Andy Irons: 50 facts about the Hawaiian surf legend

Surfing
Andy Irons: a surf legend and a prolific tube rider | Photo: Karen Wilson/ASP

Andy Irons functioned at a different level than everybody else. At the beach, he was all smiles. But as soon as he paddled out for a heat, he switched to killer instinct.

Andy Irons was a wild, unorthodox, rock star, power surfer with a fearless, raw talent. He will always be remembered for being a ferocious and radical free surfer, and a ruthless competitor with a daunting dark side.

Joel Parkinson once said that Andy "lived in 32 years what most people would take 132." He's right. Andy could be aggressive - an intimidating competitive animal that was addicted to winning. If he wasn't winning, he wasn't happy.

And then we would turn into a funny, loving, caring man, always willing to give and share.

Today, and despite his passing, Andy Irons lives. The Hawaiian will forever be remembered for his provoking thoughts, beautiful surf lines and style, and for being one of the best tube riders of all time.

Let's dive into the obscure, intense and emotional life of the one and only, the always unpredictable Andy Irons.

Andy Irons: his favorite surf spot was Pine Trees | Photo: Tostee/ASP

1. Philip Andrew Irons was born on July 24, 1978, in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii;

2. He is the eldest son of Phil Irons - a carpenter-surfer from California - and Danielle Tache;

3. Phil won a surf contest in 1967 and earned a trip to Hawaii. He never got back to California;

4. Andy Irons started surfing when he was eight-years-old. His favorite surf spot was Pine Trees;

5. He shared a room with his brother Bruce until he was 15, and had posters of Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox and Mark Occhilupo on the wall;

6. In the first wave Andy ever caught, he went "left, right, left, and the wave never broke";

7. In his first contest ever, Irons lost to a girl and quit competitions for a year;

8. Andy won the junior and men's division of the 1996 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) championships;

9. His pro career skyrocketed after winning the HIC Pipeline Pro in 25-foot surf;

10. Andy Irons suffered what could be considered the worst wipeout of his career during the 1998 Pipeline Masters. He went over the falls after failing to take off on a 10-to-12-foot bomb, and his board was broken in four pieces;


11. In 2000, Andy and Mick Campbell were having a shower after a heat in France. Suddenly, and after exchanging a few words, the Australian punched the Hawaiian. Irons answered by trying to hit Campbell with his surfboard;

12. In 2001, Andy and Bruce launched the Annual Irons Brothers Pine Trees Classic, a contest for kids and dedicated to promoting the aloha spirit;

13. The famous Andy Irons versus Kelly Slater rivalry becomes a real thing in 2003, as both surfers fight shoulder to shoulder for the ASP World Tour title;

14. In that same year, Andy beat Kelly in the final of the Pipeline Masters, in a historical winner-takes-it-all matchup. For many, it is the single best heat in the history of surfing;

15. Australian surfer Taj Burrow bet $1,000 that Kelly Slater would beat Andy Irons in the 2005 Billabong Pro J-Bay final. He won, and Luke Egan had to pay the bill;


16. Andy Irons won the 2007 Rip Curl Pro Search Chile high on coke and pills;

17. The surf legend once tried ice skateboarding, but he hated it;

18. Andy never said no to people who wanted to take a picture with him or get his autograph;

19. The Hawaiian surfing star believed "Teahupoo is the balls to the wall craziest wave in the world for sure";

20. Andy Irons was 6' tall and weighed 170 pounds;

Andy Irons: he won his last event at Teahupoo in 2010 | Photo: Bielmann

21. One day, on his way to a party, Andy rolled his truck into a reef, left it there, and still made it to the party;

22. Irons struggled with a severe opioid addiction, which included OxyContin;

23. Andy Irons was inducted into Huntington Beach's Surfing Walk of Fame in 2008;

24. When Mick Fanning won his second world title in 2009, he had a surprise party at Turtle Bay Resort. Suddenly, Andy punches him in the face and says: "I wanted you to remember exactly the first time you saw me after you won."

25. Andy Irons was found dead, aged 32, in a hotel room at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on November 2, 2010, after missing a connecting flight to Kauai;


26. He had pulled out of the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico citing an illness contracted in the previous event held in Supertubos, Portugal;

27. The autopsy revealed that Irons passed away due to an explosive combination of drugs and a heart attack;

28. Andy left his last words on Lyndie's phone: "Lyndie, it's me. I can't deal with this. I'm sick. I was throwing up on the plane. It was hell. I am going to try to sleep all day here. Love you. Bye";

29. Kelly Slater won his 11th world title on the day Andy Irons died;

30. Slater tried to call Andy's phone after knowing he had left Puerto Rico but got no answer. He also sent him a couple of SMS, but still got no reply. Half-an-hour later, Andy was found dead on his bed;

Andy Irons: a competitive animal with a ferocious attitude | Photo: Tostee/ASP

31. When the Hawaiian surfer died, his wife Lyndie Irons was seven months pregnant of the couple's first child. Andy never met Axel;

32. The Andy Irons memorial paddle out gathered hundreds of fans, friends and family members at Hanalei Bay, in Kauai, in one of the largest surfing celebrations ever held;

33. The ashes of Andy Irons were scattered by Bruce Irons on that day;

34. The Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 as "Andy Irons Day";

35. Andy suffered from bipolar disorder and would often plummet into profound depression;

36. Andy Irons has been nicknamed the "People's Champion";

37. The Hawaiian won three consecutive ASP World Tour titles in 2002, 2003, and 2004;

38. He also conquered 20 Championship Tour (CT) events;

39. Irons claimed four Pipeline Masters titles in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006;

40. "Andy Irons: Kissed by God" is the official story of the Hawaiian surfing legend. The documentary features in-depth interviews with Bruce Irons, Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and Kelly Slater;

Andy Irons: he was a fantastic aerial surfer | Photo: Bielmann

41. Billabong was a huge part of Hawaiian's life. The surf brand continues to support his son through the Andy Irons Forever clothing collection;

42. The Hawaiian surfer won four Triple Crown of Surfing titles in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006;

43. Bruce Irons says his brother Andy caught the best wave of his life at Teahupoo, after stealing it from him;

44. Cory Lopez was one of Andy Iron's best and closest friend;

45. The rivalry between Andy Irons and Kelly Slater is documented in "A Fly in the Champagne";


46. Andy Irons never like playing video games, and was a disaster at golfing;

47. The best movies featuring the Hawaiian star are "Raw Irons," "Momentum: Under the Influence," "Campaign," and "High 5";

48. Mark Occhilupo once said that "Andy Irons surfed like a cat on acid";

49. There's an undeleted scene from "Fair Bits" featuring Andy Irons, Donavon Frankenreiter and... Ben Stiller;

50. The Andy Irons Foundation celebrates the life and legacy of the Hawaiian legend by providing programs for young people struggling with mental illness, and drug abuse;