Big Expectations For Bruce

The trials and tribulations of being a rookie.

The entire surfing world was ecstatic when Bruce Irons made the WCT after plowing through the WQS. Finally, the man who was regarded as the best free surfer around would put his considerable skills up against the best the world had to offer.

And it started out so well-for a bit at least. Bruce’s first wave as an official member of the ‘CT was at Snapper Rocks in Australia-and it was a smoker. After a five-second barrel ride, Bruce launched an air, landed smoothly, and relentlessly belted the lip until the wave expired. Bystanders looked at each other and went: “Holy shit, he’s gonna beat Andy! It’s on!”

But it wasn’t on.

A string of thirty-thirds and seventeenths made up Bruce’s debut until the tour went to France, where his true potential was displayed for everyone to see. In the best conditions France has ever seen for a major pro event, Bruce waxed the field and was looking for a maiden victory, until he ran headfirst into his brother in the final, and was dealt a second place finish. Not bad for a rookie, and hopefully enough to help him re-qualify for the “Dream Tour” next season.

Bruce, who makes in a month what most surfers his age make in two years, is not an overpaid professional surfer. His likeness and image alone have made surf companies millions and will for years to come. The question remains though, will he have a salvageable season and remain on the ‘CT, or is he going to be the most highly paid and publicized free surfer on the planet? Either way, fans of surfing win.-J.C.