Bruce Irons by Pete Frieden.

This Is One Wave Bruce Irons Will Never Forget

During the Backdoor Shootout

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That morning the Backdoor Shootout was absolutely firing, but the conditions were tricky. I caught two waves. The first (pictured) was one of the biggest barrels I’ve ever had out there. It happened during the heat. I went all the way through and tried to doggy door out of it and the fucking lip landed right on my head… but man, I was right there. It was mid-tide and glassy when this photo was taken. I had some boards made for last winter with my brother’s airbrush on it, and the one I’m riding here was a 6’8’’. There was so much water draining off the reef that day. It went so shallow. I don’t know what was going on with that swell – if it doubled up or what – but when I got to my feet the whole thing sucked up super hard. I couldn’t really tell how big it was, because I was concentrating on the drop and not having the lip cut my head off, but as I got under it and planted my feet, I started swearing my head off in this big beautiful vortex like “FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! Then came the heaviest backdraft spit – full face peeler. The wave threw me forward into three cartwheels and I just thought “oh my God. I’m about to get smoked!” My ears underwater just went – ratatat! – like three explosions. Then I hit my shoulder on this patch of sand the size of a hubcap. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “What?! There’s sand out here?” I’m so lucky because if I’d hit reef that thing would have messed me up. It was a memory wave for sure. Even though I didn’t make it, it has to be one of the best waves of my life. I was rattled, but also super stoked at the same time. That morning is ingrained in my head but trust me, I have not gotten my fix yet. I just want to get a bigger and better one. I’m going to go those waves regardless. – Bruce Irons.

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