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Kelly Slater pays tribute to Andy Irons

November 3, 2011 |  8:39 am


Surfing legend Kelly Slater, who won his record 11th world title Wednesday, took time to remember fellow surfer Andy Irons, who died one year ago Wednesday.

"He's always been one of my favorite surfers," Slater told "He was the most intense competitor I've ever known and one of the most sensitive people. He had so much life left in him and it hurts to think" about his death.

A year later, Slater says he still thinks about Irons often.

"It's sort of weird. I was just thinking that a lot of things have come together. With this happening on the anniversary of Andy passing, it makes it more special. It's a way to celebrate my memories of him."

Slater credits Irons with motivating him.

"I feel blessed that we worked through the differences we had and I was able to learn what I'm made of because of Andy," Slater said.

You can read more of Slater's thoughts on Irons at


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-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: Kelly Slater takes part in Wednesday's competition at San Francisco's Ocean Beach en route to another world title. Credit: Kirstin Scholtz / Associated Press