Staring At 17th

posted by / News / March 2, 2010


Words by Chas Smith; Photos By Nate Lawrence

Andy Irons lost 30 minutes ago to Bobby Martinez. The surf today is strange. Some amazing waves come through but they are strange. Big enough but strange. Windblown. The sun is out.

Andy surfed well, but also lethargically. He attempted two carving 360s that were so languid and loose. If he could have pulled they would have been glorious. But he didn’t. Bobby ground out thick turns and hacks and whatnots. All aggression and energy. Andy tried. But he also didn’t.

And as time clicked down he needed a big score on a big wave. One came through but he miss timed the paddle and didn’t catch. Time continued to click.

Then a lesser wave appeared. Andy paddled in, popped to his feet and then did a chop hop right in the middle of the face. High and stylish but still a chop hop. He carved around and fell. Another wave came. He took off fins first and fell. The buzzer sounded.
From his water antics it appeared that Andy didn’t care. They said this is all just surfing and fun and a good time and winning ain’t everything and I am married to a beautiful woman and the sun is totally out!

But I saw his face as he neared shore. It said this is important to me and fuck losing and I hate fucking losing and losing is shit and I don’t care if the sun is totally out. His brow was furrowed, his mouth drawn tight. He killed people with his eyes.

Andy heads out to digest his bitter pill.  Photo: Nate Lawrence

Andy heads out to digest his bitter pill. Photo: Nate Lawrence

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  • Jon Jon

    Shoots i had him on my fantasy surfer team

  • jake

    then he hit the rack and everything was better again

  • jeff

    Please. No more Chas Smith.

  • Imaikalani

    I am blown away that professional writers for this magazine use the kind of language that appeared in the article above to express themselves. Does this magazine have any journalistic integrity?

  • Surf star

    WTF… why does surfing mag allow this uneducated (and apparently drunk) bumbler to write for them? Heard of editing, Chas? Or grammar?… Grow up surfing mag – we are not all 12 year old boys who can barely read…

  • The One Son

    Gone are the days of not training against the big boys and relying on pure natural talent. If A.I. every wants to compete at their (Fanning, Parko, Slater, and even Adriano) level he is going to have to train and get fit. He looks pudgy and slow right now. Yes, he’s still throwing a few sick hacks here and there, but here and there don’t cut it anymore.

  • BK

    why the love for AI? He looks terrible and barely good enough to be surfing against the talent out in the water these days. He had MAYBE two turns that looked like the caliber of the rest of the field. Roy Powers must be banging his head right now after watching that heat with Bobby.

  • toes on the nose

    wow, you guys sure know how to pick a writer, some one otta put a leash on the puppy, Drop him at the air port on the first plane back to so cal… Chas your fired….. Donkey….. AI gona beat your ass.

  • tofu you

    THis Chas guy gotta take his job alittle more seriously. Come on buddy?


    I’d like to watch him through his windows, hidden in the bushes, staring, stalking, sweating


    CHAS!!!, Call me, we’ll do lunch

  • Jeremy

    AI is the man that why Surfing is all up in his crap. He is going to make a comeback this year you fools watch.

  • Pt Dume Steez

    this is the kookiest article i have ever laid my eyes on

  • Mik

    Andy went off on the waves that allowed it. There is no doubt that he is still a potential world champ. I am surprised a bit that he gets so easily frustrated about being behind, and then forcing things. I mean here is the champion of going for big big big maneuvers in the riskiest places on a wave. Andy just needs to settle into his style of surfing and block out the current trend. His own approach is still masterful, powerful, explosive, and dominating. He lost the heat because he tried the carving 360. Yes, Slater pulled one off in his first heat, but it is a very risky maneuver. Slater blew like five of them last year, and it cost him dearly too. I’m glad Andy looked unhappy, because he should care. But balanced men get over it quickly. Andy Irons is an awesome surfer and an awesome human being. I think he was bummed that the media painted him as being a competitive robot who was alienated from the rest of the tour. So he tried to go the other way and show he was as wild as everyone else. There are consequences to that, too. You can get out of touch with the ocean. That is why Slater is so amazingly successful. He is in tune with himself, and with the ocean. So A.I.: Let go of the past. Just surf contests the way they need to be surfed, and when you have opponents on the ropes, then blow up. Don’t do it too soon. These guys are all so close, there is no room for error at the top. Especially in storm surf where floaters are twice as risky as normal.

  • jamie

    Chas is live marmite, u either luv or hate his writing style.
    I’ve been a fan since he covered the Euroleg in Stab. It works well with my ADD

  • jamie

    I dont see Andy making the cut, he peaked & quit ages ago.
    Just said he’ll come back after a year to keep the cashflow.
    Coming back and losing is gonna do him more harm than whateva he was on b4

  • mic

    Chaz is just terrabel please bring on cunthope oups wrong mag any way get rid of chaz please. Andy needs to make up his mind. Its a fact in modern sport or in life you can’t win sitting on the fence. O and by the way get rid of Chaz.

  • Jay

    i think if you have a half a brain and watched that heat you saw him trying too hard….the last two waves he caught were clearly “I don’t give a fuck”….it was sad.

  • jake1

    glad i’m not the only 1 who thinks Chas is a dumbass. he is kinda growing on me though. like a bad movie that all of a sudden you think is hilarious.

  • Ed

    Chas Smith’s writing = his version of the truth.
    Reckon we’re all secretly fascinated when someone sticks their neck out – love to diss them of course – tall poppy is integral to a hard-core surfer persona is it not? Something mesmerising about someone who’s not afraid to cop flack doing what they do – polarises opinions – kinda makes us all look like vain fools and we do/don’t like that do we?! damn I’m confused.

    Keep it up Chas, soon the haters will fall quiet as the tide of surfer public opinion turns and you’ll be free to move on. That sounds sarcastic but it wasn’t.