What I Learned From 'Andy Irons and The Radicals' - Stab Mag
Photo by Brian Bielmann

What I Learned From ‘Andy Irons and The Radicals’

A lesson on the most respected surfer from before my time.

cinema // Mar 22, 2021
Words by Jack Mutschler
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Watch chapter one of Andy Irons and The Radicals here.
Watch chapter two of Andy Irons and The Radicals here.
Watch chapter three of Andy Irons and The Radicals here.
Watch chapter four of Andy Irons and The Radicals here.

Truth be told, I never knew much about Andy Irons. My obsession with surfing didn’t kick in until 2012, about two years after Andy had passed. I’d always see the memorial posts in surf magazines and his birthday would bring somber posts into my Instagram feed, but I could never relate.

Andy Irons was before my time. The only thing I pieced together about AI was that he was well-respected, but beyond his surfing, I never cared enough to figure out why.

Some of the only Andy footage I can recall.

I was a teenager, obsessed with the present and focused on the next big thing. I didn’t care about grainy …Lost tapes from the 90s; I was more concerned with the release of films like Jordy Smith’s Bending Colours. Watching clips in anything less than 720p felt like a punishment for my prepubescent brain.

In college, I started to disconnect from the exhausting wheel of pop culture. Everything just started to feel forced— music, movies, etc. I started working my way backward for entertainment. My fascination with Young Thug shifted towards A Tribe Called Quest. I stopped watching Netflix’s latest original shows and found peace in old Tarantino movies. I found cultural contributions I could connect with, despite their age.

Still, however, I refused to connect with the 90s era of surfing. Why would I try to find a …Lost DVD with the entire internet at my fingertips? I haven’t had a CD drive on my laptop since middle school. I couldn’t even watch 5’5 x 19 1/4 if I wanted to. 

A bit of perspective. Photo by Brian Bielmann.

With the release of this Andy Irons and The Radicals film, I had no choice. My orders were to watch each episode of the film and write about what I learned (tough gig, I know). Like I mentioned earlier, I knew nothing; my input for this Stab homework assignment was as unbiased as possible.

For me, this film ignited a leap of faith into a youtube wormhole. My search history from the last few weeks is littered with previously foreign key terms such as “Chris Ward, …lost log cabins, and Cory Lopez Teahupoo.”

I knew of the …Lost crew (hard not to with every surfer over the age of 25 in the lineup flicking their bean to the nostalgia), but I had no narrative associated with the cause.

It was the minute details of Andy Irons and The Radicals that drew me in. I was intrigued by Andy’s struggle to find the right board, despite trying them all. Plus, the fact that he wasn’t tied down to one single shaper was astonishing; any CT surfer caught on the wrong board today is reprimanded accordingly. 

One of these has to work. Photo by Brian Bielmann.

I also enjoyed the bond over the Log Cabins house. Pat’s behind-the-scenes tapes are priceless. Alongside the mental surfing that occurred in the backyard, there was plenty of banter in-between sessions.

Competitive tensions, shit talk, and normal teenage debauchery. I never liked the false positivity in surf culture. The exaggerated levels of “stoke” feel forced.

There’s a camaraderie associated with absolutely shitting on your friends. If I’m giving someone an earful, it’s because I respect them, not because I actually mean what I’m saying. Andy, Bruce, and the rest of the crew seemed to do the same.

Can’t beat good company. Photo by Brian Bielmann.

It was these little snippets that I identified with—not the surfing. 

Andy Irons and The Radicals found the harmony between narrative and surfing, which is not easy to pull off; especially when dealing with high-def conditioned eyes like mine. 

I’m not kissing ass to get a promotion; I found all four episodes engaging and informative. Trust me, it is excruciatingly painful to admit that I have learned anything from Ashton Goggans, but it’s the truth. Well done on the film, fellas, when’s the next lesson? 


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022

Where You Should Be In Europe Right Now

An overview of the region's greatest hits.

Sep 25, 2022

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test With Mick Fanning, Episode 4

There are three boards left. Which one is Mick taking home?

Sep 23, 2022

Watch: Tresha

The Bella Kenworthy Edit.

Sep 22, 2022

Photos: Welcome To Vans Stab High Indonesia, Presented By Monster Energy

Welcome to Lakey Peak. Now do airs.

Sep 22, 2022


Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit 'Sonic Youth' now.

Sep 22, 2022

The Four-Finned, Carbon-Wrapped, Vacuum-Bagged Board That Won The 2022 World Title 

The minds behind Sharp Eye and Dark Arts break down Filipe's winning plank.

Sep 22, 2022

Selema Masekela Discusses The New Film “Sweet Adventure,” A New Love For El Salvador and His Not-So-New Music Career 

"It's literally the entirety of my life coming full circle in a way that I…

Sep 22, 2022

Does The 1-to-6 Foot Surfboard Exist?

Pushing the Channel Islands NeckBeard 3 to its absolute limits in a new Joyride review.

Sep 21, 2022


Life Comes At You Fast — So Does This Hectic Indo Clip

Finn McGill and a full-speed stint in Southeast Asia

Sep 21, 2022

Interview: Afghanistan Surf Champion Afridun Amu

From refugee to constitutional lawyer to university lecturer to Afghan surfing icon.

Sep 20, 2022


Bong Make ‘Another Good Call’ By Poaching Stab Cinematographer For West Oz Clip

Shut up, is that Occy doing punts?!

Sep 20, 2022

Exactly Where, When, And How Stephanie Gilmore Won Her 8 World Titles

Steph has won 341 heats in her 15 years on the CT — let's revisit…

Sep 20, 2022

Footage Of “The Best Wavepool In The World” Leaks From Brazil

A private pool in the heart of São Paulo, brought to you by Perfect Swell.

Sep 20, 2022

WSL Unveils 2023 CT Schedule

Swapping G-Land for Surf Ranch is … something.

Sep 19, 2022

10 Things I’ve Learned, With Michael February

Pearls of Wisdom from Surfing's Most Sage Millennial

Sep 19, 2022