irons. He definitely has some pet locations that he will unleash his focus on and will need to start scheming to get into future ASP World Tour events at Teahupoo, Cloudbreak and Pipe.

Ah, but the year is still young and in this relaxed state, with the confidence riding high, Bruce may strike again. I'm sure Fred Pattachia (HAW) got a major boost out of cleaning up the rest of the field – his rise to No. 14 providing both some comfort zone and a platform to go up the rankings. What about that Fred/Parko heat? Wow, what a special. Obviously the current ASP World #2 was in great form and looking to bear down on Kelly's lead, but even a near-perfect effort was not enough to hold off the molten hot Pattachia.

The ASP World Title scenario was put in a holding pattern, with only Taj Burrow (AUS) making a modest incremental advance. That being said, the presuure was really on the Big 5 to reel the runaway Slater in. When Kelly went out, the others kind of followed suit. There was definite drama for Parko and Mick Fanning. The Parko effort would have won every other heat and Fanning lost by one hundredth of a point to the eventual winner. Brucey and Fred enjoyed a great run to the final after overcoming the Cooly Kids.

With Bruce not in ASP World Title contention, it was another vacuous result, the 1200 points being kept at bay from those who most need it to assist with arrears. When one boils it down, Kelly, if he ends up using Teahupoo and Indo as his discards, is still on a perfect season. That is pretty awesome right there. He is over 1000 points in front and has worse throwaways then the others, which has the effect of adjusting ratings in his favour.

The big leg starting at Trestles on September 7 will be the next chance to make an assault, and guess who has the best record at Lowers. The time for whittling is over, if someone doesn't step up through California/Europe we will be shooting for a record early clinching.

Speaking of big legs, the traditional European ASP WQS leg has kicked off in brilliant surf conditions at Fistral, the ASP WQS 5-Star Rip Curl Boardmasters continuing on with recent good form by producing some early brilliance, the images emanating from the event looking more like Hossegor then Newquay.

A host of travel-weary warriors have lined up for a crack at the 2000 ASP WQS points, with Drew Courtney (AUS), Adam Robertson (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Shaun Gossman (AUS) and Jay Quinn l(NZL) eading the charge. Having winged in from Japan and before that California, at least the guys will be on shorter hops as the Euro leg jumps over to France after Newquay.

This is generally where serious qualifying bids come to the fore, and even though the Rip Curl Boardmasters isn't as points rich as later events, the finalists will be netting certain keeper points, the guys all looking to bring home seven four digit points yields before heading into the seaon ending {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown in Hawaii.

So the big slog is on, every heat is meaningful, every wave contributes to the campaign.

Good luck to all the hardcore aspiring pros out there and well done Rip Curl for not only the genius of the Somewhere philosophy but for backing up the grassroots level with major support of the ASP World Qualifying Series.