Surfing on Denial –
MAY 22, 2020 – Although his death came as a shock for the public, in-the-know members of the surfing world were less surprised: Irons had been self-medicating with drugs, particularly opioids, for years.
“It was obviously huge news in the surf industry,” Todd Jones, the co-director of Andy Irons: Kissed by God, tells InsideHook. “It was also international news and was all over CNN. There were a lot of unknowns when he died and the family blocked the coroner’s autopsy. There was all this talk of dengue fever being the cause of death, and there were also rumors that he was depressed and needing pills. There was just clearly a lot of mystery.”
As the autopsy made clear, it was not dengue fever that led to Irons’s untimely death, but rather his struggle with his disorder and drugs he used to pacify it. That struggle is at the heart of Jones’s documentary, which he made over the course of three years while doing around 70 interviews with members of the surfing community and Irons’s family about his opioid abuse and battles with mental health.