Irons Silences Doubters With Win
When Andy Irons decided to take a year off from the highs and lows of the world surfing tour for personal reasons last year, many speculated that his best days were behind him.
The 32-year-old, in any case, has had a great career. Capped off by his three straight world titles from 2003 to ’05, it was at that point that the surfing gods were smiling upon the Hanalei resident, and it was even thought the grin wouldn’t go away, as if it were the rain up top Mount Waialeale.
During that run, Irons swooped up three Quiksilver Pro France titles in a row and garnered a total of 18 tour victories in his storied career.
Following those golden years, he would still make his mark in the water, taking home two straight Rip Curl Pro Search titles in 2006-’07.
Perhaps his greatest moment though, both in or out of the water, was his marriage to longtime girlfriend Lyndie Dupuis.
In 2008, Irons worked his way into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, Calif. This would be the last year he would surf full time on the tour.
Sitting out for most of the events meant he may have had to requalify on the tour, but Irons requested a wild-card entry for the 2010 Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour season.
His request was granted, as ASP president Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew gave Irons the nod to bypass the World Qualifying Series.
After early rough starts, coming up short in many of the first contests of the season, Irons’ best days did indeed appear to have been behind him. The doubters and surf pundits figured he had his time in the spotlight, and that he would never get back to the form that made him one of the best surfers in the world again.
Then, earlier this month, Irons quieted the skeptics and officially made his comeback to professional surfing with a win over C.J. Hobgood in the final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
His quest for the title wasn’t easy, as he had to overcome fellow world title holders Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater just to get to the final.
“I feel like I’m back,” Irons says. “I have to thank ASP for giving me the wild-card 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 favorite wave in the world, a very special win.”
A special win for a special surfer on his way back to the top, where he once stood.