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If pro surfers had any doubts that they had the best job in the world they were put to rest in Mex­ico in 2006. Rip Curl’s in­no­va­tive WCT Search con­cept had al­ready taken the tour to Re­union Is­land in 2005, but at a sand-bot­tom, right hand point in the state of Oax­aca, Mex­ico they re­ally struck gold.

The set-up at Barra De La Cruz al­ways had the po­ten­tial to pro­duce world-class waves but the tour’s ar­rival just hap­pened to co­in­cide with a per­fect con­flu­ence of sand, wind and swell. Cue a triple bar­rel tea party with the world’s best grin­gos spend­ing most of their time in the green room.

The pro surf­ing fra­ter­nity are some­times re­luc­tant to call per­fec­tion, lest they per­form a crime against the credo of cool and seem too en­thu­si­as­tic. How­ever, at this event there was no short­age of su­perla­tives tossed around. “These are the best waves I’ve ever surfed,” sug­gested Taj Bur­row. “It’s a bet­ter wave than Snap­per in my opin­ion,” com­mented Kelly Slater au­thor­i­ta­tively. How­ever, per­haps the best sum­ma­tion came from even­tual event win­ner Andy Irons.

“What I saw over the last week was just mind-blow­ing,” stated Andy. “It was like Teahupoo on the top, into like first groin Kirra back in the day.”

Iron­i­cally (no pun in­tended) af­ter an event de­fined by the tube, Irons lofted to vic­tory with a gi­ant, frontside slob grab. It was pure, punk-rock Andy Irons – de­mand­ing our at­ten­tion with a ball-tear­ing riff when most were play­ing a clas­sic tune. Mean­while, in terms of waves at least, the event is re­mem­bered as ar­guably the best in ASP his­tory.

Al­though there hasn’t been a Rip Curl Search con­test since the 2011 San Fran­cisco event (re­mem­ber when Kelly was pre­ma­turely awarded with the world ti­tle), Rip Curl HQ sug­gest that the con­cept is far from dead and buried and may make a re­turn to the WCT in the fu­ture. Let’s hope so, as there is lit­tle doubt that an an­nual mys­tery event adds an­other ex­cit­ing di­men­sion to the world tour.

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