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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Updated: August 4, 7:31 PM ET
Bruce Irons Returns

Bruce Irons, comfortable in his own skin and thankfully stoked on surfing again.

Nine months after the death of his brother Andy, Bruce Irons hasn't muttered more than a word to the media. By his own admission, he's been in a dark place, insulated by family, friends, and handlers while he grieves and reconciles. But also by his own admission, he's back.

Today, Irons believes that Andy is in a better place, more comfortable watching down on him and maybe occasionally poaching a ride or two on his shoulder. It hasn't been easy, but by his own account he's come through with a newfound sense of commitment to his family as well as a rejuvenated passion for a sport that gave him and his brother so much.

ESPN Surfing recently sat down with Irons in Fiji, and if all the photos scattered about the Internet and bound for magazine covers aren't enough to convince you that Bruce is back, maybe his words will.

After everything that's happened, how are you holding up?
Well, right now I'm doing really, really good. The last couple months have been a lot of dealing with everything. I didn't accept my brother dying. But then when we got the results and it was the artery, I went and did a test, and my arteries are fine. Now I know and understand deep down inside that it was my brother's time to go and he's in a better place. Deep down inside I feel that, and I let that feeling go out of my stomach. I feel good because I can talk about it now. I know that he's always around. I'm comforted by that, and I know that he's in a better place. So yeah, I'm doing well. But it took months for me; I had to go deep down inside and do a bunch of self-realization. But now, you know, I'm feeling really good.

And how's the family doing, how's Lyndie and little Axel doing?
Axel Irons is doing really well, and Lyndie's doing good. That kid, yeah, he's the cutest little kid. I look at him; I see my brother in him. He has a lot of my brother in him. That will and determination, you know, it's really going to be a lot of fun and exciting to watch him and my new son grow up together. It's going to be really exciting to do whatever they want to do and be right there with them.

My daughter's only 2, and she already rules me. As soon as she yells "Yes!" my day is made. Then my wife, Mia, and I are having a boy in November. He'll be 10 months younger than my brother's boy, so they'll get to go to school together. For me, kids, I just realized that's for me. It makes me happy, keeps me straight and good. I learn so much from them. We don't have a name picked out yet for our son; we're thinking something crazy. I don't know, I say we wait until he's home. My friend brought his kid home and didn't name him for two weeks. It's like $25 for a late fee on the birth certificate. That's like returning a movie late to Blockbuster. You want to give your kid a name that suits them.

And you've been surfing a lot?
Yeah, in the last six weeks I've found my love for surfing again. I went on a couple trips to Costa Rica, Indo and now Fiji. I haven't had this surf stoke since I was a kid. I'm actually really happy about it. If I'm surfing and I'm stoked about it, everything else seems to fall into place. But a lot of this has to do with a [therapist] who helped me process and move all this old, negative energy out of my system. I give him a lot of thanks for how I feel right now. I really, really appreciate him helping me help me.

He must have done something. I haven't heard you this excited about surfing in a long time.
Me? Excited about surfing? Yeah, like I said, I'm more excited about surfing than I have been since I was a kid. I'm more psyched than I have been since I was a little kid. I have chicken skin talking about it. Like surfing for the love of just being in the water and going surfing. Surfing is what I did as a kid that brought me the most happiness, and it's back in my life and I love it. Staying in the water brings me happiness, and now I know what doesn't, so I know what I gotta do ... keep surfing.

You were starting to spend more time on the putting green than in the lineup.
I quit golf. No, I didn't quit, but it was distracting me from my surfing. I probably haven't swung a club in a year, but I still love the game and respect it. There's a time and place for it.

What's your dream round?
Oh come on, you know the answer to that. I'd play with Tiger Woods. I don't care what people say, he's still the man. Where would we play? Let's see. Makai or the Prince. Those are the two best courses in Hawaii.

You were also doing a fair bit of escaping on your boat. Still fishing?
Not as much as I would like to, but you know what, I just moved into a new house and my boat's there, so yeah, hopefully. I just sold my truck because I needed to get a bigger one to tow the boat, so I'm going to get that sorted out and do a lot of fishing ... because that is my therapy.

You seem to be a lot more open than you used to. You know, Andy was always the outspoken one; you were kind of more guarded.
People probably have a misconception of me because I don't do a lot of talking with everybody, you know. I go into my head a lot, and if I don't let you in I don't let you in, but it's not because I dislike anyone. It's just I'm trying to deal with myself and my own issues, personal problems and insecurities. But you know what? I'm totally comfortable with who I am and where I'm at. My new thing is the past is the past, you can't change it, moving forward, happy, positive, towards the light.

Finally, tell us a little about that wave in Fiji that has everybody talking.
The 10-foot-1 Pink Pony, now that I look at the pictures, that was the best backside tube picture I've ever got. I got super rag dolled and almost drowned, but you know what, I visualized that five minutes before I got it. Maybe not exactly like that, but something like that. Oh my God, it's just something that will stick in my head for the rest of my life. It was the most beautiful vision -- even though I almost drowned. I don't know, I get chicken skin just thinking about it.

It was Todd Morcom's board. Nathan [Fletcher] had caught his special wave on it, and then the next wave ridden on it was my wave, so yeah, thanks, Todd, for that.