Bruce Irons On Death, Life, And Finding The Light
Interview by Chris Coté
Bruce Irons has always led a life of extremes. His legend was formed by his superhuman talent on a surfboard and solidified with help from his rabble-rousing antics and radical rebellious spirit—he is a surfing demigod and, for better or for worse, one of our sport's last remaining rock stars. Of course, when you're rocking and rolling, the party has to end some time, and in Bruce's case, it appears that the end is near. Bruce himself has said he's coming out of the darkest period of his life. And all along the way, rumors and wild reports in regards to Bruce's transgressions have been coming in from around the world over the past year or so, stacking up like caustic resin. Rumors of darkness, rumors that caused immense worry. The hearsay can be deafening, so we went to the source, Bruce himself.
TransWorld SURF: So what's going on with Bruce Irons? You disappeared and the rumors have been swirling.
Bruce Irons: Yeah, like, "Where did I go, what happened?" Well, for one thing, just because you don't see me, and I'm not in front of the camera or whatever, doesn't mean I'm doing bad things. I've had a couple of really tough years. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff in my personal life—it's been a tough summer, I'll tell you that much. It's hard to deal with all that stuff and still try to make myself available to the public, or the media, or whoever. It's all good, though. I've learned a lot in the last year. I don't know how to explain it, but it's been a couple of f—king crazy years, but I'm finally feeling good and learning how to deal with everything.
Last time we all heard from you was from the article in Stab that really broke down how you were doing in the few months after Andy died. Where are you at with everything now?
Since then, I guess I went into a dark stage of my life. It's a trip. I've had issues with my personal life that have affected me a lot. As you get older, you realize who your real friends are. I'm probably being real cryptic here, but I don't want to name names and really get into the really personal things that have been happening to me.
Here's the thing, for some reason when people don't see me for a while, they automatically think the worst. For the last six months I spent a lot of time by myself. Unfortunately, when you're away and no one hears from you, the rumors and the gossip start. Through all this time, dealing with my own stuff, I've been hurt by some of my close friends. It was a rough summer for me. A lot of people came at me with a lot of assumptions and accusations. They weren't all true, but they weren't all wrong either. I don't know how I can really get into it. I don't want to sugarcoat this, but there are a lot of personal things that I don't think are anyone's business but mine.
Here's what's up: I went to Mexico this summer to get my head on straight. I had fun, I surfed a lot of great waves, and right now, I'm staying with Eddie and Makua Rothman at their house on the North Shore. I've known Eddie since I was ten years old. Eddie has a big heart, and he's always been really caring towards me and my brother. After Andy passed away, Eddie called me a few times a month to check in on me, just to talk, just to see how I was. He's solid. So right now, I'm at his house because I trust him and his family and he cares. I'm training with Makua. I'm surrounding myself with great people, and life is good. I'm training, I'm healthy, I'm not on drugs, I'm psyching. F—k all the rumors.
The thing with you is that you disappear for months at a time and people start to worry. I think there's a lot of guilt from when Andy died that people are transferring over onto you—do you think that's true?
I know people care about me, and that feels good. I guess I never realized how many people I actually influence. Of course my brother influenced a million people and never really realized that. I appreciate people so much. It feels weird to say "fans" 'cause that's just a strange thought. When people don't see me or hear from me, the worry cloud starts and people start making up shit. I feel like I'm guilty before even doing anything. I get depressed when I hear all the rumors about me. It isolates me more and makes me more introverted and lonely.
Lately, I've realized that I've dealt with depression my whole life, and that's just one of the things I've recognized about myself in the last few months. Depression is a heavy trip, and where I grew up, you never ever would admit you were depressed about anything. Admitting a weakness where I come from when you were young was the worst thing you could do.
To read the entire interview pick up the new (January 2013) issue of TransWorld SURF. Subscribe today and get a free set of Futures Fins!