Andy Irons, have you heard of him?
The blue collar pro-surfer who took on Kelly Slater head-to-head, winning three world titles, conquering the world of surfing, and dying suddenly of a drug overdose at age 31. That's the quick version.
This DYNAMIC and PASSIONATE surfer was one that I followed closely.
One because his rise-to-fame in the surfing world paralleled the birth and learning curve in my surfing history. Second and probably the more influential of the two was that I often was told I looked 'like' him. This isn't me on an ego trip or a wish list of fame. It really happened. Literally one day while heading back to my car after surfing a spot north of Malibu. I was stopped by a fellow surfer heading out. While staring at me through the squint in one eye he asked, "are you who I think you are"?
I wasn't sure who he thought I was at the time.
"Andy", he said.
"Nope", I said smiling.
Fact was, I would have loved to have been Andy and who wouldn't. A GOOD LOOKING, WORLD-TRAVELING, PRO-SURFER with a HOT GIRL FRIEND! This guy was 'living the life'. It would be a dream come true to step into those shoes. So I enjoyed the idea that I and my subpar surfing skills could be consider in such company. How MISGUIDED I was.
Andy's death, while described medically as an 'acute mixed drug ingestion', has been a mystery to me.
Surfing and drugs are like oil and water. Where do those two elements come together? I had heard of a rise of meth-head surfers charging the line up in 2006. And while living for a short time in Santa Cruz, I even feel like I came across a few in my time in the water. Then again it's hard to say, maybe they where just excited to be out surfing.
Why would you even need more than the surf?
Why would Andy ever need more? But then I didn't really know Andy. Look like him or not, I only 'knew of him'.
His departure from the surfing world also paralleled the end of my own obsession to surf. I had given up a profession, relationships, financial stability, and all around focus on anything outside of surfing. I had literally driven myself to my last dime, even taken on large amounts of credit card debt on for surfing trip after surfing trip. So I was able to related to surfings addictive nature, but it still didn't answer the questions to his death by overdose as a pro-surfer.
I decided to solve my addiction to surf by moving away to Italy, where surf wasn't available to me (and my new love was). Andy by this time was gone. The questions that arose about his life and death where now sealed off to a few members that knew him best. His life and death was locked in a vault of those who knew him best.
Then Teton Films announced they where prepping to retell his story in their new project, Andy: The Untold Story of Andy Irons and I was bursting for information. Reaching out to the team. I learned a little about there plans to complete post-production, but no one was prepared to speak further on a release date. I noticed a fundraiser on Kickstarter that was taken down before coming shy of it's goal. And questions arise whether or not it will be released and when?
Now waiting patiently for it's arrival. I look forward to filling in the blanks of Andy's story and learning how a mutual lover of surf got so lost in the mix of addictions bigger than himself. I am intrigued to know of his struggles with bi-polar disorder and uncover what he added to the lives of the people who loved him most. Watching the trailer for a short second, I was back in my own glory days of surf. I was young and dreaming that I was like him again. I can only hope that the film will bring me a little of the joy I got from people thinking that I was and a little resolution on what happened in the end.
Help fund this project on Kickstarter here: http://kck.st/2e8ARUv
Watch the teaser exclusively here:
And learn more about Teton Gravity Research and their great work history here:
TGR is the leading brand in action and adventure culture media company. TGR’s world-class storytelling has captivated audiences for more than 21 years. With a global, multi-channel footprint, a thriving millennial audience, award-winning multimedia film projects, a rapidly growing experiential platform, and unprecedented viral content, Teton Gravity Research is one of the fastest growing media brands on the planet. TGR is a proud member of Surfrider Foundation, 1% For The Planet, BICEP, IMBA, and Protect Our Winters. For more information on TGR, visit TetonGravity.com.
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