ASP World Tour Rip Curl Pro Search postponed until Friday in memory of Andy Irons
The Assn. of Surfing Professionals, Rip Curl event organizers and pro surfers unanimously decided Wednesday to postpone resuming competition at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico until Friday out of respect for the unexpected death Tuesday of 32-year-old Andy Irons.
Irons, a three-time ASP World champion, withdrew from competition citing illness and was en route back home to Kauai, Hawaii, when he died. His death reportedly was connected to a bout of dengue fever he had contracted.
A paddle-out memorial service attended by top surfers as well as hundreds of admirers was held Wednesday in Porta del Sol, Puerto Rico.
Those in attendance included Kelly Slater, 38, who is on the cusp of clinching his 10th ASP World title.
"We had a nice paddle out for Andy," Slater said. "It was a huge a group of people that got together -- a couple hundred people paddled out. Obviously, everyone is very somber, and it's just devastating news for everyone."
"We're just baffled that he's gone. We just want to send some positive thoughts out to his family -- to his wife, to his brother and to his child that is coming next month. We're all just thinking about that."
Stephanie Gilmore, who on Monday claimed her fourth consecutive ASP Women's World Tour championship, also participated in the memorial paddle out.
"It's a really sad day, and I think everyone is still in shock," Gilmore said. "It's crazy how the world works in mysterious ways. Luckily we're all here together."
"We all did the paddle out and to remember Andy. I think everyone admires him so much and he'll never be forgotten," added Gilmore.
Event organizers will reconvene Friday at 7 a.m. for a possible 7:30 a.m. start.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photos, from top: A paddle-out memorial service for Andy Irons was held in Porta del Sol on Wednesday and was attended by the world’s best surfers and hundreds of admirers. Credit: Kelly Cestari / ASP. Mick Fanning pays tribute to the late Andy Irons during the service. Credit: Kirstin Scholtz / ASP