Big-wave Hawaiian surf icon Bruce Irons was found asleep in a running vehicle at a Newport Beach gas station and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to police.
Irons was seen in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, on Nov. 22, at 8:18 a.m. at a 76 gas station on Pacific Coast Highway, said Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department. “Someone called it in that they couldn’t wake the person up,” she said. “We knocked on the window several times.”
The arrest happened at about 11:22 a.m. after police believed the 39-year-old surfer was under the influence of drugs. Irons was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2007, his name set in cement among other surf legends.
He was a fierce competitor in his heyday during the 2000s, with a win against Kelly Slater in the 2001 Pipeline Masters and a stand-out performance and win at the 2004 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
Irons, who grew up in Kauai, is known for his fearless approach to surfing big waves. In 2005, he was ranked 9th on the world championship tour, according to the World Surf League.
His older brother Andy Irons, a three-time surfing champion, had a long battle with drug use and died in 2010 at age 32, a tragic end to one of surfing’s most beloved characters who was 11-time world champion Slater’s only true rival.
Irons spoke about his brother’s drug use during their younger years in the film “Andy Irons: Kissed by God” made by a Laguna Beach filmmaker and released earlier this year
In a more recent interview with Huntington Beach forecasting companySurfine.com, Irons talked about grappling with his brother’s death.
“I just try and balance the lows of sadness … and I do get my tears out, you know. But I have to try and stay positive,” Irons said in the article. “Happiness attracts happiness and darkness attracts darkness. And I believe that whatever you put out is what you get back.”
In an interview with TMZ, Irons said he’s confident he will beat the DUI drug allegations against him, calling it a “hiccup in the road” and saying he’s “innocent until proven guilty”.