Remembering Andy Irons
Seven years after his death.
It’s been seven years since that fateful layover at Dallas Fort Worth, the night Andy Irons left this world. The cause of his death, as is tradition in surf, was waxed over. The toxicology report later revealed an overdose, and year on year, the legend of Andy Irons becomes more transparent. “Everyone knows how my brother went,” Bruce Irons told Stab back in our Venice offices while we were filming interviews for Thank You Andy. “It might be a little offensive to some, but at the end of the day, I hope it can help some kid from not going such an extreme way.”
On November 2, 2010, surfing lost a true original. Andy was a potent mix of love and destruction. His handsome bust surely sits in surfing’s collective history besides the likes of Eddie Aikau and The Duke, the immortalized great few. There has simply never been a surfer like him.
To this day, no one stabs a lip quite like the three-time World Champ – the only gent to give Kelly Slater a proper run during his prime. He made professional surfing the most exciting it had ever been. When Andy and Kelly were battling it was passionate. It was personal. It was explosive.
Today, the good, the bad, the ugly and drop dead gorgeous of his life should be celebrated, because Andy’s contribution to surfing, his fans, friends and family will never be forgotten.
Every year, on this day, the surf world collectively mourns the death of AI and the little memories people have stand out.
Here are a few:
Kelly Slater on Andy Irons:
We were at dinner [Gold Coast, 2008] and he was asking me and my girl about food and what we make. I told him we made almond milk, and he was baffled that I knew how to make it. It nearly didn’t compute with him. I was supposed to make him some but he never came by on that trip.
"I remember the last Billabong trip Andy did," Brian Bielmann told Stab this time last year. "We went to Desert Point and scored. Andy was gone for a while, and when he showed back up he had no shorts on–just wearing those compression speedo shorts you wear out there to avoid rash–but he had beers. He goes “I traded my trunks for these beers” and passed them out."
Mason Ho on Andy Irons:
A story about Andy? Oh, god! I got books of stories about that guy. Hmm, I got crazy girl ones that he’s tell me when I was a kid. I got contest strategies, sex strategies, scoldings from him, puberty stuff. He gave me all kinds of shit!
He was my favorite surfer growing up. While the other guys would shoe me away, Andy would always pull me over and tell me these gnarly man stories.
But one story I’ve been thinking about recently is from one of the last times I saw him. It was right before the US Open, and we ran into each other at the airport and he called me over. I was kind of star struck, thinking, Holy Shit Andy knows who I am. I was nervous, so I told him that I was and he instantly started rousting me. Saying, “Hey man, don’t think I’m a big timer.” Like, just whipping me into shape.
He asked me if I was ready for the Open and was like, “You’ve been ripping!” I told him, “I wanna be on tour with you guys,” and he said, “Well, what are you waiting for?”
Then he asked me if I ever get nervous. He told me, “If you ever get an iffy feeling, you grip that feeling, you hold onto it and use it as fucking power.”
Now, any contest or any time I get that feeling, I think of Andy. It’s like me and him holding this energy ball together.