Stab Magazine | The Best Of Bruce

The Best Of Bruce

ow’s this? Bruce Irons doesn’t count scoring the final section in Campaign as one of the peak moments of his life. “It was cool of Taylor but I didn’t really buy into it. I didn’t think it was good enough,” says the 27-year-old coolly, perhaps even a little embarrassed. So what does it take to make […]

style // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 9 minutes

ow’s this? Bruce Irons doesn’t count scoring the final section in Campaign as one of the peak moments of his life. “It was cool of Taylor but I didn’t really buy into it. I didn’t think it was good enough,” says the 27-year-old coolly, perhaps even a little embarrassed.

So what does it take to make an indent in the soul of the world’s coolest surfer? Kisses behind the school, getting wire ripped out of his head and winning the greatest contest in the world, if you wanna know…

First Wave
With a platinum blond wig, pencil limbs and a face that’s 90 percent teeth, a puny Bruce Irons catches the first stand-up wave of his life age four. “Standing up riding a wave felt so cool I knew I wanted to do it forever,” says BI. Amen to that.

2First Barrel
Bruce says he honed his tube skills pulling into hundreds of closeouts on a sponge. “But my first barrel standing up, even though I didn’t make it, felt so much faster and better I knew I could never go back to my boogie ever again. Imagine if I did? That would have been lame.”

3First 360
Age 10, Brucey pulls off the first 360 of his life at a local break 9 called Pine Trees. As it happens, young Quik dude Richard Woolcott spies the kid blast his futuristic move and beelines for his ride to grab a handful of team stickers. Says Bruce: “He was like ‘Hey, you wanna get sponsored by Quiksilver?’ And I was like ‘Yeah.’ So we went over to his car and he gave me a way too big t-shirt and a pair of shorts that were like a circus tent but I was so psyched. It’s weird that he’s always sponsored me from that day through ! to Volcom (which Woolly started). In a way, that one turn hooked me up! pretty good.”

4Meeting Archy Most haole pro surfers would rather take their chances locked in a  cage with six Saudi  jihadists than risk a surf trip to the I notoriously localised island of Kauai. Thus miniscule gremlin Brucey damn near sprayed his tweeds brown when San Clemente radder Matt Archbold rocked up for a wave at Pineys. “He was surfing the shittiest waves and I remember going, Whoa! how the fuck I did he do that shit? He was the first big name I’d seen in real life and that i day I was in awe of the guy.”

5Not Quitting School
Living on Kauai and learning about Shakespeare? Can you really blame Pierre (BI’s middle name) for wanting out after nearly flunking eighth grade ! Science and English? “Man, I came I home one day and I was like, That’s it I I quit! Only problem I was 14 and my parents basically wouldn’t let me. Now it’s cool because at least I can say I graduated.”

One of the best days ever “Oh, it was fucking so good,” drools Bruce. “Knowing I was I never ever ever gonna have to do that shit again and I could wake up every morning for the rest of my life knowing ; I didn’t have to go to school. I could just surf.”

7Locking Lips
Even a face full of steel couldn’t rob Brucey of this Kevin Arnold/Winnie Cooper moment. “I think it was Valentines Day and I got my girlfriend a little present and she took me behind the school and kissed I me. It was kinda funny and a little I embarrassing. I was really shy but I liked it. Yeah, it was a good day.”

8Braces come off
Bent pegs meant a wire grill for the young BI who refused to part ^P his lips in advertising i promo shoots for two-and-a-half years. “The day they came off I was ! like, YES! I’M FUCKING BACK! Those things are like a little hand brake you have on. You know what sucks most though? They fucking work. I mean, I don’t even wear my retainer and my teeth have stayed good.”

First surf at Pipe
He can’t recall his age but Bruce knew he’d found a new home once  clearing the shoreys at Pipe. “Ever since I can remember, surfing Pipeline was all I ever wanted i to do. My first time out there I sat out on the shoulder…. waaaaaaaaay out on the shoulder just to watch it. It was one of those glassy big days and Johnny Boy and Liam were ruling it. I was looking at the wave going FUUUUUUUUUUCK! I just never i imagined that one day I’d be on the peak in the thick of it getting sets. Now it’s dream come true.”

10Runner-up 98 Pipe Masters
By the time he hit 17, Bruce was sporting the kind of rig that even coffee-coated brothers like Usher and Fiddy could admire. His rep at Pipe was also gaining momentum and when he took out the A-list Pipe trials in 12-to- 15-foot caves, the top 44 started shitting ! bullets. “Truthfully, I was feeling a little overwhelmed,” admits BI. “The waves that year were perfect, I’d I won the trials, I kept getting through heats and suddenly I’m in the final and in the lead with five seconds to go. I was coming in claiming it, just thinking: Holy shit this is too good to be true, and as it turned out I was right ! (laughs). Snake got me.”

Winning the Pipe Masters
It’s fitting that Bruce Irons happened to fulfill what many considered his destiny in a year when the Pipe Masters had been stripped of its WCT status. Invitees only, the field was void of gutless flotsam as the specialists traded hole time in an epic 10-to-12-foot battle. At the end of the day, it was our boy who raised the porcelain on the victory dais. “That win was incredible especially after what had happened with Snake. I didn’t I know if I’d ever get that close again but having almost touched it and wanting it so bad and finally getting it – fuck, it was the best feeling ever.”

12Volcom Score the Pipe House
It used to be  Gerry Lopez’s crib, but in 2001 I it became home to a pack of wolves who quickly took licences as the guardians/regulators of the famous line-up out front. In other words, there were some new sheriffs in town. Bruce remembers: “That was a day that I changed surfing on the North Shore” because when Volcom got the Pipe house it was a foot in the door for all the boys. Before that, we used to hang down at Velzyland and stay at Braden Dias house I remember when we I were all moving in there for the winter and everyone was like: HOLY SHIT WE GOT A HOUSE RIGHTIN FRONT OF PIPELINE! It was retarded. A few years later, Volcom bought it so now we got that house forever.”

1321st birthday
Bruce + 21st Birthday + Pipe House = Biggest fricken party ever. “I’ve had a lot of big birthday party’s at the Volcom house over the years but my 21st was easily the biggest party we’ve ever had there. TSOL, this legendary punk band from way back, played and I think there was more people there than any other day in Pipe house history.”

14Winning the Eddie
“By far the greatest surfing day in my life was winning the Eddie contest at Waimea. Making the tour was onething, I was psyched, but winning the Eddie Aikau man, I tell ya…. (pause). I mean, I never even thought I’d get in it but to win it… Every time I lookat that huge trophy I got at home I’m reminded of the best day in my life. Who would have -thought that pulling into a shorebreak closeout would be that big of a deal? But I think that may have given me my perfect score and actually won me the contest.” And that’s saying nothing of the US$50,000 winners cheque.

15When the folks quit their old jobs to run Irons Inc
Simply by ‘ encouraging and supporting their offspring, Phil and Danielle Irons unwittingly made the best career love of their lives. Twenty years later, both work full time to keep the lads frothin and Irons Inc rolling in green. “Dad was a carpenter forever and he was doing a lot of hard labour and my mum was always going here and there and working in shops and stuff. So to have them run our business is really cool.” The most satisfying day for Bruce? “The day I won a car and gave it to my mum. That felt really good.”

16Quik Pro Final, France.
When Bruce took Kelly Slater’s pretty little picture and crushed it in the semi finals of the Quik Pro France, it suddenly dawned on everyone that an all-Irons final had been locked in. Never had the brothers faced off in this sort of arena and the 10-foot offshore swells provided the perfect setting. Bruce concedes: “There’s no way I surfed that heat to full potential. I was kind of burnt out and I could have pushed it a lot harder. A couple of times I fucking lost priority and Andy got the real good ones. It was a dream for both of us but his dream finished a lot better than mine.”

17Beating Andy, Fiji
Nobody knows better than Bruce that big bro has got himself a temper. When Brucey nailed AI to the wall in their heat at Restaurants, diva-like tanty’s ensued. “I had a 10 and a 9 or something and Andy just started dropping in on me cause he was so eggy and pissed. The heat was still on and he was fading me on dry reef and shit. He probably came in, went to his room, smashed a board or something and then felt better. He loves his anger. That’s his deal. But that was a good win for me.”

18Andy winning the world title.
Sibling rivalry is always a powerful motivator. “It was a big deal for me when Andy won the world title because it was something I never even thought could happen. I don’t even know if he thought it could happen. But it was amazing and it definitely made me get my shit together to be more serious about contests and all that shit.”

19Qualifying CT Style
Everyone knew Bruce was one of the best surfers in the world but between him and a high rolling life of the dream tour was the misery of the QS. “It was a big relief for me to qualify because so many times I’d be at these contests thinking, You know what, I’m never gonna make it, these waves are shit, I’m over it, I just want to be a freesurfer… that guy who just rolls his own deal. The QS was like school and once I graduated I never wanted to do that shit again.”

The moment Bruce qualified, lippy fanatics predicted instant success. Could the kid win a title in his first year? If he didn’t, he’d be top five at least. Unfortunately, Bruce stunk in his debut year. “Towards the end of the year I couldn’t stop thinking, Holy shit I’m gonna get smoked back down onto the QS! I ended up winning the Eddie, requalifying at Pipe the next day and was home in time for Christmas with the family. It all went down in the space of a week and it was the best holiday ever. I couldn’t wait for the next year because everything was wonderful.”


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

The Worst Day Of Competitive Surfing (So Far) In 2023

With 2-point heat wins and 30-minute lulls, Day 3 of the Billabong Pro Pipeline was…

Feb 7, 2023


Unlocked: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers

Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film. 

Feb 6, 2023


More Dane Reynolds Than You Can Stomach In One Serving

Chapter 11 TV is everything surf media needs.

Feb 6, 2023

Kanoa Igarashi On Concussions, Goose Chases, Title Visions, The Three Types Of Surfers CT’ers Encounter In The Water, And More

A candid and wide-ranging conversation with 2022 World #5.

Feb 5, 2023

Can Small-Scale Investors Buy Into Wave Pools?

Say you got $10k and a dream — what can you do?

Feb 4, 2023

An Early Pipeline Exit For Stephanie Gilmore Amidst GenZ Glory

Day Two of the 2023 CT season was a clear notice that the kids are…

Feb 3, 2023

Hand-Shaping, Glassing, And Finishing ’70s-Inspired Displacement Hulls Will Not Make You Rich

Profile: Tristan Mausse of Fantastic Acid is in it for all the right reasons.

Feb 3, 2023

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023


“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023