Andy Irons: tasting a Slatery victory in 2006

Andy Irons and Kelly Slater celebrated the power of surfing with the greatest surf contest final ever, at the Billabong Pipe Masters 2006. Do you remember the epic showdown?


It's 14th December, 2006. The hottest rivalry in the history of surfing gets a Pipe Masters' final, in the Hawaiian surf sanctuary. Andy Irons, the local star, against Kelly Slater, the Floridian alien.

Slater opens the book with 9.0-point wave and, with less than 12 minutes remaining in the heat, Kelly's total score reaches 17.53 against Irons' 12.5 points.

Seven minutes prior to the end of the final, Irons pulls a long barrel and ends up with a floater to get 9.87 points from the judges.

The high-scoring final only ends in the dying seconds of the heat. Andy and Kelly paddle for a good-looking barrel, at the same time, with only two minutes remaining.

Tension builds, Andy Irons manages to drives through Backdoor Pipeline and comes out unglued to claim victory at the Billabong Pipe Masters 2006. Perfect 10. The crowd roars and the event enters the most beautiful pages of the history of surfing.

"I was just in the right spot at the right time, and that's usually what it takes," Irons said. "Kelly almost caught that wave. If he got that wave, he would have got a 10."

"Looking back, I think I probably made some little errors. I think I needed to lean a little on Andy. I didn't let him have those (waves), but I could have put up a better fight", said Slater, who took the 2006 world surfing title.