Bruce Irons

Bruce on nothing serious

Photo: Steve Sherman

No introduction. Interview by Beau Flemister

On his dream wave: BRUCE: I like sandbars. Ripped-out sandbars with wedges. A-frames. To me, those are the funnest waves. You can get a lot of choices in that environment. There's the channel sucking out, so you get those step-laddery waves. Plus, big sandbars can get really punchy and powerful. To me, that's exciting. On wedges like that, you can do airs, get barreled, do big turns; that pretty much sums up my favorite wave. Oh, and there are closeouts, which I like because that usually means there's no one around.

On his dream crew: If I could go on a trip with anyone, I'd like to go with Gerry Lopez because he is a really cool dude. Occy is always sick, too. The Fletchers: Herbie, Christian, Nathan. John John, too. Dane, even. All these guys together, you know, mix it up. Gerry to John John. But I wouldn't want to take them to Indo; that's played out. I'd want to find some big wedging sandbar in Mexico. Imagine seeing Gerry do a step off — that'd be sick!

On airs: I don't want to say that I can't spin, but I'd rather go fast and high, you know? The bigger, the better.

On an all-out approach: I guess my approach to surfing has a lot to do with my upbringing. You're a product of your environment, who your friends are, type thing. So yeah, there's some pride and ego, but growing up, I was scared. I was just trying to keep up with my brother and his friends. And all our friends were older, so it was a nonstop battle to see who could go bigger and harder. But to do it with a smile, you know? Acting like nothing scares you, like nothing fazes you. Then after a while, I don't know, it just became natural, I guess. I'm still scared, but I get more adrenaline going for it in bigger waves. Plus, who wants to hold back? That's boring.

On small boards: I've always been into riding smaller boards, even at Pipe. It's challenging for me to ride a board over 7'2". And it's not because I'm trying to one up everybody, I just think that only certain people can ride big boards and look good. Guys like Tom Carroll, Braden Dias, Occy, Kalani Chapman; they can do it. Me, on the other hand, I feel like I can't turn them. They just feel too long, like the nose will grab, and I like being able to turn in big tubes. For me, smaller boards in bigger waves has always been the future. That, and some sort of rocket boosters on your elbow pads or something. [laughs] I've been riding this 5'4" cork bamboo board I got from Nathan Fletcher. They look like shit but, of course, ride so good. Nathan always knows what's up. Those cork boards are just so buoyant and you can do turns like bobsledders do. Like up under the lip, as fast as you can go, if your legs can handle it.

On step-offs: Using a Jet Ski is full-on cheating…but whatever. Certain places in the world are good for step-offs. Especially in big beach breaks because instead of getting caught inside and washed around all day, you can just surf and catch a lot of waves. As long as there's no one in the water and you've got a wave to yourself, it's great because you can actually repetitively try a trick, nonstop. Like a big air. Step-offs are the closest thing to having a stationary wave, like a quarter-pipe or something. And in one way, sure, it's great to be patient, to slow down and paddle or whatever. But, f–k, sometimes I just want to go out and catch a ton of waves. [laughs]