Winning the Hang Loose pro was none other than Bede Durbidge — surfing’s version of “Rudy,” the walk-on football player at Notre Dame — the hardest working man in professional surfing today. Talk about a professional surfer who has worked harder with less talent and succeeded past anyone’s imagination.
Through his pure desire, dedication and discipline, Durbidge finds himself ranked No. 2 in the world behind Slater and ahead of such surfers as Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning and Andy Irons, who has all but lost interest in competing. One can only wonder what is going through Irons’ head as he continues to skip events.
Durbidge remains an inspiration to all young surfers hoping to make it in professional surfing and is looking at a career-best finish on the world tour this year. While the tour heads to Hawaii, Durbidge is looking to defend his Pipeline Master title and Triple Crown title as well.
The question remains, will Irons come out his three-event exile and surf in this year’s Pipeline Master — an event that his sponsor is putting on?
My answer is yes.
And if he doesn’t?
The sun may have just set on a career that saw Irons win three world titles and numerous Pipeline Masters events.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com