The Talent and Tragedy of a Surf Legend

Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate. This is no more apparent than in the tragic death that befell one of surfing’s greatest figures, Andy Irons. Irons, famed rival of Kelly Slater and the only surfer to ever have won a title at every venue on the Association of Surfing Professionals’ event calendar, passed away in on November 2, 2010 as a result of a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease, with a secondary cause of death listed as “acute mixed drug ingestion.”
Irons’ tragedy is not uncommon. Many men and women suffering from the disease of addiction are blessed with extreme aptitude and abilities in other areas of their lives. However, addiction, if left untreated, invariably reaches a point where it supplants any talent and motivation we may have. Like many others struggling with addiction, Irons also suffered from bipolar disorder which exacerbated his problems with drugs and alcohol. Irons’ story serves as an example of the struggle faced by men and women who face the added difficult of suffering from both addiction and bipolar disorder.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “an estimated 43.6 million (18.1%) Americans ages 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness. In the past year, 20.2 million adults (8.4%) had a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder, also known as co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.” A 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that the highest rates of adults who experienced both substance use disorders and mental illness were between the ages of 26 and 42. Irons, who passed away at the age of 32, is but one example of a talented young person with a bright future ahead of him succumbing to the painful struggle of co-occurring addiction and mental health problems.
“Kissed by God,” a biopic about the life and death of Andy Irons, is set to premiere in May. Ben Mondy, in a recent Surfline article entitled ‘Andy Irons: Kissed by God’ Premieres in May, explains, “While the film deals with the ascent of Irons’ career, from Kauai grom to three-time World Champion, it is the coverage of Andy’s internal demons that is the most illuminating. While outwardly he was one of the most charismatic and popular personalities the surfing world had ever seen, internally he battled with depression.” The biopic is not only intended to show Iron’s achievements, but also to address the issues surrounding the co-occurring addiction and mental health issues that Irons faced every day.

Recovery is possible. You can change your life story into one of hope and redemption by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed Men’s Substance Abuse Disorder and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center located in the heart of Laguna Beach, is staffed with a passionate team of clinicians and care providers dedicated to guiding you or a loved one through the process of healing from addiction. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777