We are a family. We are kids who suit up in cold parking lots, pre-dawn, pre-school. We are twenty-nothings who love a fresh, clean rail. We are babes with the cutest ever cutbacks. We are pros who surf super well and are generally handsome. We are a family and yesterday Andy Irons’ toxicology report was, again, delayed by court order and the outside world will bellow that an evil conspiracy is afoot. They will insist they have a right to the truth and they will angrily denounce the way our family takes care of its business. And many who surf will even agree.
And they can go to hell.
The family knew about Andy. Knows about him. The family liked to surf with him and party with him and dance with him and sing with him and laugh with him and get screamed at by him, occasionally, and suffered with him and also became worried when he pushed it too far. And, yes, he pushed it too far. Many, and those closest, tried to help him. Did everything they could to help him. But Andy Irons was an adult and made his own decisions.
He was an adult. He made his own decisions.
And drugs, as a social/moral issue, are already the playground of the hypocritical. Self-righteous souls medicating their own pain with prescription pharmaceuticals and the occasional big night and drink drink drinking whilst wagging condemning fingers at those who dabble or become ensnared in the wrong sorts. The dangerous sorts.
And so the deliciousness, the salaciousness, of a young and handsome and wild surfer being possibly felled by wrong, dangerous drugs and all the tawdry details being kept quiet by the family is almost too much.
The outside world wants it all, the judgment, the smugness, and mask their lust for dirt beneath cloaks of honest concern and the demand for journalistic integrity. And many who surf will even agree.
And they can continue to go to hell.
His death is a tragedy of epic proportions but Andy Irons lived his life to epic proportions. He was bigger than virtually everything. And the chemical compounds floating in black and white on a toxicology report, whenever it is released, change nothing. Absolutely nothing. For floating alone, divorced from the endless complexities of his life, they are no better than statistics. Worse than damned lies.
And the family kept, and keeps, his failures behind a closed door precisely because we are a family. The automatic assumption that Andy’s struggles while he lived and the exact causes of his death, and all of his ghosts should have been made totally completely public is ludicrous. It was public enough. The family knew. The family knows.
Golf and Hollywood and the French government can do whatever the fuck they want. They ain’t surfing. We are. We are small and selective and do not believe in the democratization of knowledge. We do what is right for us.
And as the external media, journalists, tabloids, men’s magazines, angry internet frothers, hypocrites attempt to paint a picture of the man, working backwards from what they will eventually find on a toxicology report; and as they wax eloquent about theoretical industry pressure on the magazines to shut their collective mouth; and as they lecture and churn and decry and foam they can forever go to hell. Because, and again, we are a family. A diverse family, a dysfunctional family, a sometimes dark family but also a tight family. The best family.
We knew Andy Irons. He was one of us. And his epic plays on. Nothing changes that. Nothing ever will. And our family marches forth. —Chas Smith