Very few things, other than stubbing my toe can bring me to tears. Of those few things the primary one is when monumental things happen in the world of action sports. Good things like watching Tony Hawk pull his 900, or viewing That’s It That’s All for the 100th time. But last year the surf world was struck by something the very opposite of those heart-warming and memorable moments. The sudden death of Andy AI Irons took the global community by total surprise and they are still struggling to come to terms with it 12-months later.
After leaving an event in tropical conditions with suspected Dengue Fever, Irons died in a Texas hotel room, alone and without immediate explanation. As it would later be revealed, Andy was having continuing trouble dealing with his inner demons, and the struggle ultimately cost him his life. The list of reasons why this event was tragic is a lengthy one with everything from his new marriage, expected son, resurgence in the surf world and more positive mindset all being things that should have kept him going.
The other side of it was the poor manner with which the ASP handled the events. Hiding things, masking the details of Andy’s situation and changing the tune of their story multiple times over the the course of the past months. But at the end of the day the reasons, happy or sad to talk about this are now non-issues. The fact of the matter is that one of the most loved and talented surfers the sport has ever seen is no longer with us and the pain that comes with the loss of life is magnified by the truth that he had an immensely positive impact on our world.
My heart continues to go out to those closest to him. That obviously includes the surfers and people involved in AI’s professional life but more importantly to his family, his wife Lyndie, his son Andy, brother Bruce and parents Phil and Danielle. Regardless of how much the surf media talks about his life as a surfer who changed the game, the day he lost his struggle impacted those people infinitely more than any of us outside of that group.
That is not to say that Andy didn’t have an amazing impact on a countless number of people, including myself who will use today to pay tribute for what he did for all of us. So here is my tribute, a simple thank you to AI, a condolence to his family and a few images that will remind us all of the surfer and the man that we said good-bye to one year ago.
Gone, Never forgotten. Mahalo AI