Although the ongoing story of the jaded Irons brothers has been kicking around for weeks and months now, with magazines, blogs and internet voices the world over forcing their opinions on the world, and Andy and Bruce even stepping forward to offer their own explanations, I felt I had to throw in another 2 cents. Are they jaded? Yes. Are they confused? Yes. Should we chastise or hate them? No. Should they move on? Yes.
Both Bruce and Andy are phenomenal surfers, heads and shoulders above nearly everyone, including most of those on tour. Their surfing speaks for itself. When not blowing up in heats or winning contests, Bruce and Andy turn on for the video camera in ways that few others can. Other pros have likened their free surfing to a “best of reel”, with videographers saying that most of the video they shoot of the Bruce and Andy are “keepers” (while other pros will only produce one or two “keeper” clips per hour of video shot). To see Bruce in the Bruce movie or Andy in Trilogy, it’s hard to imagine how this brotherly duo isn’t on top of the world. Apparently, the problem is, that they find it even harder to imagine how they’re not. Andy has won three world titles and finished in the top 5 several other times. To see him surf in heats or free-surf, you know it’s only a matter of mindset that keeps him from winning the World Title again. If he wants it, it is his for the taking (well… next year anyway). By all accounts, they have a seemingly charmed life: surfing and traveling while getting paid quite nicely to do so; surfing the best places in the planet in their prime seasons, never more than 100 yards from their beautiful wives, who are two of the most gorgeous women on the planet.
I’ve taken quite a bit of time to deliberate on the Irons brothers’ issues and public responses, while at the same time, carefully watching the WQS and the World Tour this year to try to determine who exactly will qualify for the 2009 World Tour. Since performance in one year is directly tied to qualification for the following year, I feel that Andy and Bruce should kindly step aside. With several World Tour surfers on the cusp of requalifying and several WQS surfers just a few spots away from the elite 15, Bruce and Andy should open their spots for surfers who are genuinely interested in the travel, the competition and ups and downs that is the World Tour. Both champs in their own right, with little left to prove to the world, they should stick to where everyone can appreciate what they do: free-surfing. It is their free-surfing that has always inspired and continues to broaden our ideas of what is possible on and above a wave. They’ll continue to maintain an army of loyal fans, while at the same time freeing themselves from the tour that has become their prison, and freeing up two of the precious 45 spots on the World Tour for the next in line. Bruce has already chosen to take the right step. Now it’s Andy’s turn.
Just another 2 cents…