Lowers (Sept. 8 2002) – Shane Beschen defeated current WCT #1 ranked Andy Irons in a heat that will go down in California pro surfing history as the most progressive and aggressive ever surfed. These two surfers displayed the type of no-holds barred surfing action that competitive surfing strives to achieve. “Heat” is an appropriate term because the surfing was friggin’ red-hot.
“It was one of those heat where I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and that’s the way I approached it,” said the validated Beschen. “Last year was the toughest year of my career. I failed to qualify for the ‘CT. My sponsors dropped me. I wanted to prove that I belong out here and beating the current #1 surfer is good way to prove that my career isn’t over, it’s just getting started.”
It all started with major league paddle hassling as each surfer scrambled furiously for wave priority as the starting horn sounded. The initial paddle dual resulted in Beschen pushing Irons to far resulting in a wipeout for Irons. The spectators sensed the aggression, and the attentiveness of the crowd was immediately heightened. This was no “bro exchange.” There were no “hey, can you believe they’re paying us to surf” high fives. No sir. Tension filled the air.
Moments later a solid set wave rolled toward Beschen, who maintained priority, and the Lowers local toyed with the long right all the way through the inside. He unleashed a fast, furious and powerful combo of stylish moves. More than once Beschen’s tail came unglued, drifting through the last moments of his cutty-gouges.
Not to be outdone, Irons grabbed the next solid wave and busted a unique heel side aerial-he pushed his nose upward and landed fin first in the top portion of the white water. He landed in front of Beschen, giving notice to the sprite regular foot that he wasn’t backing down.
“What, you want some?” Was the message Irons’ aerial sent. It was friggin ON!
These two surfers were creating history. The first exchange really heightened the crowd’s excitement. The San Clemente crowd is a highly knowledgeable one. They understand competitive surfing better than most. Everyone realized they were watching something special– from the PA announcers, to the working media, to the graying tattooed Lowers locals.
Beschen, feeling perhaps like he’d been shown up at his home break-and in front of his home crowd no less-grabbed the next set wave and launched a clean and prodigious aerial (in clear view of Irons) and landed with a white water coping slide, drifting for about six-feet. The crowd cheered loudly. The announcers were giddy.
Needing a high score (as usual–7.2s aren’t gonna cut it), Irons sat with priority for awhile. A set wave came to him. Not a big set wave, just a set wave. Irons took off, ripped it like black bear trying to get into a Krispy Cremes box, and kicked out. They judges gave him a 9.25. Push push. Out the back Beschen was in prime position for a big set wave. He ripped with the same type of vigor, but he added an aerial. The judges gave Beschen an 8.45. Underscored, but enough to move into first place for good. -Scott Bass
The rest of the morning action went as follows:
- Heat 1: Damian Hobgood defeated Shane Dorian
- H2: Paul Canning defeated Cory Lopez
- H3: Kelly Slater defeated Kieran Perrow (last seconds no less)
- H4: Darren O’Rafferty defeated Mick Lowe
- H5:Joel Parkinson defeated Beau Emerton
- H6: I’m not sure. I thing Luke Egan won.
- H7: Taylor Knox defeated Jake Paterson
For official results, including the afternoon heats, please go to aspworldtour.com.
For high quality action photos of Sunday morning heats click here.
Action Continues Monday Morning.