Rip Curl Pro

12 Apr 2007 0 Share

Rip Curl Pro: Taj Burrow claims his first Bells Beach victory with a Foster's

Rip Curl Pro: Taj Burrow claims his first Bells Beach victory with a Foster's

Taj Burrow (AUS) is elated that his name will be etched alongside the who’s who of professional surfing after eliminating Andy Irons (HAW) in the 35th Annual Rip Curl Pro presented by Snickers at Bells Beach today.

“It just feels too good to be true, I’m just so happy,” Burrow said. “This is my pick of any contest that I would like to win, so it just feels unbelievable. I’m so happy to get my name on the trophy with all of the other guys’ that have won the event. I’ve put a bit more work into this year so it’s good that I’m seeing some results.”

Burrow came from behind to beat Irons with just two minutes left on the clock when he scored a 9.00 point ride in the dying minutes of the heat.

“I knew I had to ride it well because it was such a good wave,” Burrow said. “I was trying not to think about finishing the wave and everything around me or how many people were watching and how much pressure was on me. I just rode the thing to the end. Halfway through it I knew I had the score so I just started thrashing it around a little more and trying to put more into each of my turns. I just had that feeling where I went ‘Yes, I just nailed it!’ in the last few seconds and it felt unbelievable.”

Burrow featured in the Rip Curl Pro final in 2004, but finished runner-up to Joel Parkinson (AUS). He hasn’t won a Foster’s ASP World Tour victory since winning in Brazil in 2004.

“It feels unreal just to ring that thing finally,” Burrow said. “Having rung the little one, the big one’s a lot louder.”

Burrow now sits equal 1st with Mick Fanning (AUS) on the Foster’s ASP World Tour ratings with a win and a 3rd place result each. Both Australians are out to earn their maiden world titles in 2007.

“It’s early days and there are a lot of hungry guys out there for it, but I’m just stoked to have such a good start to the year,” Burrow said. “It’s unreal, it feels like a little changing of the guards, so I’m stoked to be a part of it.”

Irons, who was the Rip Curl Pro Champion in 2002 and 2003 as well as runner-up to Trent Munro (AUS) in 2005, led for much of the final, but without a solid scoreline to buffer Burrow’s charge, was left defenseless and unable to answer back in the dying seconds of the heat.

“You never have it in the bag, especially in a final with a guy like Taj,” Irons said. “I knew there was another set coming in, I just wasn’t sure if it was a good one. There were two waves in my set but I don’t think that I would have got a 9.00 on my wave. I think Taj surfed well and smart in the end so he nailed it.”

The three-time world champion’s Rip Curl Pro Final berth was especially important after finishing last in the first event of the year on the Gold Coast. Despite finishing second today, Irons was pleased to share the podium and Bell ringing responsibilities with Burrow.

“I’m stoked for him,” Irons said. “I’ve got two runner-ups and two wins at Bells and that’s not bad. Everyone writes you off as soon you I get a bad result so it feels good to show that I am still here and I’m not going anywhere.”

Irons, who is chasing his fourth world title this year was first to acknowledge that the Australians, Burrow and Fanning in particular, are anxious to make a charge.

“They’re hungry, they’re really hungry,” Irons said. “The last Aussie world champ was Occy in ‘99 so I’m sure that they are definitely going to have a big push this year. They’ve have always been up there, it is just a matter of putting the whole year together. There’s only been two events so will see how they do when it comes to the 10th event.”

Irons eliminated Fanning, who won the Rip Curl Pro as a wildcard in 2001, in the Semifinals. Fanning’s Round 3 wave and heat totals were the highest of the event.

“In the bigger picture a 1st and a 3rd for the first two events of the year is pretty good – I’m pretty happy with that,” Fanning said. “I really wanted to make that final and ring another Bell but Andy got that one 9.00 and sort of put m

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