On the eve of his incredible 11th World Surfing Title, Kelly Slater took the time to sit down an ink an article for theinertia.com, an independent online surf publication, on the life and memory of his only true rival, Andy Irons, who passed away exactly one year ago.
It’s an amazing insight into the lives of champions, the super-men that we put on pedestals, and the candid moments that are so undeniably human.
Andy and Kelly had a very simple or very complicated relationship, depending on how you look at it, but hearing Kelly speak so honestly about their love and hate for each other is quite touching.
Here is an excerpt, read the whole article on the Inertia here.
“I’ve been asked for many opinions and interviews about Andy Irons and the situations and decisions that lead to his early departure from our world. It’s not something I take lightly. I have my own opinions about not only Andy’s choices and how he ultimately got to the place he did, but also about the way these things are handled from all sides of the story. But what is right? And whose opinions actually matter other than those of his family and closest friends about who they knew and how they feel inside? What is it that each of us hopes to take away from the Andy Irons story? And what is it that we want to give to the story of his life?”
(Kelly also shares a couple anecdotes about his and Andy’s battles, physical ones.)
“I’ll share a story, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just say this: We got really drunk on a Tavarua trip. We got into a shouting match. I said something about him thinking he’s the man for winning a couple of contests. He screamed and laughed at me, “You’re going baaaalllldddd, hahahaha.” I told him he’d know how I felt when his father passed away, and he started kicking me in the face. (I had earlier punched him in the face in a crazy 10-man wrestling match in a taxi). Then Shane Dorian tackled him and pulled him off me telling him my father had just died a few weeks ago. Andy started crying hysterically and hugging and apologizing to me for the next half hour before he went to bed and then apologized again the next day. In some weird way I think I just wanted him to know that I was hurting because he had a way of just sorta being tough even though he was one of the most sensitive guys in the world. “