This week has been a whirlwind of emotion for San Franciscans. Our beloved Giants won the World Series, we exercised our right to vote on the midterm election, and then we lost one of the greatest surfers of all time, Andy Irons.
The news was first broken by the Honolulu AP and picked up by the Los Angeles Times.
As his family and the surfing world mourns the young surfer’s death, the mystery remains: how did this happen?
Irons left Puerto Rico with Dengue Fever. He never made it home to Kauai. Allegedly, some heavy duty sleeping pills and methadone (a drug used to overcome heroin addiction) were found at his bedside.
Did Irons battle drugs quietly before finally falling under the sword of overdose? Or did the virus he carried need hospital attention?
Some think it’s disrespectful to even ask such questions, but as a journalist I feel it’s important to know the truth.
The truth provides closure and gives meaning to senseless deaths. At some point over the next few weeks, toxicology tests will reveal this truth, and the last piece of the puzzle will be complete.
In the meantime, and forever, let’s honor the three time ASP world champion pro surfer for being what a friend of mine described in meeting him as “kind and humble.”
Irons leaves behind a big family, a soon to be mother and wife, and a surfing world that has idolized him since his early days as a teenage surfing prodigy.
Andy, we miss you. Those who knew you well, and those who only watched your skillful maneuvers from afar, hoping to one day give you props. May you rest in peace.
A few more thoughts from Lara Novak, a surfer friend traveling in Australia:
“Andy’s passing is on everybody’s mind in Oz. I am on the Gold Coast, the epicenter of the surfing industry and all the flags are at half staff. He’s not even Aussie. I talked with Andy for a minute after his heat at the Quiky Pro. Chatted small talk and about the waves, he asked where I was from. Point Arena. HE KNEW POINT ARENA! I was blown away. I asked him for a photo after our convo, Steve Sherman was standing next to me (awesome photog), I asked him to take our photo. Steve didnt’ know how to work the camera of mine — It took 3 tries! Poor Andy. He was really sweet.”