the inertia
(Wednesday) 12.16.15

Why Bruce Irons Should Stop Competing Right Now

Bruce Irons, midway through his round 2 exit. Bruce Irons, midway through his round 2 exit. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Bruce Irons is a legend. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest surfers of all time. In both his free surfing and his contest surfing, Bruce has proven that he stands nose to nose with the best of the best–but he needs to stop competing.

Not because he can’t compete with the best anymore, but because, more than anyone else, Bruce needs waves that match his surfing. His surfing is huge and powerful, like a runaway freight train teetering dangerously on the brink of disaster. The “world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves” tagline is bullshit–at least the last half, anyway.

When Bruce Irons lost to Filipe Toledo in the second round of the Billabong Pipeline Masters, it was fair. Toledo won that heat fair and square. Had it been true Pipeline, though, I’m not sure that Toledo would have stood a chance. That’s not to say that Toledo doesn’t hold his own when it comes to tube-riding, it’s just to say that there are only a few people in the world that know Pipe like Bruce knows Pipe. I’d wager that Toledo would agree.

Surfing competitively is much more than just surfing. It’s playing the game; using your available resources to get the highest rating possible. It’s heat savvy, it’s mind games, and it’s the ability to stay focused on one singular goal for the whole season. Bruce fans want to see Bruce performing like we know he can, which is why whenever he gets a wildcard, it’s an exciting thing. But that wildcard only works out for Bruce when it’s pumping. Putting him in sub-par waves is like putting a Ferrari on a go-kart track: sure, you know it can haul ass, but there’s just not enough track to do it on. Bruce is made for hair-straight-back surfing; for massive tubes, huge hacks, gigantic throw away airs, and the heaviest of drops. He’s not made for seemingly endless painful minutes of webcast drudgery.

Bruce needs the best waves in the world to be one of the best surfers in the world, and there will never be a year where every heat of every event has big, perfect waves. That’s part of the beauty of surfing, after all: Mother Nature doesn’t give a shit about who’s in which heat.

Bruce Irons is at an exciting time in his life right now. It seems, at least from an outsiders’ perspective, that he’s shaken off the cobwebs, started to sort his life out, and is surfing at a level that we’ve been waiting for him to return to. His story is turning into a phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes tale, but if he keeps trying his luck with events, that flame might just fade out, guttering like an old candle. And Bruce is a raging bonfire. He needs the right fuel to keep it going.


This article is published on solspot.com via our partner: The Inertia

View the original article on The Inertia

  • BG Davis

    Thanks for pointing out what many people miss: the fact that surf contests are subjective, and the winner in today’s waves might have gotten bombed out if the contest had been held a day later. Different styles and mindsets require different conditions. Maybe at the end of the year–or over the course of a career–it all evens out, but it will always be a weakness of commercialized surf competitions. Much better if people would just surf; everyone knows who rode the wave they rode and how they rode it. The rest is just for commercialism.

  • Mitch

    I think you guys need to watch The Bruce Movie again and take note of the insane surfing that he displays in various conditions. I think his loss to Toledo was more of a mindset problem rather than a conditions problem. He didn’t WANT to surf the way he needed to, to win that heat, but he damn sure has it in his bag of tricks.

    I would love to see someone like his new found sponsor at RVCA put him on the qualifying tour so that he could attempt to uphold his families epic competitive history. No idea if that is anything he is interested in but honestly I would love to see him battling Fanning and Slates like the good old days. Its saddening to me how many of the top level Hawaiians have gone the way of the free surfer/pipe specialist.

    Just my opionion.

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