“We partied hard, and danced always”
Andy Irons was 25 when he pulled the brown-skinned Californian gal towards him and then pushed the both of them back into the trunk of the tall Ficus tree between First and Third streets, Encinitas.
Andy Irons, a world champ too, but only one-time and not thrice, although he was mid-way through his second, kissed twenty-year-old Ms Lyndie Dupuis who held her breath and felt like, well, how can she explain what it’s like?
To be held, owned, by a Hawaiian god who’d suddenly become, unexpectedly, the most exciting and dominant surfer of his generation?
“He was the most handsome man I’d ever seen and now when I look back at pictures it takes my breath away,” Lyndie says. “So handsome … and so… perfect… he was… perfect… it’s still really hard for me to even look at photos… I always tell my friends I can’t believe how handsome he was. I’m shocked now that he’s not here.”
I still remember, vividly, the Wednesday morning when Taj Burrow fired a text message from Puerto Rico to a mutual friend saying that Andy Irons had been found in a Texas hotel room.
A few calls and I was into the Tarrant County coroner’s office. AI’s body was inside. He’d been found by two hotel workers at the Grand Hyatt at Dallas-Forth Worth airport, dead, bed sheets pulled to his neck, an empty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on the floor beside him.
Andy Irons, who was thirty two, had died six thousand clicks from a wife pregnant with his son Axel and a home gilded by the rays of a Hanalei sun.
Even with the passing of time, it doesn’t get any easier for his widow Lyndie Irons, although now she has Ax, Andy’s lookalike son.
And, today, on the thirteenth anniversary of that terrible day Lyndie posted a tribute to Andy.
I can still hear your laugh. I can still see you dancing (in Axel) and it still feels like yesterday that he you left. Andy taught me the most in my lifetime about how to live. He was the most authentically honest man that loved so hard and so deep. He made time for everyone and never treated anyone differently. He always made time for kids and he gave so much to the community of Kauai. He was so special. He worked so hard to achieve every single goal he set and he achieved them all in his 32 years ♂️! He was an incredible athlete and I will always be his biggest fan.
We partied hard, and danced always. Makes me smile thinking of our wild times together. We had the very best time always. Andy was my best friend and he gave my forever best friend Axel. Andy really lived every single day to the very fullest and I do that with our Axel the best that I can.
I will forever miss that raw pure love from Andy. Feeling blessed through the pain that I got to experience such love and out of that relationship I have my beautiful Axel. My rock !
Hug and love your people hard. We aren’t promised tomorrow !
The year after Andy Irons died, I interviewed Lyndie about her wild husband.
DR: Did Andy dream a lot? Were they sweet dreams, nightmares?
Lyndie: Definitely nightmares. He’d wake up screaming a lot. And, he was talking to Koby Abberton about it. Seems like they had similar dreams. Andy would wake up sometimes screaming out or he’d sit up and start punching the bed. He had some very, very radical dreams, and a lot of them.
DR: Did he describe these dreams?
Lyndie: Sometimes. When he had radical ones. There’s a few I can remember, but I’d prefer to keep them to myself. He definitely had emotional, physical dreams even though he looked so sweet and peaceful when he slept. I look at Axel and get the same feeling. Axel goes a million miles a minute and when he goes to sleep I feel like I can take a breath.
DR: Talk to me about the whirlwind of those world titles, you the gal next to the guy. How about the year he made Kelly cry? That was intenso!
Lyndie: When I was first started dating Andy he’d already won one world title and was already in the middle of his second one and so him winning every contest seemed like the natural order of things. I was shocked if he didn’t make the quarters or the semi finals. He was so happy and so on top of the world. He never second-guessed himself. He was such a magical human, particularly in those world title days. It was like he was floating on air. He never even, it’s so hard to explain it in words. I wish he was here to explain it for me because he was so good with words… But, that year that he beat Kelly in the final was magical in itself. It was so unexpected. I remember G (Graham Stapelberg, the then VP of marketing at Billabong) adding up the points and he was like, “Whoa, Andy, you can actually win this world title.” He wasn’t a long shot for me, and not for Andy either, but for everybody else it was shocking. It was magical and crazy.