Long Live The King
“The Bruce” dominates Pipe again at the Gotcha Pipeline Pro.
A challenge to the competitive professional surfers of the world: “Is there anyone who can beat Bruce Irons at Pipeline?” At the present moment, the answer is a resounding, “No!” With all due respect to his brother Andy Irons and Mr. Slater, who respectively represent his strongest challengers, Bruce Irons is the current “King of the Banzai.”
It’s a glorious and perhaps, next to a world title, most-coveted crown in our world of surfdom. Make no mistake, the Bruce has earned it, he’s only lost two heats out there in a long, long time. He’s always in total control, not only of himself, but of the situation in the water. He completely dominated the 2002 Gotcha Pipeline Pro, a ‘QS four-star affair, from his first heat on-no one could come close to mounting a serious challenge. At one point in the final against Koby Abberton, Jason Bogle, and Zane Harrison-no group of easy guys and plenty of heavy water-the Bruce had such a dominating lead that all of the other scores combined would have still placed them in second. No kidding, he’s that good.
There were some exciting moments during the long stretched-out event; Zane Harrison’s last-second 3.2 to edge out an in-form Brian Pacheco in one semi was a hard heat. Or how about the round of 32, heat one, with Shane Beschen, Jamie O’Brien, Ian Walsh, and Bruce Irons-a pretty heavy heat that got off early in the run. Bruce started off quickly, in control, while Jamie drafted right behind. Then Walsh got the highest scoring wave of the event to that point, a 9.32, and followed it up with another one and found himself back in the hunt. With a minute to go Walsh needed a 2.5, and O’Brien staring death in the face, used all his paddling skills to block-it worked.
In the early rounds, some of Hawai’i’s best juniors were on fire. Ian Walsh was one, Evan Valeire surfed very well, so did T.J. Barron, Jason Frederico, Benel, and Ola Eleogram from Hana, Maui. Benel suffered from a concussion as he was blasted head-first into the reef on a hideous below-sea-level beast. But the best of the young ones was Raymond Reichle, a V-Land local and longtime amateur heavy hitter who put on a career performance making it to the quarters, and took some big scalps along the way. A bunch of stitches in the middle of his lip early in the comp didn’t sway him at all, he kept charging along. Because it was a four star, a lot of traveling pros came through after the early Brazil leg and made for some interesting matchups. Top performers were young French sensation Mikey Picon, Brazil’s young hopeful Bernardo Pigmehu, and a host of young Australians like Glenn Hall, Drew Courtney, and Zane Harrison, who has a well-established rep in Hawai’i. Tamayo Perry, Tory Barron, and Pacheco did the best of the established Pipe crew, but from his first heat ’til it was all over and done, it was and is the Bruce Irons show-long live the king.-Rik Iaconnetti
Final Results Of The Gotcha Pipeline Pro:
1. Bruce Irons
2. Zane Harrison
3. Koby Abberton
4. Jason Bogle