Big Wave surfer Bruce Irons went to Tahiti in August to perform a freesurf in the world's most heavyweight wave to commemorate his brother Andy, who died a year ago this week.
An unlikely campaign began just before the ASP tournament in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, on August 20, when fellow Hawaiian pro surfer Jamie O’Brien Tweeted “Defending champ is dead. His brother Bruce is in Tahiti. R u morons? Put him in your event!” The Tweeting become more and more furious, and got picked up in surf forums around the world. Consequently: “We're honoured to announce Bruce Irons is having a 30min freesurf between the semi and final of the Billabong Pro in loving memory of his brother Andy,” ASP spokesman Dave Prodan said. “It's unfortunate that the public and media discussion about Bruce receiving an event wildcard into the Billabong Pro Tahiti seemed to only take place 10 hours before the event started,” Prodan told The Australian. “Had proper discussions begun months ago, perhaps something could have been done with the event wildcards to accommodate the situation.”
Bruce stayed another week after the event, as he knows and cherishes Tahiti: “I love Tahiti. I’ve been going there since I was 15. People are very nice, easy living and relaxed, it’s beautiful.” And he knows the Teahupo’o wave inside out: “That wave is the scariest wave of the world. It’s like Gladiator, Road Warrior and Water World rolled up into one.”
“You keep wondering “Am I deep enough (to evade the greenroom outswell and the powerful spray leaving the tunnel), the boats are way up high in the sky above you, it’s dark, the water is sucking up. It’s like sitting next to a vortex tornado. Then I just go into this sort of cocoon, you feel featherlike and you just loosen up.”
“Once you come out the other end, you start asking yourself “Did I really enjoy that?” because it’s so mind boggling. You have that really trippy adrenaline feeling. You don’t know if it’s good or bad, but you’re high.”
Photos: Brian Bielmann / Red Bull Content Pool