The surfing world has reacted with shock and sadness to news of Andy Irons’ untimely death on Tuesday, with the Rip Curl Pro Search in Puerto Rico postponed until Friday.
Organizers of the event decided to put the competition on hold until Friday as a mark of respect to the 32-year-old, who was found dead in his hotel room on Tuesday after becoming sick from suspected Dengue fever. Respects had already been paid with a ‘memorial paddle-out’ at Porta del Sol yesterday.
Many of the great and good of surfing have been paying their tributes and expressing their shock.
"Everyone had their own connection with Andy." –Kelly Slater
“We had a nice paddle-out for Andy,” said current ASP World Tour leader Kelly Slater. “It was a huge a group of people that got together – a couple of hundred people paddled out. Obviously everyone is very somber and it's just devastating news for everyone.
“Everyone had their own connection with Andy on so many different levels… Although he and I butted heads a lot a few years ago, I have so many good memories of Andy and we have become pretty good friends since.
“It was nice for everyone to be together to have a chance to talk about him, about our memories: a little laugh, a little cry. We just want to send some positive thoughts out to his family – to his wife, to his brother, and to his child who is coming next month. We're all just thinking about that.
"We are all hurting right now and we're just wanting to pay our respects." –Mick Fanning
“We enjoyed many quiet times together with our girls in the last year and I got to know a happy, funny, innocent kid who was happy to live every second with the people he loved. I'm so sad,” added Slater.
“It's a really sad day and I think everyone is still in shock,” said newly-crowned Women’s ASP champion Stephanie Gilmore. “It's crazy how the world works in mysterious ways. Luckily we're all here together. All the girls were down here. We all did the paddle-out to remember Andy.
“No matter where you were or how busy he was, he'd stop and say hi and ask how you were going… I think everyone admires him so much and he'll never be forgotten.”
“It was good having the paddle-out, getting everyone together,” said Mick Fanning, the reigning ASP world champion. “We're a surfing family. We all look out for each other. Just for us to paddle out and show our respects to Andy, to his family, to all his friends on Kauai and Hawaii – it's good. We are all hurting right now and we're just wanting to pay our respects.
"He was a friend, he was an inspiration…" –Julian Wilson
“Andy was incredible. I think he was a person that always wore his heart on his sleeve. He didn't try to impress anyone. He was just all about what he wanted to do," Fanning added. "He was an amazing competitor; he was an amazing friend. And also, he was a brother. I haven't just lost a friend, I've lost my brother here. It's hard to take.”
“I’m not going to claim I was Andy’s best friend in the world. However, I did have a really good relationship with Andy as well as Bruce, and I look up to him in many ways,” said Julian Wilson. “He was a friend, he was an inspiration and he is a hero to me and many more. I will miss him and I want to send my best wishes to Lyndie and the baby, Bruce and Mia, his parents and the rest of his extended family.”