The blunt reality of life after Andy, as seen in Stab issue 58, available now.
Words by Derek Rielly
Photos by Kane Skennar
Styling by Tara Williams
Hair and Makeup by Rachael Brook @ DLM
Video by Petty Thieves
All swimwear by Acacia, by Naomi Newirth and Lyndie Irons
For one thing, Lyndie Irons ain’t into any of the feelgood, everything-happens-for-a-reason mysticism that surrounded the death of her husband. She doesn’t see a turtle at Hanalei Bay and believe it’s his reincarnation; she doesn’t stare at a rainbow and think it was delivered by a heavenly messenger in Billabong rising sun trunks.
Lyndie Irons, still only 29, is a down-to-earth gal from Encinitas, California, who fell in love with and married Hawaii’s best ever surfer. And then he died too far from home, five weeks before their first kid was born. That ain’t poetry.
“I’m pissed,” says Lyndie flatly. “I used to have a spiritual side but, now, I get so sick of people telling me it was for a reason or God picked him or it was his time to go. It wasn’t.” But, says Lyndie in a whisper… but.
And, this is an interesting but.
To make it to Sydney for our shoot, Lyndie and her boy, Axel Andy Irons, had to bounce into Brisbane International at midnight from Denpasar where Lyndie’d been working on the manufacturing side of her bikini label Acacia with her partner Naomi Newirth, then lean on a pal to take ‘em to the Gold Coast for their Sydney morning flight.
On the hour drive south to the GC, Mom and son squeezed into each other in the back, Ax in his baby seat, Lyndie folded against it. In the fading moments before sleep, and right about now Lyndie tells me again that she loathes any kind of spiritual dimension being drawn around The Champ’s death, Ax began stroking her hair and patting her head.
“He’s sweet to me, but he’s too little to know how to do that,” says Lyndie. “But, he was patting my head and hair repeatedly and I looked up at him for a second and he stared straight at me and he looked just like Andy. He didn’t sleep a second of the whole drive. I just felt like Andy was there, letting me sleep. I felt like he was watching over me, that he knew that I was tired, knew that I needed sleep…”
Lyndie cries and I stop the tape.
It’s been 18 months since that weird day in November, 2010, when our phones lit up with messages from pro surfer pals in Puerto Rico.
Eighteen months since vampires raided his story, in the interest of public health and morality, apparently. Cetainly not for the ghoulish and speculative curiosity that surrounds the death of a famous young man. The lip-smacking innuendo!
We sure like the Irons’. We took Andy on his first-ever trip to Australia when he was 17 and a decade-and-a-half later we’re still rolling dice in airports with his kid brother.
As for Lyndie, she’s a single mom now. Supported by Andy’s parents, Phil and Danielle, divorced but who now live in the same house again so they can be close to Ax, and pals like Dustin Barca and his wife Stephanie.
It ain’t easy. And it’s going to be a long time before anyone comes close to replacing her soul mate.
Andy was celebrating his 25th birthday in Encinitas with Kala and Kamalei Alexander, Koby Abberton and Blair Marlin when they met. Andy pushed Lyndie against a tree and kissed her for the first time that night; a week later he told her he was in love. “From that first kiss I knew he was the one. In that first second. I knew we’d always be together.”
Read more in the digital edition. Available here.