When It All Comes Together: Andy Irons hits his stride in the final day of the WCT Rip Curl Search

“Viva Mexico!” In a beer-soaked sombrero, holding humongous trophy shaped like the world, three-time world champ Andy Irons victory speech pretty much said it all. For a translation of this complex bit of Spanish, lets go to our Latin correspondent, Chris Ward: “Sickest contest in history ever,” says Wardo, who pretty well embodies the sould of this event, staying next to the break in a 10 x 10 foot beach palapa while the everyone else involved stayed 40-minutes away near the mile-long buffet lines in the gringo-bubble hotels in town. And the way Wardo surfed this event, well, that`s how this wave is meant to be ridden.

And he`s not exaggerating about the contest, either. The entire ASP is punching themselves in the nuts over how awesome this place is, on everything that happened down here in a matter of moments. The huge swells and heavy rains that perfectly groomed these rivermouth sandbars prior to the event. The four days of solid, once-a-year-perfect swell that arrived on Day One and stuck around till almost the end. The boundless Mexican aloha of all the locals. The light winds and perpetual sunshine. The cold beer and smiling chicitas. Considering the fact that Rip Curl just dropped this event off in the middle of the jungle Somewhere in Mexico, things couldnt have gone much better. When all the elements come together like this, well, this is what it`s all about. This is why we love surfing.

And looking out to the lineup, seeing Bruce and Andy Irons just tearing the arse out of back-to-back perfect sandbar rights in their quarterfinal matchup, you see just have far this sport has come, and at the same time just how much its stayed the same. But the manuevers get better and better, but the soul stays family.

After three full days of pumping, 10-second tube insanity, today`s heats saw a fading swell and slightly nervous organizers. There was some question as to whether to power forward or wait for the next swell near the end of the waiting period. As Rip Curl`s Neil Ridgeway explains, “We asked Andy Irons and he said, `Bring it on.`” And so they did.

With smaller tubes, Round Four said goodbye to the events last remaining goofyfoots Bobby Martinez, Cory Lopez and the Hobgood brothers, who all packed their boards and went left. In the quarters, Taylor Knox took out Kelly Slater in the Momentum {{{Tribute}}} Heat. Slates just wasnt really in form today, falling, missing, and surfing with a twitchy herky-jerkiness that wasnt pulling scores. Knox, on the other hand, made his quota of bonehead mistakes, but also pushed the boundaries on everything he did. And when he needed a 5 to take out the 7-time world champ, he pulled up with a 9.

Bruce and Andy surfed their “Brotherly Grudge” heat with standard brilliance, but it all came to a sudden conclusion when AI — building to a brutal momentum — connected a huge barrel to a pair of big, air-drop floaters, another barrel and a spinny-thing ending. Bruce finally just dropped in on his bro and boosted a huge WTF air, landing with two large Modelos already in hand. Nice show, Bruce.