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Andy Irons defeats Cory Lopez to win Quiksilver Pro Fiji

Irons & Lopez celebrate with Fosters : photo ASP/Tostee



Quiksilver Pro

ASP 2003 WCT event #4

Tavarua/Namotu-Fiji

25 May - 6 June 2003

Irons Defeats Lopez To Win Event

June 3, 2003 (Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji) Reigning world champion Andy
Irons (Kauai, Haw) today claimed his second event title this year by
defeating Cory Lopez (FL, USA) in the final of the Quiksilver Pro. The
US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced with quarterfinals
this morning, ran right through semifinals and then climaxed with the grand
finale.

Perfect 6-8 ft (2-2.5m) waves were on offer at Cloudbreak. Boat loads of
spectators came out to watch from the lineup, while thousands more logged
onto www.quiksilver.com for the live audio and video broadcast.

Irons flew into Fiji equal first on the ratings following his earlier win at
Bells Beach Australia, and remained the clear favorite throughout the
Quiksilver Pro. Having posted the first perfect 10-point ride during round
three, the 24-year-old continued his devastating backhand attack to reach
the final day. Despite creasing his favorite surfboard and being plagued by
sea lice this morning, he shook it off like a true champion, collecting
another perfect 10 first ride of his quarterfinal clash.

Once in the 35-minute final, the Kauaian set an early pace with another deep
tube and 9.0 score. Soon after he posted his and the event´s third perfect
10, creating the highest combined total of the tournament (19 out of a
possible 20-points) and a daunting score for Lopez to try to match. He
ultimately couldn´t, and Irons earned an 8th WCT career win, extended his
lead on this year´s ratings and pocketed US$30,000 prizemoney.


Andy Irons : photo ASPTostee


"It feels amazing," began Irons, after being showered in beer by fellow
contestants on the marshalling boat. "It hasn´t all sunk in yet, but I´m
super happy and it was really cool to be in the final with one of my best
friends. I travel with Cory all year. He and I were just laughing at each
other out there. I´ve surfed against him my whole life, so it´s just
amazing. We´ll be talking about this when we´re old.

"I´ve never done well here before," he continued, "It was a big goal of mine
just to make a few rounds. Every heat I was getting more momentum, and
before I knew it I was in the final and got two huge scores before Cory had
his first. I´m really stoked and it worked out perfectly. Dream come true
for sure.

"Last year was amazing," he added. "It´s another season and this is
definitely a good start. I´ve had two ninths and two firsts now, but we´ve
got so many events left still. I´m not counting any chickens before they
hatch. I´ll be going to Japan (next WCT - Niijima Quiksilver Pro, June
18-28) psyched and will be going for it. I´m just enjoying my world title
year, and it´s been a good one so far."

Lopez - who finished equal third last year in the Quiksilver Pro - went one
better by making the final against his roommate on Tavarua Island. Having
eliminated Irons in round four of the previous event in Tahiti, the
Floridian wasn´t able to do likewise at Cloudbreak today. His best score in
the final was a 7.5 and he ultimately required a combination of rides worth
11.5-points. Rated 11th prior to Fiji, the 26-year-old moved into equal 4th
position on the current standings.


Cory Lopez : photo ASPTostee


"It was just the luck of the waves," reasoned Lopez afterwards. "I´d go the
first wave and it would look like a sick one, but then the second wave would
end up being way better. He´s a great surfer and any wave he gets he´s going
to turn it into an excellent score. Congratulations to him. He´s probably
the best backside surfer around and he definitely smoked me out there
(laughs). I wish I could have gotten out of a combination situation to keep
a little pride, but the waves went flat there at the end.

"I´m stoked with second though," he added. "It´s great and I´ll definitely
take it any day. I´m looking forward to the rest of the year. I love Tavarua
and this is a great wave. Stoked on Quiksilver for having an event here."

Equal third were world #Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay, Aus) and defending
Quiksilver Pro champion Mick Lowe (Windang, NSW, Aus). Both received
US$10,000 for their outstanding efforts in the 2003 tournament.

Perrow began his day being bounced off the reef prior to his quarterfinal,
but similarly to Irons, responded with a near-perfect 9.8 first wave of the
clash. Against the Kauaian the following match, however, he fell short of
the mark. His last wave appeared a chance, but he still needed another 8.67
score following it. Still, with two consecutive fifths prior to Fiji, the
26-year-old now finds himself rated 3rd.


Cory Lopez : photo ASPTostee


"I´d never surfed a man-on-man against him, and was probably more nervous
leading up to it than in I had been all other heats," explained Perrow. "It
was more the unknown factor, but Andy´s just freakish. He can pull out
amazing scores, so I just tried to forget about him. It rattled me a little
when he got that 9.33 first wave, and then I did a few stupid things.
Halfway through I reminded myself it was still possible since he hadn´t
scored two 10´s, so I just tried to focus. I got one score, and when that
set came I was excited. I could have been a bit deeper, and obviously I
should have been for the score (laughs).

"I couldn´t have dreamt of a better start," he added. "It just keeps getting
better, so maybe Japan will see me in the final. I´d be stoked about that."

Lowe contested a semifinal rematch of last year with Lopez, but wasn´t able
to secure the same outcome. After going head first into the reef his first
ride, the powerful goofyfooter waited anxious minutes for his next, which
ultimately proved the best single score of the exchange for an 8.5.
Nonetheless, he could only support this with a 3.93 during the dying
seconds, and bowed out needing another 6.33.

"I´m very disappointed, but I really didn´t get a wave until there was only
14-minutes remaining," explained Lowe. "After the 8.5 I had 10-minutes to
catch a 6.33, but nothing else broke. I´m happy as it´s a good result and
Cory´s been surfing really well all this event, but it would have been nice
to go back-to-back."


Mick Lowe : photo ASPTostee


Finishing equal fifth today in Quiksilver Pro were world #5 Mick Fanning
(Gold Coast, Aus), former world #2 Shane Powell (Avoca, Aus), last year´s
runner-up Shea Lopez (FL, USA) and Chris Davidson (Narrabeen, Aus).

Davidson, in particular, benefited the most from the result jumping from
equal last on the ratings - following three previous 33rd finishes - into
39th spot. The 26-year-old requalified this year for his third attempt on
the WCT and is determined to stick around longer than his past campaigns. He
ultimately required another ride worth 8.45 points against Cory Lopez in
their heat this morning.

"Pretty stoked with a 5th place finish in this event," said Davidson. "It´s
one of the bigger contests of the year with perfect waves. I knew I´d have
my work cut out for me against Cory since it was barreling, but that´s life.
It´s a good result and will let me drop all those 33rd´s from earlier in the
year. I´ve just got to stay focused and work on each heat. I´m ready for a
good year."

Live Video & Audio were broadcast on www.quiksilver.com



Official Results of the 2003 Quiksilver Pro

Final

1st Andy Irons (Haw) 19.0 - US$30,000

2nd Cory Lopez (USA) 13.83 - US$16,000

Semifinals

(1st>Final; 2nd=3rd, receives US$10,000)

SF1: Andy Irons (Haw) 16.83 def. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.67

SF2: Cory Lopez (USA) 14.83 def. Michael Lowe (Aus) 12.43

Quarterfinals
(1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th, receives US$8,000)

QF1: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 16.97 def. Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.4

QF2: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.07 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 13.77

QF3: Michael Lowe (Aus) 17.73 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 14.17

QF4: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.24 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 12.3

Current Top 10 Ratings after WCT#4

1. Andy Irons (Haw) 3,600-points

2. Mick Fanning (Aus) 2,964

3. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 2,940

=4. Joel Parkinson (Aus);

=4. Taj Burrow (Aus)

=4. Cory Lopez (USA) 2,724

7. Kelly Slater (USA) 2,688

8. CJ Hobgood (USA) 2,676

9. Dean Morrison (Aus) 2,640

10. Shea Lopez (USA) 2,424


Tavarua from Lineup at Restaurants : photo ASPTostee


Previous reports:

# 1 : Injured Slater primed for big Quiksilver Pro performance

# 2 : Brooks wins Quiksilver Pro Fiji trials, & Slater withdraws

# 3 : Irons in form Injuries claim more Quiksilver Pro casualties

# 4 : Quiksilver Pro days 3 and 4 postponed due to small surf


# 5 : Quiksilver Pro postponed again on Day 5 & 6 swell coming

# 6 : Round two of Quiksilver Pro completed at Cloudbreak

# 7 : Quiksilver Pro Irons scores perfect 10 eliminating Brooks


# 8 : Andy Irons leads Quiksilver Pro Fiji quarter final charge



Official event website

More Aussie/Pacific Surfing News available here

Check the latest Aussie/Pacific Surf Reports and Forecasts

For further information contact:

Jesse Faen

International Media Manager

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)

jesse@aspworldtour.com

www.aspworldtour.com

Kirk Willcox

On site in Fiji: (679) 651 2316

Email: kirk.willcox@quiksilver.com.au

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