Photo by Label Networks of Andy Irons.

Last Drop” posted November 23, 2010 and written by Brad Melekia on, reveals the darker side of the surfing industry, especially what may have lead to 3-time ASP World Surfing Champion Andy Irons death on November 2. What I find incredibly troubling about this, is the amount of secrecy surrounding drug and alcohol abuse in the sport of surfing, and yet it is rarely ever talked about and certainly never covered in surfing media.

Having been around surfing for the last 15-20 years, I%uFFFDd come across hardcore post-surfing event parties, but quite frankly, didn%uFFFDt know the depths of how much the pressure of competition and media hype and the growing problems of alcohol and drug abuse effected pro surfers. Surfing is a tight-knit group and staying quiet about unpleasant things, especially its icons, is a common aspect of this subculture.

However, the fact that this story was written about in and not from core media such as Surfer or Surfing goes to show the nepotism within this sport.

Of course ever since Andy was pronounced dead, people started to question what sort of responsibility his main sponsors may have had as well: Why was he left alone? If he was sick, where were his people? What sort of responsibility do sponsors have when it comes to helping clean up their athlete and does keeping such a problem hidden actually hurt the industry more than it helps as others with problems go undiscovered and issues are masked rather than dealt with?

In this well-researched piece, some of the top icons in surfing, including famed surf photographer Art Brewer, reveal many problems that Andy had with alcohol and drug abuse. Questions are also being asked about the surfing competition organization itself, as the ASP actually has no drug screening like many other pro sporting organizations.

Hopefully, this story will help others who may also have experienced what Andy had gone through, and will force the industry from sponsors to media to event organizers, to take another look at itself and figure out how it can turn the ugly side of a lovely sport into something that deals with such problems and continues the spirit of what the sport represents to so many people.

Here%uFFFDs the story.