Jake Paterson followed Andy Irons' perfect-10 ride by scoring an 8.57, good enough to beat Irons by 0.47 at Sunset Beach.

‘Snake’ bites
Slater, Irons

Jake Paterson wins the
Rip Curl Cup to take the
Triple Crown standings lead

A showdown between Kelly Slater and Andy Irons never materialized at the Rip Curl Cup. The top two surfers in the world and the rest of the competitors at the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing fell victim to the bite of The Snake.

Australia's Jake "The Snake" Paterson, on the final day of competition yesterday, slithered his way through the hype surrounding Irons and Slater. In fact, the 30-year-old from Yallingup knocked both of them off for his first Rip Curl win and second career Triple Crown event title.

The only surfer to have made the finals at the first two series stops this year, Paterson picked up $30,000 for yesterday's victory and leads the Triple Crown standings at 2,076 total points with one event remaining.

"Competing is the most thrilling thing in the world for me," said Paterson, who moved up to No. 9 in the world rankings and added his name alongside his brother Paul's on the Rip Curl trophy (Paul Paterson won in 1996). "Any final in Hawaii is like a dream, and two in a row is just incredible. I had to perform, and I performed over the moon -- I can't believe it."

Paterson celebrated yesterday after winning the Rip Curl Cup, his second career Triple Crown event title.

In the extremely challenging waves with 12- to 20-foot faces at Sunset Beach, Paterson caught seven total waves and scored the win with 17.64 points (out of 20) for his best two rides in the 30-minute, four-man Rip Curl final.

His first tally, a 9.07, came on his third wave of the heat, on which he managed no fewer than five massive rail-to-rail carves during the single ride. He delivered his second, an 8.57, on his fifth wave, again after executing multiple carving maneuvers.

"Someone's got to win at the end of the day -- that's my motto," Paterson said. "I just stayed focused."

Defending world champion and current No. 2 Irons made the final as well, but had to settle for second place with 17.17 points. Irons scored the only perfect 10 of the entire contest for a double-barrel ride on the wave just before Paterson's final score, but still lost by .47 after managing only a 7.17 for his second tally.

Former Rip Curl winner Shane Dorian of Hawaii finished in third with 14.30, and world No. 3 Taj Burrow of Australia fourth with 7.60.

"I've never been so sore in my life," Irons said after the heat. "I'm just one big cramp. ... It's pretty hard to get a 10 and lose, but Snake (almost) had two 9s, so ... I'm still stoked to get second."

Kauai's Irons had a successful contest, as his result managed to close the gap between him and top-ranked Slater of Florida from nearly 650 points to just 96 (8,340 to 8,244), with only the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters (Dec. 8-20) remaining in this year's Triple Crown and World Championship Tour.

Slater, who lost to Paterson in the third round earlier in the day, is a record six-time world title winner. But Irons happens to be the defending Triple Crown as well as world champ, and also the defending Xbox champ.

If Irons wins the Xbox he takes the world title; and if Slater wins he becomes a world champ for a seventh time.

But don't forget Paterson, either.

Paterson has plenty of reason to remain on top of his game with a Triple Crown title in sight. And, as he did yesterday, he could continue to figure prominently in the world title race even though Slater and Irons are the only surfers still in contention.


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