Stab Magazine | Cut through the heat with Sprite: Bruce Wins The Eddie
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Cut through the heat with Sprite: Bruce Wins The Eddie

All photos by Joli Sprite’s ‘Cut Through The Heat’ is an ongoing series of fabulously awkward moments in surf, some of which you haven’t heard. Yes we’re talking the behind the-scenes stories of some of the most famous incidents and mishaps in surfing’s rich history and the eventual resolutions. Here we dine on the real […]

style // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

All photos by Joli

Sprite’s ‘Cut Through The Heat’ is an ongoing series of fabulously awkward moments in surf, some of which you haven’t heard. Yes we’re talking the behind the-scenes stories of some of the most famous incidents and mishaps in surfing’s rich history and the eventual resolutions. Here we dine on the real story of Bruce Irons’ Eddie Aikau win, and the fight with his brother that spurred it all on.

Our story starts on the otherwise normal morning of December 14, during the ’04/’05 Hawaiian winter season. It’s the day before Quiksilver’s Eddie Aikau event. “No one knows that if this didn’t happen, then I probably wouldn’t have won,” opens Bruce Irons. “We were playing poker at the Billabong house in the daytime and (brother) Andy’s a bad loser, so we’re taunting each other and the next thing you know I’m outside in the yard calling his name.

“He comes flying out the door with a karate kick and we fight. Next thing the Billabong guys are breaking it up and that’s when he punches me in the eye. If you look at the pictures from that day, I have a black eye, I think he has one too, but you can definitely see mine.

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“The next morning the Eddie is on but we aren’t talking. I show up at Waimea that morning with Kala (Alexander) and Andy is right there next to us but we don’t talk. The morning before the Eddie was some of the best waves I’d ever seen out there. I’d only surfed it once or twice before that day. I got some big waves that morning which made me feel a lot better about my chances. But I also broke my Waimea board – a brand new Tokoro 9’6. It ended up working out though because, to tell you the truth, I couldn’t have caught any of those waves in the contest riding (the Tokoro). It was a bit toothpicky. That yellow board I’m riding was a boat – an old buckled Dick Brewer that Eddie Rothman went home and got from under his house. He rode his moped all the way up the Kam (Highway) with it ‘cos the traffic was so nuts. As soon as I grabbed it, I was like, ho, I can get into some big stuff on this.

“The swell peaked at the end of Andy’s heat and through my heat just after, and that’s when I got the bomb (the perfect 100 point ride). The best surfing I do is when I’m not thinking, when I’m just falling out of the sky, just going with the flow. That’s when all the magic happens. And that was a big reason why I won. At that point Andy was winning world titles, winning everything. But I got invited first to the Eddie. So I was like yeah! And then he gets invited too and he’s in the heat before and it’s huge – biggest waves I’ve ever paddled and the biggest waves he’s paddled.

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“He got the biggest waves he’s ever got in that heat. He got first or second and I’m just like, “this guy is gonna win this too!” I’m sitting along in the channel watching him, just screaming at the top of my lungs: “He can’t win this! He can’t win this!” I was so mad at him that day, just screaming at the gods… ‘he can’t win, he is not winning this.’

“That set I got I remember Kelly was above me and he was going but I held my ground a little bit longer, I was a bit deeper and everything just happened so perfectly. If you look at that wave Kelly is right above me and further out on the shoulder. He was right there trying to go. He said something to me like, “you won’t go.” Or something like that but I was going, bro.

“It was my last wave – you only get four – so no matter what I was gonna ride it as far as I could. I remember sailing it in. In my mind I was just gonna go as far as I could but then I hear the commentator saying, ‘Is he gonna do it?’ and I’m like, what, I’m getting peer pressured into this now? Then I think of Mike Ho, and I remember him doing it, so I’m gonna do it. I ended up pulling in and getting blown right up the beach onto the sand, as perfect as it could be. It was the only perfect 100 point ride in the history of the Eddie I think.

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“Standing on that podium was the best feeling I’ve ever had. That right there, I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be in the Eddie, let alone win it. I was tripping. The funny thing is I remember looking at the trophy that day – it’s like this nine foot balsa wood surfboard – and in my mind I was going, that’d be so sick to win that but also I’m never winning that, it’d be the sickest  trophy but I’m never winning that. And now I’ve got it in my house! Winning the Eddie, it felt like I climbed Everest.

“After I won, I didn’t shake Andy’s hand, and we didn’t apologise to each other, but he had to apologise for the situation that happened. I didn’t really care about any of it. It’s just the dumb stuff brothers do. He came over to celebrate later that night and it was all good.”

Stay Tuned for more of Sprite‘s ‘Cut through the heat’ moments; a brief history of some of surfing’s most heated moments and their icy resolves.

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