Aussie charger Owen Wright is the recipient of the 2014 Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award. Commitment, passion, and raw courage were among the top criteria for picking the honoree.
"This feels amazing," Wright said. "I'm so honored to get this award. During the event, so many guys have really gone for it. ... I've watched Andy for so long, and I can't even imagine what he would be doing here today, but to receive this from peers, I'm psyched.
"I feel like [my fifth-place finish today] is 20-times better than my best result this year."
It's been nearly four years since professional surfing lost Andy Irons, one of the sport's heroes, who left his mark on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) and Teahupo'o. Each year when the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti concludes, one competitor is awarded a distinction in his honor, the Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award. The annual award was first created for the 2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti, following Irons's death the previous Fall.
Irons joined the elite ASP World Tour in 1998. Over the course of his career, he collected 20 elite Tour victories, four Triple Crown of Surfing titles, and three consecutive ASP World Titles. In addition, he claimed two Billabong Pro Tahiti titles, the last in 2010, just months before he passed away.
But Irons's stamp on Tahiti had little to do with his record and everything to do with his fearless approach to the infamous break. His performances at Teahupo'o were groundbreaking and his commitment unparalleled. Tahiti hosted his first event win and the last man-on-man heat he would share with his biggest rival, Kelly Slater (USA).
The A.I. Most Committed Performance Award honors this spirit and approach to competition during the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Current WCT competitor Jeremy Flores (FRA) won the inaugural award, followed by Ricardo dos Santos of Brazil in 2012, and John John Florence (HAW) in 2013. The 2014 winner will be picked by a panel that includes Martin Potter, Ross Williams, Mark Occhilupo, Strider Wasilewski and ASP Commissioner Kieren Perrow.
Catch all the action from the event with an online DVR of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.