AI…part one

32 years old.  Just doesn’t seem fair.

I hesitated a bit to write this.  Anyone who has known me longer than five minutes can tell you I’m not overly dramatic, or emotionally involved at all in some cases.  I keep a pretty even keel, try to stay in the pocket and just let things ride.  All that said, I was completely floored last night by the news of Andy Irons’ passing.

For those of us who aren’t more closely aquainted, I’m a bit of a surfing misfit.  I own two boards, countless pairs of boardies, a wetsuit, all the other various paraphernalia…and I make it to the coast maybe once or twice a year.  Maybe.  My favorite break here in Texas is probably ‘Gorda; or maybe Fish Pass when it’s not overrun by longboarders much better than myself.  I follow the surf weekly “just in case”…which is code for never.  I love the water, almost as much as I love the sky, and spend a fair bit of time daydreaming about both.  That’s the background.

While watching election results roll in, I scanned my Twitter app to catch up on the day.  Then I saw the first posting…”@hobgoods ‘praying'”.  I thought it was a bit awkward, but then it was followed by a flood of other messages all relating to AI’s passing.  In Texas no less.  I didn’t know what to say.  It got me thinking a bit.

My favorite AI moment, was the 2005 WCT event in Japan.  Stormy sky and people packed onto this highway overpass overlooking the contest site.  It looked ridiculous online (of course I wasn’t there).  Kelly was going off, boosting air after air.  Andy was waiting patiently out the back.  It didn’t look like he cared that Slater was even there.  Then, after what seemed like forever (was it a 45 min. heat?), AI drops into the hollowest wave of the day, gets shacked, gives a mini-claim, and then after a huge closet-out hack, gives a two-fisted jab to beach…which I was also doing in my office in Austin.  As cheesy as it sounds, it was like everyone online and in-person was sharing the moment.  Classic.

Listen to what AI has to say about surfing below:

Hear those lyrics to the music?  This video debuted just before AI took down the World Tour event at ‘Chopes this year.  It was a monumental occasion in which everyone was so amped for him, grateful to see him back in top-form, glad to see him dominating.  It was like a collective exhale took place in the surfing community and said, “AI is back.”

Yes you are Andy.  A legend we won’t forget.

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