“Whoa. Nobody’s doing that.”
This issue took shape around that reverent exclamation. Around unique and remarkable things that made us stop in our robot tracks for a second to actually think: Well, would you look at that? Hmm, how ‘bout that? Shit, check that out.
And then…whoa. Nobody’s doing that.
Nobody was turning heads at Pipe on a Monday and then back galloping toward art-world acclaim by, say, Thursday afternoon — except Danny Fuller; and nobody was caring less while quietly doing more than Josh Kerr; and nobody was even approaching whatever the hell Christian Fletcher has called day-to-day life for the past three decades; etc. There were more examples than pages in the magazine.
But then we realized: Nobody’s done Andy right. Nobody’s said what we think needs to be said about the man and his life and his death. Nobody’s spoken for us and for people who feel the way we did…do…about Andy Irons (and if you’re still picking up this magazine every month, you might well be one of those people). In the atom bomb of sadness and controversy and publicity-seeking that followed Andy’s passing last November, plenty has been said and whispered, written and blogged, assumed and speculated. So much noise. None of it striking quite the right chord. None of it leaving us with the feeling that we still have when we think of Andy.
That is until staff writer Chas Smith walked through my door, sat in my office — the very same office I was in when punched with the initial news of Andy’s death — and read, aloud, an early draft of his rather poetic ode to AI [Andy’s Way, pg 90].
As he read, I recalled things about Andy. Memories flooded back. Admiration welled up again, even in spite of many months in which the outside world has attempted to sully Andy and drag him through the streets and use his demise to push an agenda that was never his own. And I finally felt close to satisfied.
What Chas has written is not perfect and it is not academically exhaustive and it is not “investigative journalism,” but I assure you the piece hits its target. It is meant as nothing more than a reminder — for us, you and I, the ones who knew an Andy no coroner’s report can touch. The ones who remember him for being complex and sincere and amazing, the everlasting definition of passion and spontaneity in and out of the water — something we greatly miss and will always appreciate. No matter what.
The piece belongs in SURFING Magazine. It isn’t for those on the outside trying to sling mud or rubberneck, though Andy’s tragedy opens the door for plenty of that as well. It’s just for us: actual surfers who care to be reminded of the intense, fevered man who’s become, for better or worse, immortal.
Because we’re pretty sure nobody’s doing that, either. —Travis Ferré