Why Bruce Irons will not compete in the Billabong Pro Tahiti

None of the pros care about the rule, none of the fans so why does the ASP? They’re called rules, not laws and they could have found a way. The Tahitians wouldn’t have minded one more wildcard, the could have even run another trial during the waiting period and given the fans another reason to spend all day watching the event…always some out of touch moron ‘stopping’ instead of keeping the show on the road…


Why Bruce Irons will not compete in the Billabong Pro Tahiti

Clank, Clunk, it’s the rules: why Bruce won’t be getting a start at Chopes
By Nick Carroll

Kelly Slater gave voice to it at the pre-event press conference. Jamie O’s been waging a one-man Twitter duel to try to get it to happen.

But Bruce Irons will not get a start at the Billabong Pro Tahiti this year. At one level the reason is simple: the contest’s already underway, and ASP rules don’t permit replacements once the first heat has been run.

So even if some valiant soul among the 36 competitors did decide to fall on his sword, at this point it’d be a useless gesture. In any case Irons himself is not the type of person to demand a place at the table, especially if it involved the booting of a fellow surfer.

Look back a little way, though, and the tale becomes a little saga of how complex and unwieldy big pro surfing events have become in the face of something so immediate and emotional as the need to include the late defending champ’s brother – something that at a gut level, seems absolutely right.

“Everyone at Billabong would have loved to see Bruce in this contest,” says event co-director Luke Egan.

“We were hoping that he would’ve won the trials, then we wouldn’t have to have this conversation.” Instead, Bruce fell early in less than amazing surf, and a clunky chain of events rolled into place.

Luke says events like his have been working under a minor hangover from the former wildcard system, which gave them an extra spot and more room to move. Instead they’re having to force existing wildcard commitments, made in previous years, into two spaces, not three.

Under the current event system, World Title events are made up of 32 seeded pros, two injury wildcards from the former event cycle, and two genuine wildcards. At Teahupo’o, those two spots are decided through the Von Zipper trials.

“We have an obligation to the Tahitian Surfing Federation, to make one wildcard the top ranking Tahitian surfer in the trials. Then we have the trials winner, who we can’t deny a spot.

“So to give Bruce a place, Heiarii Williams would have had to step down. As much as I want Bruce in the event, we can’t back away from that commitment.

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