Andy Iron’s Story – There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story – Story #20

Some times our stories have an ending…



This is the unfiltered life story of three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons. Andy came from humble beginnings on the North Shore of Kauai and rose through the ranks to international surf stardom. He influenced a generation through the public lens as a wild, young phenom, who came to be known as “the people’s champion”. Throughout his life Andy fought an up and down battle with bi-polar disease and drug addiction. Andy passed away suddenly at the age of 32, with his wife 8 months pregnant expecting their first child.

Andy Irons was a three-time world champion surfer. CreditSteve Robertson/Covered Images, Via Associated Press

Andy Irons, a three-time world surfing champion from Hawaii, who died at 32 in a hotel room last November, succumbed to a combination of a heart attack and drugs in his system, according to an autopsy report.

The presence of drugs confirmed rumors that dogged Irons during his surfing career. After winning championships from 2002 through 2004, and cementing his reputation as one of the greatest competitive surfers, Irons baffled the surfing world with erratic behavior. He abruptly quit the 2008 tour, and sat out the 2009 season before making a comeback in 2010.

The autopsy, provided to The New York Times on Wednesday by a publicist for Irons’s family, lists the primary cause of death as a heart attack related to coronary artery disease. The secondary cause is “acute mixed drug ingestion.”

Irons was found in his hotel room in Texas. In the room, the police discovered prescription bottles for Alprazolam, used to treat anxiety, and Zolpidem, a sleep aid, along with tablets containing methadone, a narcotic used to treat pain and opiate addiction. Toxicology tests showed Irons also had cocaine and methamphetamine in his system.

The Irons family hired its own medical examiners to review the report — one of whom disputed whether drugs contributed to Irons’s death. Yet it said it would not contest the medical examiner’s findings, and said Irons had long suffered from mood disorders and drug abuse.

“Andy was prescribed Xanax and Zolpidem (Ambien) to treat anxiety and occasional insomnia — a result of a bipolar disorder diagnosed by his family doctor at age 18,” a statement said. “This is when Andy first began experiencing episodes of manic highs and depressive lows. The family believes Andy was in some denial about the severity of his chemical imbalance and tended to blame his mood swings on himself and his own weaknesses, choosing to self-medicate with recreational drugs.

“Members of his family, close friends, and an industry sponsor intervened over the years to help Andy get clean,” the report said, “but the effort to find balance in his life was certainly complicated by his chemical makeup.”

Irons died Nov. 2 while traveling home to Kauai, Hawaii, from Puerto Rico, where he had been scheduled to compete at the Rip Curl Pro Search, an Association of Surfing Professionals competition. But he withdrew because of a fever.

While returning home, he failed to make a connecting flight during a layover in Dallas. Instead he checked into the Grand Hyatt Hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where he was discovered by hotel staff when he failed to respond to a wake-up call.

In the months afterward, those close to Irons closed ranks, refusing to discuss the circumstances of his death, fueling rumors.


ANDY: The Untold Story of Andy Irons has been privately financed by us, TGR. We believe in the power of Andy’s stories. We believe in helping Andy accomplish his ultimate goal, showing people what it’s like to wrestle with bipolar disorder and opioid addiction.

TGR’s films are typically funded by brand partners and tour sales, neither of these financing channels were appropriate for this film. That is why we are looking for the support of the community, the people who want to honor Andy’s life by helping make this film a reality.

The Andy Irons Story is a documentary film that focuses on the true, untold story of one of the world’s most prolific surfers. The intent of the film is to show the unfiltered life of Andy Irons, one that was filled with energy, passion, success, and challenges. Challenges that pushed Andy to the brink and were both the best parts of Andy and the hardest to handle. The filmmakers, Steve and Todd Jones, wanted to create a film that captured the true essence of Andy Irons – his family, his friends, and those who later realized a friendship that at times was hard to understand.

The film features in-depth interviews with Andy’s brother Bruce Irons, his wife Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and Kelly Slater. Andy’s friends, family, and competitors share their stories of intimacy and fire with Andy Irons throughout the film. The unabashedly honest testimonials compel the story and reveal the very real side of Andy. This is not a film about surfing; this is a film about a person that lived life to its fullest at the top of his industry, but did so facing insurmountable internal challenges. This story is about everything that made Andy Irons the man he was. The filmmakers invite you to be a part of this project and see it through to its fullest extent. The teaser presented here showcases the film’s intent. We’ve shot hundreds of hours of interviews and principal cinematography is wrapped. With your support we can make this film better. The additional support will go towards the finishing touches, including sound design, archival footage remastering, color enhancement, and the soundtrack.

Andy was a legend, a once in a generation talent who dominated his sport and influenced the future of his sport. He grew up and learned to surf North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii. During his professional career, he won three world titles (2002, 2003, 2004), three Quiksilver Pro France titles (2003, 2004, 2005), two Rip Curl Pro Search titles (2006 and 2007) and 20 elite tour victories including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing four times from 2002-2006. On September 3, 2010 he won the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti. He and his family hosted the Annual Irons Brothers Pinetrees Classic, a contest for young surfers. The Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 forever “Andy Irons Day”. He was the only surfer to have won a title at every venue on the ASP calendar.


“The time to tell Andy’s story is now, not because we want to glorify his life or accomplishments but because Andy wanted to share the truth of his struggles to educate future generations. This project is the hardest thing I have ever done. We wanted to shine an honest light on the truth—both the struggles and the triumphs—and tell an accurate story of who Andy truly was.”

Bruce Irons – Andy’s Brother


Andy Irons

Thank you for you.

Thank you for sharing your life and story with us. 

You deserve much praise and honor.

Your story is your glory.

We celebrate you.  

RIP Andy Irons.

If you want to share your story on my blog and join us on our campaign “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story,” please check out the post titled, Please Help Me With My New Campaign – “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story” to learn the mission behind our campaign.

For suggestions and ideas about how to write your story and for directions on how to share your story on my blog, please visit the post titled A Revised Guide – How to Write and Share Your Story For “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.

Thank you in advance for participating and helping our cause of increasing awareness and educating about mental health and mental illness, reducing suicide and ending the stigma of mental illness.

We are on a mission to save lives.

We are on a mission

to improve the quality of people’s lives

who live with mental illness.

Thank you for being you.

Much love and hugs, Sue

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

~Maya Angelou

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights reserved

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