Irons Continues Top Form At Mundaka

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Tuesday, October 5, 2004 (Mundaka, Euskadi, Spain) Reigning world champion Andy Irons of Hawaii today continued his winning form in the Billabong Pro at Mundaka. Round one of the Foster's men’s ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) began first day of the waiting period, with nine non-elimination heats decided.

No waves were present this morning on the higher tide, but as Guernika River began to drain out around midday, long 3-4 ft (1m) lefthanders began to appear at the Basque region’s mythical surf venue. Conditions continued to improve this afternoon, with occasional 5ft (1.5m) waves running the length of the sandbar.

Irons, who two days ago won the WCT in France and extended his already healthy ratings lead, dominated round one action this afternoon at Mundaka. The Kauaian opened his 2004 campaign with a brilliant 9.5 score, and then supported this with another 8.0 to control both Peterson Rosa (BRA) and wildcard Peter Mendia (USA). After suffering a rare 33rd place result during last year's Billabong Pro, today's win provided added satisfaction.

“I was so nervous,” admitted Irons, of competing at Mundaka again. “There were big lulls without waves, so I thought the tide may have gotten too high again. Thankfully that set came out of nowhere and I was able to do some long floaters and got rewarded with a 9.5. Anything can happen out at Mundaka, so I wasn't taking that heat lightly at all.”

“I went from such a high, to a real low the next morning as I got food poisoning,” he continued, of being sick following his recent victory. “It was only the other day, so I actually didn’t know how my body was going to react. I still felt pretty achy, so glad I can relax for at least a day while I get it out of my system.”

Defending event and six-time world champ Kelly Slater (FL, USA) posted the day's best single score for a near-perfect 9.73. The Floridian landed a series of three incredible floating maneuvers down the line, leaving Paulo Moura (BRA) and local wildcard Hodei Collazo (ESP) playing catch-up for the remainder of the exchange.

“I just got a bomb, and the sections were perfectly timed to get speed off of each floater,” explained Slater of his best ride. “It was a good, long wave, so I knew it would be a score. I probably did something like eight turns on it.”

ASP President Wayne ‘{{{Rabbit}}}’ Bartholomew had the following to say this morning, during the traditional Basque opening ceremony; “On behalf of ASP International, I'd like to thank the people of Mundaka for welcoming everybody. We all love coming here as it's a very special place. I'd like to thank the Mundaka and Bakio councils for allowing this event to happen. And especially, big thanks to Billabong for their tremendous support of ASP and professional surfing.”

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Billabong Pro Mundaka Round One (1st>Rnd3; 2nd&3rd>Rnd2)
{{{H1}}}: Kalani Robb (HAW) 15.84; Greg Emslie (ZAF) 15.26; Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 9.66
{{{H2}}}: Victor Ribas (BRA) 12.33; Toby Martin (AUS) 7.93; Jake Paterson (AUS) 7.6
{{{H3}}}: Tim Curran (USA) 15.0; Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.04; Luke Hitchings (AUS) 12.67
H4: Phil MacDonald (AUS) 15.9; Shane Beschen (USA) 14.23; Luke Egan (AUS) 12.87
H6: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 14.1; Armando Daltro (BRA) 13.86; Pat O’Connell (USA) 10.63
H7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.34; Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 13.83; Eric Rebiere (FRA) 9.97
H8: Andy Irons (HAW) 17.5; Peterson Rosa (BRA) 15.1; Peter Mendia (USA) 12.9
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.63; Paulo Moura (BRA) 12.6; Hodei Collazo (ESP) 11.6
H10: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.73; Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.33; Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 10.77

Remaining Billabong Pro Mundaka Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd&3rd>Rnd2)
H11: Michael Lowe (AUS); Raoni Monteiro (BRA); Nathan Webster (AUS)
H12: Daniel Wills (AUS); Bruce Irons (HAW); Trent Munro (AUS)
H13: Dean Morrison (AUS); Darren O’Rafferty (AUS); Marcelo Nunes (BRA)
H14: Sunny Garcia (HAW) Michael Campbell (AUS); Tom Whitaker (AUS)
H15: Taylor Knox (USA); Neco Padaratz (BRA); Kieren Perrow (AUS)
H16: Lee Winkler (AUS); Troy Brooks (AUS); Chris Davidson (AUS)
H5: Taj Burrow (AUS); Richard Lovett (AUS); Beau Emerton (AUS) - rescheduled

The Billabong Pro Mundaka is supported by prestigious co-sponsors such as {{{Vans}}}, Von Zipper, Hertz, Yamaha and Cobra Jet ski, as well as local companies and administrations such as Mundaka, the Mundaka Surf Club, The Basque Surfing Federation, Bakio and the Bakio Surf Club, BBK, Telefonica and the Basque Government.

Click here for the Billabong Pro Mundaka Photo Gallery