A Favorite and a Dark Horse Score 10s

Irons and Barley Post Perfect Rides At Volcom Pipeline Pro

By Daniel Ikaika Ito

Bruce Irons defined casual yesterday at the Volcom Pipeline Pro. The 30-year-old pro surfer from Hanalei, Kauai showed up for the second day of competition an hour before his heat. Without a warm-up session, Irons nonchalantly paddled out and scored a perfect 10-point ride on his first wave.

Its real beach-breaky with peaks everywhere, said Irons of the 8-to 12-foot wave face heights at Pipe yesterday. With a light onshore see breeze and a deteriorating swell, the second day of the Volcom Pipeline Pro wasnt as pristine as the first day of competition. With declining waves it allowed competitors to get high scoring rides at Backdoor: the right breaking wave at Pipeline.

There is always 10s at Backdoor, said Irons who has won the Pipeline Pro twice and the Pipeline Masters. It can be a horrible day and you can find a 10 (at Backdoor).

Irons only caught two waves, but still managed to win the heat his second ride was a smaller Backdoor barrel that earned a 6.77 score. He negotiated both tubes with his signature laid-back approach to surfing that has made Irons a fan favorite over the years.

In 2008 Irons left the World Championship Tour, despite his hiatus from the pro surf contests he still enjoys the thrill of competition, especially at Pipeline.

I like competing, admitted Irons. I didnt retire from competing. I just stepped away from the tour. No retirement here.

Irons wasnt the only surfer to score a perfect ride yesterday at the Volcom Pipeline Pro. Bret Barley emerged as a dark horse contender, scoring a 10-point ride early yesterday morning at Backdoor. The 20-year-old from Hatteras, North Caroline stole the show yesterday negotiating the treacherous tubes with his back to the wave.

He bolstered his perfect ride with a 9.67 wave, giving Barley the highest two-wave total of the event so far a 19.67 out of a possible 20 points.

That’s a win. I don’t even care what happens anymore, said Barley of his heat victory. That first wave? Even if I didn’t get the second one, that was all I wanted. I know that I can surf these waves, but I never would have imagined getting a 10, much less another nine, so I’m thrilled.”

With no major titles or accolades under Barleys belt, the kid from North Carolina has nothing to lose at the Volcom Pipeline Pro and everything to gain.

With one day of competition left for the Volcom Pipeline Pro, contest directors will wait for the best and biggest day between now and Feb. 2.