We probably don’t need to speak at length about the power of social media.
It can build you up — insert the handle of your favorite Instagram model here. It can tear you down — see: JetBlue. It can absorb you, compel you, piss you off, make you smile or make you cry. But can it get you a wildcard into the Pipeline Masters?
Seems as though we’re about to find out.
A campaign just sparked up on Instagram. At time of writing, the #bruce4pipemasterswildcard hashtag has been posted 77 times. People like Strider Wasilewski, Shane Beschen, Kolohe Andino, Lyndie Irons, Luke Egan, Mark Matthews and more have chimed in support of Bruce. Turns out there are a lot of people out there who’d like to see the guy get himself under the ledge at Pipe in a jersey. Which is, of course, a sensitive subject.
It’s sensitive because up until last year, Pipe Masters always operated under its own set of rules. The event had a format that was entirely different from every other stop on the WCT and it was open to a slew of local wildcards — not just two like the rest of tour. Last year, the WSL set out to change that and Hawaiians weren’t so happy about it.
There were rumors of Eddie Rothman shutting the whole thing down. Vows of a protest. Tension all over the place. In the end, the WSL’s solution seemed to please everyone. They created a trials event that is almost like a mini Pipe Masters, offering its own prize purse and two tickets to the main event. There are a few different ways to get in the trials. Half the field consists of the top 16 Hawaiian finishers at the Volcom Pipe Pro. This year, that includes Bruce.
So technically, Bruce isn’t not in the Pipe Masters. He has to surf his way through a field of 32 to officially get there, but have you seen the way he surfs Pipe?
Looks pretty masterful to us.
Still, a lot of things can go wrong in a heat and the best surfer doesn’t always win. The trials are the only way a non-WCT surfer can make it to the main event this year (barring any injuries/withdraws, in which case they could technically use Bruce as a replacement). Right now, it seems highly unlikely for Bruce to simply get plopped into the Pipe Masters heat draw — even if the event’s tagline is In Loving Memory Of Andy Irons.
So expect all to be right in the world if Bruce makes it through via trials. And a lot to be wrong in the world if he doesn’t. The waiting period starts on December 8th — we’ll keep you posted.