Andy Irons: a very good surfer

Andy Irons, three-time world surfing champion, has died in a hotel room, in Dallas, USA, at the age of 32.

Reports say Andy Irons withdrew from the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico because he was battling with dengue fever and had to leave the island for proper treatment. He failed the first round of competition and was not in physical conditions to get back on water for the second round of the surfing contest.

In order to fight the viral infection, he spent two days in an intravenous drip, in Miami. As he was trying to reach his own Hawaiian doctor, he lost the flight connection to his homeland, from Dallas. He was feeling strong fever and vomiting made him check in the Grand Hyatt Hotel DFW Airport.

"The world of surfing mourns an incredibly sad loss today with the news that Hawaii's Andy Irons has died", said his sponsor Billabong. Andy would be a father, for the first time, in the next month. He will be survived by his wife Lyndie Dupuis.

Irons was crowned king of the ASP World Tour, during three consecutive years, from 2002 to 2004. Also, he had won two Rip Curl Pro Search: Mexico (2006) and Chile (2007).

Andy will always be remembered as one of the greatest surfers of the world and a funny, genuine, competitive, vibrant and direct human being. His latest title was the famous 2010 Billabong Pro Tahiti, held in the Teahupoo wave peak.

"Andy has made me a better, more focused and stronger competitor. Whether I've been in situations in the past where I've wanted to admit it or not, he's always been one of my favorite surfers", said Kelly Slater of his fellow and rival surfer.

In his last event of the ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Andy Irons said he was feeling very happy and that he was living great times.

"At this time the family thanks his friends and fans for their support, and asks that the community respect its privacy. The family also asks to not be contacted so their focus can remain on one another during this time of profound loss", says Andy Irons' family in a statement.

The 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico has been suspended. The Association of Surfing Professionals and the pro surfers will decide if/when to resume the event.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lyndie, Bruce, his family and friends in Kauai. Pay your tribute to Andy Irons.

There's a tribute photo gallery dedicated to Andy Irons. Read the most famous Andy Irons' quotes.

Andy Irons: the curriculum of a surfing icon

ASP World Tour titles: 3
Dream Tour victories: 20
Triple Crown of Surfing titles: 4
Rip Curl Pro Search titles: 2

Heitor Alves: what a year, dude

An unstoppable Heitor Alves (Fortaleza/Ceara, BRA) claimed the ASP PRIME Islas Canarias Santa Pro taking out Cory Lopez (Florida, USA) 33, on a wild final day of action at the left point break of San Juan. A rampaging Alves was never challenged during the entire day as the 27-year-old took one giant step to securing his position on the 2011 ASP World Tour.

Swells in the 6-8ft (2-2.5m) range and strong on-shore winds combined to produce a savagely wild day of surfing that tested the remaining surfers to their limits. Event officials inspected other breaks early morning eventually deciding to run at San Juan which offered a long walling left despite the winds.

It was Heitor Alves who set the pace from his opening quarter-final appearance right through to the 35-minute final. An ecstatic Alves leaves Europe with a ‘hat-trick’ of victories following wins in the ASP Men’s Star Series 6-Star events in Zarautz and Figueira da Foz.

“One more win here in Europe feels so good right now I can’t believe it. It was not easy at all, the whole time in this contest I have been pushed by the other guys during all the heats. I was very concentrated today in the water and once again the good vibrations were on my side again.(laughs) I had very good luck the whole contest and I have been training so it paid off for sure.”

Not once did he find himself in second position, opening all his encounters with excellent rides which were never contested by his opponents. Alves made it look so easy with smooth bottom turns followed by power forehand smashes in the most critical parts of the waves. His stats from the event speak for themselves; The 2 highest two-wave combined totals of the event and five of the top 10 best scoring rides.

“I got 9.00 point rides on my first waves and I kept my concentration when I was riding to not fall off my board. I also tried to stay relaxed and think about my moves to make the heat.”

The 6500 ASP World Ranking points gained with this victory all but secures Alves in next year’s elite World Tour squad for the 2011 season. Heading into the final two major PRIME events to be held in Hawaii, Alves has now a completely different approach to the upcoming contests.

“Now I am relaxed with this result and I can go to Hawaii knowing that hopefully I am on the World Tour next year. To win a Prime contest is so hard and with the points I have now my position on the rankings is even better.”

Runner-up Cory Lopez (USA) came closest to pinning back a storming Alves with his never-say-die performance in the final. Lopez needed a solid score to take the lead on his last throw of the dice however fell short needing one more major turn to consolidate the score.

“Heitor was on fire all day and every heat he was getting big scores. He started off again in the final with a 7.00 but in the other heats he was getting 9.00’s so I dodged one bullet at least. It came down to the end I needed a high 7 point ride. That last wave was pretty close to it but the final manoeuvre wasn’t there for me. If it had of stayed clean for one more big hit I feel I would’ve got the score. The waves were really tough today and Heitor got the better waves all week and he is a tough competitor.”

In his quarter-final clash against Australian Dyyan Neve, Lopez pulled off an incredible close-out lip launch to oust Neve in the dying seconds. Claiming the score as the crowd erupted on the beach, Lopez knew he had the score he wanted.

“The quarter-final was a tough heat for me. I was losing the whole time and I couldn’t get any waves so lucky that last wave came to me. I was super happy with that and the last manoeuvre I was pretty stoked because you don’t pull turns like that all the time. I gave it a little claim which was pretty funny.”

Nic Muscroft (Jan Juc, AUS) 28, came close to repeating his 2008 victory at the Islas Canarias Santa Pro however he faced a steamrolling Alves who gave him no options in the first semi-final. Muscroft a former ASP ‘Dream Tour’ surfer, found himself against the ropes in the opening minutes of their bout.

“He (Alves) has had the crazy form all event and then he started with a 9.33 against me so I knew I had to do something good. It is almost impossible out there to get those sort of scores so he did very well.”

Despite searching for a high scoring wave, Muscroft got into even deeper trouble and found himself in a combination situation which he was unable to escape. Muscroft’s equal 3rd placing, his best of the season, will boost his World Rankings where he is currently in 56th position.

“I got through the quarter-finals but I felt I didn’t have a great heat but a couple of waves to get me through so I knew I would have to do something special against Heitor in the semis. A third here is amazing. It is my best result of the year especially in a PRIME event with the added points. It gives me a chance of re-qualifying again if I do really well in Hawaii so it is all positive.”

Miguel Pupo (BRA) 18, also finished equal 3rd going down to Cory Lopez in a tight low scoring semi-final to claim his best result in an ASP Prime event. The current ASP South America Junior champion was pleased with his performance through the entire event and the tough conditions did not go in his favour.

“The conditions out there are really crazy and it is like being in a washing machine or something like that. I needed only a 5.7 to get through but I couldn’t hear sometimes. I was thinking about trying to do an air or some big turns to get the score but I couldn’t get the wave. A third here is great. I went heat by heat and lost in the semis so congratulations to Cory.”

Pupo explains how Lopez has been one of his favourite surfers since he was a child and how to be in a semi-final of an ASP PRIME event shoulder to shoulder affected him.

“He is like a hero to me. Before I started surfing I used to play video games with him in it. I played as Cory all the time and now I am in the heat with him now so I was really stoked about that. I wanted to make that heat but he surfed better than me so his experience showed out there for sure.”

“This year I came fifth in Huntington and now a third here is my best result so far for sure,” continued Pupo. “I wanted to make the final but I was kind of nervous and I didn’t make my first huge air. I almost made it and if I did it was a 9.00 but I didn’t and I lost.” (laughs)

Islas Canarias Santa Pro Final Result
Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.50 Def. Cory Lopez (USA) 12.44

Clash of the Legends: heavy chargers

The competitive winter season on the North Shore is inching around the corner as the 2010 Reef Hawaiian Pro gears up to kick things off November 12th-23rd.

As the first gem of the Van’s Triple Crown, this ASP WQS 6 Star Prime event is highly coveted for the deep rooted tradition and a piece of a $145,000 prize purse. Critical WQS points are also on the line making the Reef Hawaiian Pro a must stop for those wanting to qualify for the 2011 WCT.

But the best surfers on tour aren’t the only ones out for glory on the North Shore this winter. Reef has added two new exhibitions to the Reef Hawaiian Pro that will surely have people glued to the webcast from start to finish.

Reef is reuniting former ASP World Champions, Tom Curren, Mark “Occy” Occhilupo, Sunny Garcia, and Tom Carroll, for the first ever Reef Hawaiian Pro “Clash of the Legends” presented by Bud Light Lime. The event will be held during three of the five days of the regular men’s contest period. There will be three four-man heats run through an old school contest format of the best of three sets.

The first annual “Clash of the Legends” Champion will be decided on the last set on the finals day of the men’s competition, and will walk home with his share of a $20,000 prize purse.

The Reef Hawaiian Pro continues to heat up the North Shore with the first-ever “World Miss Reef” competition, presented by Seven Tiki Rum. Miss Reef winners from around the globe will make their way to Ali’i Beach Park on November 13th at 4pm for a chance at $10,000 in cash prizes, and a shot at the first ever “World Miss Reef” Title.

Reef has one additional wildcard spot in the competition and potential contestants can submit entry consideration.

Fans at home will actually have the chance to cast their vote on the new Miss Reef.