Andy Irons dies; I’m in shock

The news came in an e-mail.

Jodi Wilmott, longtime surfer and media director of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, sent out a media alert that Andy Irons, three-time World Champion, died today. He was just 32.

I’m in complete shock. He was young, he was at the top of his game — he wasn’t supposed to die. Surfers don’t die.

And yet, the surfing world is mourning this loss, and I still can’t get my head around it.

Irons missed his Round 1 and 2 heats at the Rip Curl Search Puerto Rico stop on the ASP Men’s World Tour due to illness and was traveling back to Hawaii when he passed away.

According to the Associated Press, Irons was found dead in a hotel room in Dallas, where he was on a layover en route to his home on Kauai.

According to Wilmott, he had reportedly been battling with dengue fever. But other news reports are saying the cause is still unknown.

Irons was scheduled to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii, which is scheduled to begin next week.

“The thing that I think many of us appreciated the most about Andy was that he was an incredibly real person,” Wilmott told the Associated Press. “Where a lot of champions in sports and celebrities become very guarded and you just wonder sometimes if you’re really seeing who they are, you’ve got Andy Irons 100 percent of the time.”

Despite our close ages — and both growing up and surfing in Hawaii — I never got a chance to meet Irons. But I did see him surf. And let me tell you, he ripped. No question. It didn’t matter which side you were on — Kelly Slater or Andy Irons — you couldn’t deny that the guy could surf.

And to make it worse, his wife, Lyndie, is pregnant and scheduled to give birth to their son and first child in December.

My thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be missed.


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