Stab Magazine | ASP Responses to #putBruceinChopes
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ASP Responses to #putBruceinChopes

As y’may well have heard, or seen, there’s been a lot of talk about putting Bruce Irons in the Billabong Pro, Teahupo’o. On the one hand, y’got those who wanna see Bruce in the event. Jamie O’Brien’s Twitter account (which, most definitely, ain’t actually written by Jamie), is the loudest voice, with constant Tweets like: […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

As y’may well have heard, or seen, there’s been a lot of talk about putting Bruce Irons in the Billabong Pro, Teahupo’o. On the one hand, y’got those who wanna see Bruce in the event. Jamie O’Brien’s Twitter account (which, most definitely, ain’t actually written by Jamie), is the loudest voice, with constant Tweets like:

JOB

Kell Slater’s thrown his hat in the ring, too:

Kell

But then, as he often does, kinda hit the nail on the head:

Kell2

Yesterday, when Stab spoke with Dusty Payne, he said: “I think we all think he should be in there, f’sure. He’s the best backside tuberider in the world. He’s the best tuberider in the world, period. It only makes sense for him to be in there. His brother won the event last year, qualified for tour this year, which is a spot, y’know? I think an exception should’ve been made by the ASP to let him in the event.”

So there’s that. And then, y’got the ASP’s point of view. “ASP would love to have Bruce in the Billabong Pro, Tahiti,” ASP Intl CEO Brodie Carr told Stab. “Unfortunately, we cannot change the event format to allow an extra person to compete and ASP has already allocated our spots to the top 34 in the world. We hope to see Bruce at Pipe and possibly Fiji in 2012.”

Dave Prodan, Intl Media Director of the ASP, expanded: “There’s certainly been rumblings about Bruce getting into the event here in Tahiti the past couple of days, and this doesn’t surprise me one iota. He’s universally regarded as one of the best tube-riders on the planet and is incredibly popular. Combine that with one of the best swell periods ever to be on the charts for Teahupo’o (event or not) and you have the recipe for plenty of discussion. It’s unfortunate that this discussion only seemed to take place less than 10 hours before the event started, as at that point, there’s nothing either ASP nor Billabong can do.

“As with all ASP World Title events, the 36-man field is comprised of the ASP Top 34 as well as two event wildcards. In the case of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, in order for them to run the event, they have an agreement with the local surfing federation to allow one Tahitian surfer in the event. This Tahitian wildcard as well as the other, as it has been for years, is decided with the Air Tahiti Von Zipper Trials. In the Trials, Bruce went down to Anthony Walsh in Round 2, who ended up going down to eventual winner Ricardo dos Santos. Santos, along with the highest-placing Tahitian Heiarii Williams (who finished second), were awarded the final two wildcard positions.”

For the duration of the event, Bruce is staying at Chopes with Dusty, Occy, Cory Lopez and Joel Parkinson. Yesterday, Parko posted on his blog a short discussion he had with Bruce.

Bruce: Okay… What is it that people want to hear about Joel? Something nobody has asked you. Joel, what makes your strategy this year different to every other year?

Joel: Are you kidding me? I’ve been asked that question 20 million times already.

Bruce: You’re building the A-frame, that’s what – fit as fuck. Less is more, more is less.

Joel: Bruce has kicked me out of our friendship, apparently, Adriano is his boy now. He went on a boat trip with Adriano for two weeks and now he’s brushed me. We had a lifelong deal going and he’s brushed me for Adriano.

Bruce: Hey, I came here to Tahiti just to hang out with you. I only came here because you phoned me and asked me to come. You’re still on my team. And you know, the reason Joel’s doing really good is the positive life forces coming out him. I can feel it, brah. Something good’s going to happen here real soon.

After riding one of Andy’s boards in the trials (pictured top) and losing his second round, Bruce said:

“I haven’t been to Tahit for a few years. Y’know, it’s just nice to be out here. It’s the first surf I’ve had in a while, it feels nice. I’ve been coming here to Tahiti since I was, like, 15. It’s a good spot, it has a special place in my heart. I came here to surf this contest, cause my brother would want me to do that, so … competing for me is all about having fun these days. Whether I win or lose is another thing, it’s no longer the end of the world. I just try to have fun. That’s what it’s all about.”

Outta anyone, Bruce kinda seems the least phased. What d’you reckon? As one Stab commentator suggested (and we can’t help but agree with this), how ’bout an exhibition heat? Bruce, on Andy’s board, in between the second semi and the final at the height of the swell? Now, that’d be something.

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