Andy Irons Tribute

Two years after his death, we remember Andy at the peak of his powers

In memory of Andy Irons, Kauai's favorite son. 1978-2010. Photo: Ellis


By Chris Mauro
January 2005

By now most people have forgotten there was a time when Andy Irons’ career was on the verge of total collapse. When he was routinely getting beat down by the surprising level of competition he found on tour. During his rookie season, his hopes for re-qualifying dimmed at every stop, and Irons grew disillusioned and bitter.

He went charging full steam down a dangerous path, running fast and loose all over the world, a young star with too much time to kill and no shortage of money. We know Andy took his career to the brink of the abyss, but that wasn’t the half of it. On more than one occasion, he’d put his life on the line.

Turning your life around is no small feat. It’s much easier to surrender to adversity, blame other for your ills and simply play victim. But after watching some friends attain lofty heights on tour—friends he grew up surfing with regularly—the excuses were no longer sitting well with Andy. At some point, he took a long hard look in the mirror and decided he wasn’t happy with who he’d become. So he set out to change his course. With the help of friends and family he did just that…and things got better—a lot better. The incredible turnaround is a personal victory Irons considers the most significant of his life, an accomplishment bigger than any other, even bigger than his incredible run of three consecutive world titles.

Ever since his turnaround Irons has been on fire. He’s won 2 WQS events, 12 WCT events, two Triple Crown titles, and three World Titles in a row. Though hardly anyone realizes it, Irons has already become one of the most dominant surfers in pro surfing history.