“He (Hobgood) paddled me inside and caught the first wave,” Irons said. “The next wave was better and I just fell out of the sky. I thought my board was going to break. It has two buckles on it already. I just went after it out there. C.J. is so dangerous here. I knew he would be getting tens or twos, and I was lucky it was twos today.”
With today’s victory, Irons moves from No. 18 to No. 7 on the ASP World Title Race rankings, a monumental feat that sees the powerful Hawaiian well inside the ASP Top 10.
“I feel like I’m back,” Irons said. “I have to thank ASP for giving me the wildcard back here. My whole dream was to come back and just win one contest, and I’ve done that now. I want more. And to win at Teahupoo, it’s my favourite wave in the world. It’s a very special win.
SHOOT: I wonder how Jordy did? But check this out, Slater scored a perfect 10.
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, past nine-time ASP World Champion, looked the form surfer of the day, scoring the event’s first and only Perfect 10 in the Quarterfinals for an incredible freefall layback barrel.
“It’s been a while (since getting a 10),” Slater said. “That was probably the best wave of the day. I looked at the first one, and I was surprised Ace (Adrian Buchan) went on the first one. The second one usually sucks out more and is more hollow. I was a little bit far back when I was paddling, and when I turned around to go, the wind was pushing me back. So I really had to overcompensate once I got to the bottom and finally set my edge. It was a good one though.”
Despite the Semifinal loss to Irons, Slater moves from 3rd to 2nd on the ASP World Title Race rankings, a mere 250 points behind frontrunner Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22.
“I’m up there pretty close,” Slater said. “Going all the way to J-Bay and getting 17th makes me wish I had stayed home. You lose confidence and waste time on planes. That’s the way it goes – you have good events and bad events. This one has been pretty good though. The waves haven’t been good, but we’ve seen a lot of cool things. We’ve seen the young guys really step up and we’ve seen Andy (Irons) come back and put one together.”
CURRENT ASP WORLD TITLE RACE TOP 5 (After Billabong Pro Tahiti)
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 30,250 pts
2 – Kelly Slater (USA) 30,000 pts
3 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 25,250 pts
4 – Dane Reynolds (USA) 23,750 pts
5 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 23,250 pts