Airing: Episode 481, Week of Saturday February 16, 2019
The last message Andy Irons left his wife… a nightmare. It was “So sorry for everything.” One of Hawaii’s favorite sons, died at the age of 32, shortly after that call from a Texas hotel room in November of 2010.
Losing his battle with addiction, fueled by bipolar disorder a mental illness that tortured one of the most gifted athletes of his era. My brother was un-orthodox, wild, you never know what you’re gonna get.
There were two sides to Andy, there was the “we’re on the beach with your friends, high-fiving and and talking rubbish- and then as soon as you’re paddling out for a heat it just switched and he just looked like he wanted to kill you.
Andy Irons kissed by God could have been the film to show a generation. There is a way to break the grip of addiction and rise above mental illness. He overcame a substance fueled near-death experience at age 21 to claim three straight world titles. Instead it is an important sobering Chronicle that can’t be ignored.
So many people live highly productive lives and for them it’s something that sort of hums in the background that may not be that disruptive and that yet for other people it’s hard for them to hold down a job it’s hard for them to form and sustain relationships. There are no write-ups about it and nobody talked about it other than behind closed doors.
Kissed by God is not a surf movie, it’s a life and death movie. One that shows how a man battling his own demons of mental illness was still able to achieve greatness, even as his own grip was slipping away to the opioid drug epidemic. In his heart he wanted his legacy to change lives, to help kids get off of drugs. He wanted his young son Axl to grow up knowing of his father’s global surfing legacy, but it’s his wife Lindy’s work that carries on his dreams, the Andy Irons foundation providing programs for young people struggling with mental illness substance abuse and learning disabilities.
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