Not Like This! With Bruce Irons
Words by Morgan Williamson We’d all like surfing to gain popularity through high performance, purism and lifestyle. But, it seems the only thing that connects with the mainstream is mad stunts, dirt bikes and sharks. Christ, have we become so bored? But, surfing’s bright light on Main Street’s a beacon of positivity. A sport that […]
Words by Morgan Williamson
We’d all like surfing to gain popularity through high performance, purism and lifestyle. But, it seems the only thing that connects with the mainstream is mad stunts, dirt bikes and sharks. Christ, have we become so bored? But, surfing’s bright light on Main Street’s a beacon of positivity. A sport that once had little money involved is gaining global recognition, for reasons we never could’ve predicted. Strange things are happening in this vehicle of surfing.
I asked Bruce Irons for his take on the currently piqued interest in saltwater. “You mean like Instagram?” Bruce laughs. That’s the overarching medium of it, huh? But my sights were set a little more specifically. Thinking back to one of the first things that shined new light on surfing; Laird Hamilton’s Hydro-foil board. Knowledge of surfing is irrelevant while watching Laird hover above 30 foot rolling hills of water. “I did that once, 12 years ago,” Bruce tells me. “It’s pretty cool, you’re either into it or not. I’m not. It’s one of those things that connects on TV… I’d just rather do other shit on a wave.”
Kai Lenny tail high on this SUP. Photo: Tom Servais
Conversation gravitates towards the SUP revolution. A surfboard that made any body of water accessible. Everywhere our heads swivel, they’re there. “Aw, the street sweepers?” Bruce asks. I’m a bit confused. “They’re like somebody walking down the street with a broom. Well, that Kai Lenny kid rips on them. Before I saw that clip of him, I didn’t know people could do that. I just imagined what he could do on a normal board. He’s probably insane. Certain people can do it, not everybody. I think it’s cool to take a chick out on the river with one, but they should be kept to that.”
What about Robbie Madison’s motorbike at Chopes stunt? “Give me that motorbike set up, I’ll pull in,” says Mr Irons. “If you’re going to go all out like that, fucking pull in! That’s what I say. Don’t get me wrong, the shit Robbie Madison does is mental. I’d like to see if I could pull into the west bowl. I think I could,” he concludes with utter conviction. Really think about how that’d look: Bruce, pulling into the Chopes west bowl on a dirt bike…
I ask Bruce about the WSL and Samsung biz. “I’m really impressed what they are doing for surfing,” he starts. “Their coverage with split screen and commentators is solid. It’s well deserved for surfing. Where the tour is now, compared to when I was on it is way different. Even those commercials… they give me chicken skin bro. Surfers deserve all the money they get and then some. Because if you fall and don’t come up, you’re dead. It’s simple.”
And, surfing making its way into the fashion world? “Fuck, why not?” Bruce laughs. “Let’s get some sponsors like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Chanel, Louie Vuitton. Let’s get surfing all the money it can. Bring it on!”
Here we are, down to the final most overtly publicised subject in surfing’s history; Mick and the shark. “It was only a matter of time before something like that happened,” says Bruce. “Every year at J-Bay there’s a shark thing, but if it’s not captured on video it’s like it never happened. When I saw Mick I’m sure I was the millionth person to ask him about it. It’s the worst and best thing to happen to the sport. It put more eyes on surfing than ever before. But Mick’s a badass three-time world champion! Don’t forget that. I heard Mick gave $75 grand to a kid he went to grammar school with that lost his arm – he didn’t even know him! That’s the shit I want to hear about, not the shark.”
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