Hawaiian Andy Irons clinched his third consecutive world title yesterday, during the Nova Schin Festival 2004 in Brazil, second last event on the World Championship Tour of Surfing (WCT), organised by the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals)

  Andy Irons  
Following the elimination of contender Joel Parkinson (AUS) in round three of the Nova Schin Festival 2004, the Kauaianís massive ratings lead became untouchable.

Good 4-5ft (1.5m) right and lefthand peaks were again on offer at Praia da Vila. A beautiful sunny day greeted thousands of spectators who lined the beach.

Andy Irons began the day by avenging his round one loss to local wildcard Raphael Becker (BRA). The 26-year-old was in blistering form, posting a brilliant 9.1 score for a critical backhand re-entry and huge airdrop floater to advance. Then the waiting game intensified, as Parkinsonís third round heat neared. None expected the current ratings runner-up to lose against Brazilian wildcard Tanio Barreto, but all eyes remained on Andy as the heat unfolded, and ultimately captured his emotions as the 2004 world title was sealed.

Having won two WCT events this year (in South Africa and more recently France) combined with two runner-ups and another three semifinal berths, Ironsí incredible consistency paid huge dividends today. Only the third male surfer to win three consecutive ASP world titles, he joins an illustrious group including four-time winner Mark Richards (AUS) and six-time champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA).

Following Andyís world title presentation and local media conference, he paddled out against Tom Whitaker (AUS) for their round four clash. The Kauaian initially led, but after his opponent posted the heatís best 7.5 score, virtually nothing else broke and the current ratings #26 Tom Whitaker became the first to beat Andy Irons, the newly crowned champ.

Upon returning to the beach, Ironsí was showered in beer by Parkinson and fellow Australian Nathan Hedge. Uncharacteristically happy despite the loss, he acknowledged his mind was elsewhere and ready to celebrate.

Text: Press Release
  pic ASP, www.billabong.com  
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