The Wait Is Nearly Over For Andy Irons: Kissed By God
And it will leave you speechlessRead more
About a year ago a trailer was released for the documentary Andy Irons: Kissed by God. It was remarkable mostly for the footage of just about every surfing hero crying at the loss of one of surfing’s greatest champions. Of course, comment boards raged. Many screamed the film would be nothing more than a sentimental tribute that glossed over or avoided the truth about Andy’s alleged substance abuse and the role that the industry and surf culture in general may have contributed to his struggles. Others were calling the opposite, saying that this looked like the opportunity the surfing community had long needed, a presentation of hard truth that might just have us all looking in the mirror and asking how did we come to this? One thing was certain, everyone wanted to watch this thing. And then it disappeared. But not quite.
For nearly 8 months I’ve been sworn to silence about the Andy movie. I got a glimpse of it at a Billabong wettie launch last year and it was… gnarly. How gnarly? When the film finished nobody wanted to talk about it. Everybody just walked out of the room internalizing… Many of the people there knew Andy and it was clearly confronting. For the rest of us, there was only sadness and reflection. We’d been given an intimate window into the life of a brilliantly talented surfer who struggled with many demons. That he died so young, before the birth of his first son, meant this was never going to be a film you walked out of feeling any sense of triumph. We’ll always remember the surfing and Andy’s character… we just wish he was still here.
There will only ever be one Andy Irons. The charismatic, loud, confident, competitive, explosive, wild and brilliant Kauaian changed everything. He loved huge but took on any with enemy with unbridled and often comical ferocity. Most memorably, he wanted to crush Kelly Slater’s pretty little picture, and he did it many times in surfing’s truly most epic rivalry. All that is touched on and its gold, but it’s the larger human story of Andy’s life – charged with raw emotion – that takes this film to another level.
You’ll watch intimate interviews with Lyndie, Bruce, Reef, Kala, Kaiborg, Riddle, Kelly, Mick, Joel and countless more, as they touch on memories from Andy’s journey from fast talking Kauaian grom, to world beating rock-star, to friend, community leader, confidant, rival and husband. It’s raw as you might expect and a credit to the filmmakers at Teton Gravity who from the outset were determined to tell the real story of Hawaii’s greatest champion revealing the challenges of his bi-polar condition as well as his struggles with drug addiction. The dark times, terrifying flashes, mood swings, psychosis and overdose are all in there as they should be, and will serve to help anyone suffering in silence to seek help from friends and loved ones, and indeed, encourage those of us who have friends in the same situations to never give up on someone in need.
Teton Gravity have absolutely knocked this thing out of the park. It’s got teeth but it also has heart which any movie about Andy MUST have if it is to be honest with its audience. And of course, you will witness incredible surfing from a three times World Champion as he shreds the living daylights out of anything that comes his way. I dare say it will also leave you feeling sad and somewhat empty. Andy died eight years ago. He would have been 40 this year. He never met his son. He left this Earth too young and when you watch this movie you realise once more just how much that sucks.