Stab Magazine | Bruce's exhibition heat and a tow-sesh webcast (Probably)
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Bruce’s exhibition heat and a tow-sesh webcast (Probably)

What happens if it gets too big? Dave Prodan, ASP Intl Media Director, exhales before answering: “That’s a real possibility on Saturday. It’s supposed to be huge. We might be kinda forced to assess conditions, and see what the competitors wanna do.” How big, exactly? “I’ve been hearing rumours that it’s gonna be bigger than […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What happens if it gets too big? Dave Prodan, ASP Intl Media Director, exhales before answering: “That’s a real possibility on Saturday. It’s supposed to be huge. We might be kinda forced to assess conditions, and see what the competitors wanna do.” How big, exactly? “I’ve been hearing rumours that it’s gonna be bigger than the Laird swell of ’00. And at that point, I think everyone’s in agreement that it’s too big to paddle.”

The 2011 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, is currently faced with the probability of a swell at Chopes that’ll be too big for the contest – a welcome problem that hasn’t been present at the event for, like, 10 years now. It’s gonna be so big that, on Saturday, Billabong will be webcasting the session live, regardless of whether the contest is on or not. That’s, like, a live webcast of a tow-in session – no contest singlets. Y’can call that a step in the right direction. “It’ll be a really good chance for the whole world to see what this place is like when it’s too big to paddle,” says Dave. “And also to see which members of the top 34 will take a crack at it, if they can find a rope and a driver. So it’s a cool scenario.”

And that’s not the only thing y’got to look forward to. Stab has just been told be the ASP that Bruce Irons will surf an exhibition heat.

Whether or not you concern yourself with such things, there’s been some heated discussion recently about whether or not Bruce should be in the Chopes event as a wildcard. Most just wanna see Bruce surfing big Chopes, defending his bro Andy’s title (Andy won last year). But, it’s kinda impossible to just slot Bruce in, as wildcards are taken by the winner of the trials (which Bruce was knocked out of in second round) and the highest-placing Tahitian (which Hawaiian-born Bruce certainly ain’t).

“Billabong offered and Bruce accepted,” says Dave. “So, conditions permitting, they’re gonna do it between the semis and the final. It hasn’t yet been set whether it’ll be an hour or half hour, they’ll figure it out on the day. Most likely on one of Andy’s boards, as he rode one in the trials. The forecasts say there’ll be plenty of waves so hopefully he gets a good crack at it. And it’s up to him, who he wants to go out and surf it with him. It should be pretty exciting, and a cool gesture.”

Maybe this is better than Bruce in the contest. What if he got knocked early? What if his opponents were awkward? “Let’s not kid ourselves,” says Dave. “I’d say Andy was universally loved by everyone on tour, and it’d be hard to hassle Bruce, if he were in your heat, for a wave, because of that. I think this way it’s a bit more pure, and a bit more fitting.”

But, honestly, would this be happening if it weren’t for the furious #putBruceinChopes campaign? “I mean, the public discussion’s really good for sure,” says Dave. “it was kinda the perfect storm, but like I said, everyone at Billabong and ASP wanna see something like this happen, and have wanted to see it for a while. And I know Billabong’s been talking with Bruce and the Irons’ family for a while now, about doing something like this.” – Elliot Struck

So, for those who won’t read all the above and just want the meat (and there’ll be plenty of you), here’s what y’should be looking forward to:

A Bruce Irons exhibition heat, between semis and final on the last day of competition.

– Live webcast of a (probable) tow-session on Saturday (Tahitian time).

– A possible swell size reminiscent of that ’00 session, when Laird Hamilton caught the wave.

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