Stab Magazine | Andy Irons' last wave, Pinetrees, Kauai
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Andy Irons’ last wave, Pinetrees, Kauai

Today marks one year since the death of world champion Andy Irons. From beginnings in Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai, Andy blazed through life with vigour and was the only man to stop Kelly Slater in his prime. Three years in a row. “I’ve had my fair share of hills and valleys, but […]

full frame // Mar 8, 2016
Words by Mike Coots
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today marks one year since the death of world champion Andy Irons. From beginnings in Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai, Andy blazed through life with vigour and was the only man to stop Kelly Slater in his prime. Three years in a row. “I’ve had my fair share of hills and valleys, but life’s been radical and exciting,” Andy told Stab in the last interview he’d ever give. “Stuff that kings would die to do. Straight up, fucken A. The lifestyle we’ve got and the life I’ve led since I was 17, I couldn’t even tell my friends. I try and tell stories and they think I’m making it up or I saw it in a fucken movie. Straight up. It’s the life I wanted since I caught my first wave.”

Days before he died, Andy surfed his local childhood spot, Pinetrees, with good friend Kamalei Alexander. The picture you see above is widely-thought to be the last wave Andy ever surfed. “I remember Kamalei calling me up to say he and Andy were about to surf Pinetrees and for me to come down and shoot photos,” says photog Mike Coots, who shot the image. “I showed up a few minutes later and they were already in the water. The surf was around double-overhead and a bit messy. Andy was absolutely destroying every wave, picking off some real gems. And looking in top form. It was overcast with very few people around, I think it was just those two out and possibly his good friend Billy Zietz. There’s this mushy break in the middle of the bay that sits in deep water and is rarely surfed. It was starting to break on the bigger sets, so Andy paddled further out to sea to try and catch one. A solid right came through and he caught it. He floated the first section (the image you see here), then the wave started to get a bit shouldery and slow down. He did a little chop-hop, then milked the barely rideable flat section through the deep water, and was amazingly able to link it up to the inside. He did another floater on the very inside, rode it right up to the sand and came in. I walked back to the parking lot and showed him the pics. He seemed really pumped on the session and the few people that were in the carpark were so stoked to see him so amped up and full of life.”

Earlier this year, Bruce Irons sat down for an interview with Stab about the life and death of his brother. And a vision Bruce’d recently had. It’s a fitting sentiment: “I had a dream about my brother that he was… I got beamed up into a spaceship and he was the commander of the star fleet,” laughed Bruce. “And he was, like, some very famous fucking commander dude, and he’s been up there for years and I see him and, like, I haven’t seen him in a long time and he hasn’t seen me in a long time, and I was, like, ‘Oh fuck, it’s so good to see you!’ and gave him a big hug and he was saying how proud he was of me. I know he’s proud of me.”

Andy Irons from Billabong on Vimeo.

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