A lot of famous people only get one day. Caesar Chavez, Christopher Columbus and Martin Luther King Jr. have just a single day dedicated in their honor. The Presidents share one, as do our fallen soldiers. But the surf community is good about remembering, good about paying tribute. Which is why Phillip Andrew Irons gets three days: February 13 (Andy Irons day in Hawaii); November 2 (the anniversary of his passing); and today, July 24, his birthday. Social feeds and surf websites ignite in his honor. Family, friends and fans remember why they loved Andy. And there were so many reasons. What SURFING loved most about Andy — more than the world titles and rivalries and Teahupo’o drops and Indo super sessions — was that he reminded us that it was OK to be human. To be raw. Passionate. Flawed. Complicated. To care and to claim and to punch and to hug and to cry tears of pain and tears of joy. That unfiltered humanity bled into his surfing and you couldn’t help but feel something when you watched him. He would have been 37 today. He would have had a party. He would have gone surfing. He would have inspired us.
He still does, and below are just a few examples. Happy birthday, Andy. —Taylor Paul