In the days following Irons's death, fans all over the world held paddle-out services to celebrate his legacy, and friends were left to wonder if Irons really would have thrown it all away with something as foolish as a drug overdose. "A lot of us were pretty hopeful that having a son was going to be a major turning point in his life," says one friend of the Irons family. "I've seen Andy be good and bad, but the one thing that cut through all the shit with him was that he was so excited to be a dad."
No matter what information emerges from the medical examiner's office, Irons's life won’t be completely defined by a toxicology report. Instead, when his son wants to learn about his father, he'll be told of a complex man who lived hard and fast, who relished his role in surfing but hated the fame that attended it, and who struggled mightily to overcome problems that he was never able to talk about.
No doubt he'll be told this as well: in a life marked by turmoil, riding waves brought Andy Irons a fleeting sense of peace. Surfing, he once said, "is the closest thing you can feel to being kissed by God."