“It could’ve been a clown car show in there,” says Tahitian photog Domenic Mosqueira, who shot the cover of Stab issue 56, which features Bruce Irons sitting in a crystal Teahupoo cave, eyes covered by a blindfold. “It’s really something to see someone that knowledgeable ride a wave, to see his hand in the face, reading it as if it was Braille. It was amazing to watch and it was ballsy. No doubt about it. The barrels were nice and round. The swell had a lot of west to it. They weren’t easy to get into.”
The reason that Dom, Stab, a blindfolded Bruce Irons, Cali photog Morgan Maassen and Oz cinematographer Chris Bryan were at Chopes under such circumstances, stemmed from a question Stab wished dearly to answer: Can a man, keenly-versed in pushing through tunnels with back to wall, do that very dance without the use of his eyeballs? With only his instinct to guide him? Over the course of a more-solid-than-it-looked session at Chopes, we found out that the answer, for Bruce Irons, is yes!
Bruce’d paddle into the wave with the blindfold up then pull it down as he rode down the face. One wave, he was glued inside for three seconds before having his blindfold blown off him by the spit.
Says Bruce: “I’ve tried to close my eyes in the barrel before, just messing around, but, with those pantie things on my head, it was weird. My eyes were open but all I saw was black. But, if you grew up surfing, you can call on that instinct you’ve built. You can feel how close you are to the wave face. The thing is, the best barrels you get, the deepest ones, you don’t know what you’re doing ‘cause it’s black in there and you’re riding the foamball like a rodeo.”
Instinct didn’t ride solo, though – Brucey’s grit was also a key player. A rockstar til the end, howevs, Bruce held back on nothing (check his banged-up wrist for evidence). The concept also dilated into a how-to, of sorts, with professor Bruce schooling Stab(and you!) on The Plain Truth About The Somewhat Mystical Art of Backside Tuberiding. Go get Stab ish #56 for a definitive guide to pig-dogging, out this instant.
Film by Chris Bryan
Stills by Morgan Maassen and Domenic Mosqueira
Surf forecasting by Magic Seaweed
Blindfolds by Sam Elsom
Underwear by Tweeds
Clip by Shinya Dalby