Philip Andrew Irons (July 24, 1978 – November 2, 2010) was an American professional surfer. Irons originally began surfing with his brother Bruce on the shallow and dangerous waves of Kauai, Hawaii, before being spotted by a local surfboard brand and flown to North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii to compete and develop their skill. Over the course of his professional career, he won three world titles (2002, 2003, 2004), three Quiksilver Pro France titles (2003, 2004, 2005), two Rip Curl Pro Search titles (2006 and 2007) and 20 elite tour victories including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing four times from 2002-2006. On September 3, 2010 he won the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti. He and his family hosted the Annual Irons Brothers Pinetrees Classic, a contest for youngsters. The Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 forever "Andy Irons Day". He is the only surfer to have won a title at every venue on the ASP calendar.
|Born||July 24, 1978|
|Died||November 2, 2010 (aged 32)|
|Residence||Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii|
|Height||6 ft 0.5 in (1.84 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|Years active||10 years|
|Best year||Ranked 1st on the ASP World Tour, 2002, 2003 and 2004|
|Career earnings||$1,495,533 |
|Sponsors||Billabong, Von Zipper, Nixon Watches, Kustom Footwear, Dakine|
|Major achievements||ASP World Champion in 2002, 2003 and 2004|
Quiksilver Pro France champion (2003, 2004, 2005)
Rip Curl Pro Search title (2006 & 2007).
|Stance||Regular (natural foot)|
His younger brother, Bruce Irons, is a former competitor on the World Championship Tour of Surfing (WCT). During his childhood Andy regularly lost to Bruce in contests, but that changed once he entered the World Championship Tour. During his professional career, he won three world titles (2002, 2003, 2004), three Quiksilver Pro France titles (2003, 2004, 2005), two Rip Curl Pro Search titles (2006 and 2007) and 20 elite tour victories including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing four times from 2002-2006. On September 3, 2010 he won the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti.
In 2009, Irons withdrew from doing the full ASP World Tour season for personal reasons, though he did participate in a few events. He requested a wildcard entry for the 2010 ASP World Tour season, which was granted by ASP President Wayne Bartholomew. As a result, Irons did not have to re-qualify in 2010 via the World Qualifying Series (WQS). Irons won the Billabong Pro Tahiti 2010.
He was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California in 2008. The Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 forever "Andy Irons Day". He was the only surfer to have won a title at every venue on the ASP calendar.
Billabong produced an "Andy Irons" line of board shorts.
Irons died on November 2, 2010. He was found lying in bed on his back with the sheets pulled up to his chin, by two hotel staff after he had failed to respond to knock on the door and they went in to investigate.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office concludes that Irons died from a cardiac arrest due to a severe blockage of a main artery of the heart. The official autopsy report lists also a second cause of death as "acute mixed drug ingestion", listing alprazolam, methadone, benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) and traces of methamphetamine as the drugs found in Andy's body at the time of his death. Initial press releases cited Dengue fever as the cause of Irons' death; however, the autopsy report conducted by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office were negative for Dengue and other flavivirus. It is unclear why rumors that Dengue fever contributed to Irons' death proliferated.
In response to Irons' death, a World Championship Tour event in Puerto Rico was postponed for two days with competitors holding a "paddle out" memorial service for Irons. Irons had withdrawn from the event citing ill health and was flying back to his home in Hawaii during a stopover in Grapevine, Texas, near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He had reportedly stopped in Miami after leaving Puerto Rico, and early reports said he was put on a saline drip. He was reported to have been vomiting on the Hawaii bound plane before being removed prior to take-off. In the days immediately following his death, it was reported that, in Dallas, an extremely ill Irons had attempted to board his connecting flight to Honolulu at 11:30 a.m. but was turned away at an American Airlines gate—a claim the company denies.
A memorial service was held November 14, 2010 in Hanalei Bay, Kauai. His wife Lyndie and brother Bruce, scattered his ashes outside Hanalei Bay where thousands of family, friends and admirers said their last goodbyes.
Friend and rival surfer Kelly Slater dedicated his November 6, 2010 victory to Irons. "I just want to send my condolences to Andy's family," Slater said:
- "I'm a little overwhelmed right now, but I want to dedicate this to Andy... It's like exact opposites. This doesn't really offset that, I'd give this title away in a second if Andy could come back."
Slater also wrote a candid remembrance honoring the life of Andy Irons on the anniversary of his death; it was also the same day that Slater claimed his 11th ASP World Title in Puerto Rico.
Irons married Lyndie Dupuis on November 25, 2007 in Princeville, Kauai. She was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time of his death. Lyndie gave birth to their son, Andy Axel Irons, in Kauai on the opening day of the Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, December 8, 2010.
Lyndie and Axel continue to live on the Island of Kauai where she and Andy shared a home.
The 2018 movie Andy Irons: Kissed by God (directed by adventure-sport documentarians Steve and Todd Jones) is about the three-time world champion who died at 32 after a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder and addiction. The film features in-depth interviews with Andy’s brother Bruce Irons, his wife Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and Kelly Slater.
The 2005 movie Blue Horizon (directed by surfing filmmaker Jack McCoy), paralleled his life on the WCT tour with that of free surfer, David Rastovich. The film also touched on his long-time rivalry with eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater. Although the film was created in a documentary-like style, there has been some debate over whether or not the film offered an accurate and fair portrayal of Irons' surfing lifestyle. In addition to "Blue Horizon", Irons was also a subject of many other surf films, including his screen appearance in Trilogy, which starred himself, Joel Parkinson, and Taj Burrow.
Rivalry with Kelly SlaterEdit
For me, just being affiliated with Kelly--to be next to him--I mean, that's awesome. He's the ultimate surfer. He's the best surfer in the world. Ever. Best competitive, best free surfer, you name it, and to have my name put next to his everywhere really is flattering. He's the Michael Jordan of our sport. Kelly knows how I feel about him. Despite all the media hype that comes out of a rivalry there's a lot of respect given both ways. People don't realize there are times when we hang out. We'll go check the waves together. We talk about boards. He invited me personally to his contest on Tavarua. There's a ton of respect there.
Slater himself was quoted in a Surfer Magazine tribute for Irons:
Andy was an absolutely gifted individual. I’m lucky to have known him and had the times we had together. I feel blessed that we worked through the differences we had and I was able to learn what I’m made of because of Andy. I got to know a happy, funny, innocent kid who was happy to live every second with the people he loved. I’m so sad. My thoughts are with Bruce and Lyndie and their parents and all of his many friends around the world. It’s a huge and far too premature loss for all of us. He was the most intense competitor I’ve ever known and one of the most sensitive people. He had so much life left in him and it hurts to think about. We look forward to his memory living on with our memories of him and his child on the way. There are a lot of uncles awaiting his arrival. I really miss Andy. He had a really good heart.
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- ABC Sport – Irons mourned as surfing event postponed
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- Surfer Andy Irons Last Drop | OutsideOnline.com
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- Andy Irons: Kissed by God - the Movie, official website.
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