I've written a good amount about Andy Irons in this space lately. Details of the true nature of his tragic passing are yet to be determined (though theories have been shared), but the shared memories, photo slideshows and video tributes (like the one below) continue to pour out. Regardless of the nature of his passing, the truth is that it came far too early.
Members of the surfing community – whether a fellow WCT competitor, a sponsor or some grom who once got an autograph – have been hurt. I still feel hurt, especially after watching the video. If you know anything about Andy Irons and surfing and the community around him, you can't help but be moved by the images and words from those who knew, loved and respected him. Dustin Barca, a guy who strikes me as a straight-up heartless, badass, is moved to tears when asked what he'll miss most about AI. Mark Occhilupo, one of AI's closest friends, and a man who's expressed many heartfelt thoughts and memories about AI during his commentating at the Billabong Pipe Masters, offered some insight to his surfing: "How do you explain Andy? I mean, he surfed like a cat on acid."
At the annual Surfer Poll awards Andy Irons was voted the No. 6 surfer. The crew over at the magazine put together the following video tribute. His brother, Bruce, accepted the award on his behalf. If you have the chance, it's worth checking out some of the acceptance speeches from the night, which all make mention of AI.
Take care of your loved ones, and make sure they know how you feel about them.