With less than a minute to go, the world title was still on the line. After a see-sawing final, Andy outmuscled Kelly for a right, had to backdoor the Backdoor, and came through a five second tube for a ten.
His win – and Kelly’s relegation to fourth – meant he had the world title. On the buzzer, a ten point ride, beating Kelly, a world title, surfing had never reached this level of last minute fever pitch excitement.
While Corey Lopez and Rob Machado were in the four man final, it was all about Kelly vs. Andy.
Andy had won the 2002 world title convincingly, but 2003 had seen Kelly come back strong.
Their rivalry was at its peak. It was the only time in Kelly’s 20 year career that another surfer had the measure of him.
What they said…
“Kelly knows how I feel about him. Despite all the media hype that comes out of a rivalry there’s a lot of respect given both ways.” – Andy Irons
What are the chances of this happening again?
The sad loss of Andy Irons means Pipeline will never be graced by one of its greats. However, as 2012 and 2013 showed, there is nothing quite like when a world title race goes down at Pipe. Fingers crossed we’ll see the same levels of drama in the coming weeks.