Andy Irons managed to avoid the great white sharks loitering less than two miles away.
He also plucked a 9.17 score out of the small, uncooperative surf Saturday morning at the Boost Mobile Pro.
But Irons couldn't slip past one final combatant -- his younger brother.
The defending world champion was knocked out of the competition by Bruce Irons, four years younger but 0.33 points better than his brother in a head-to-head duel Saturday in the third round at Lower Trestles in San Clemente.
Andy Irons couldn't follow up his 9.17 ride with anything of significance, while Bruce Irons, 21, was steadier with scoring rides of 7.83 and 7.67 for a 15.5 total at the only Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour event on the U.S. mainland.
A year ago, big brother defeated little brother at Lower Trestles. Not so on Saturday.
"I just wanted to beat him because he beat me last year," Bruce Irons said.
Andy Irons' early exit tightened the race for the top spot in the world standings. Kelly Slater, currently No. 2 behind Irons, advanced to the round of 16 at Lower Trestles with a third-round score of 16.04 in his heat against Luke Stedman.