Sunday, November 7, 2010

Highs & Lows

Both of these stories are spewing out of every surf media outlet right now, but being a surfer, and with surfing informing most of the content of this here blog, I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't acknowledge the bipolar week that surfing has just experienced:

First up, at the end of October the tectonic plates that meet along the Indonesian archipeligo rumbled into life again and an undersea earthquake triggered a three metre tsunami that swept across the Mentawaii island chain off Sumatra. Over 300 souls were lost in the area, long held as the surf worlds garden of Eden but vulnerable to these acts of a grumbling planet. Surf Aid International are on the ground delivering aid, you can donate here.

Then this Wednesday, the 3rd of November the news broke that former 3x world champion Andy Irons had been discovered dead in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas, reportedly succumbing to dengue fever on his way home to recover in Hawai'i. Irons was a man who polarised surfers opinion; an incredible talented surfer he was the only competitor who's ever really taken the fight to Kelly Slaters dominance and wrestled several world titles from him, however he was also extremely competitive and appeared to have the arrogance to accompany this. Therefore as you'd expect when an athelete in his prime succumbs to illness, detractors have turned on the rumour mill. Whatever your opinion though, there's no denying that one of the most naturally talented surfers on planet Earth has checked out early, and the real tradegy is that his wife is expecting their first child in a months time. Friend and photographer Dustin Humphrey wrote a really nice eulogy here, and if you want to see the man in his prime go watch the final section of One Track Mind - it'll blow your mind.

And then yesterday, Kelly Slater hit number 10 in '10. Phenomenal. The man who has dominated competitive surfing for a generation just took out his tenth world title in Puerto Rico at thirty eight years old, eighteen years after he won his first - here's the breakdown:

1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010.

The guy has a pact with Neptune, I'm certain of it.

Both images via the photographic genius of Dustin Humphrey.

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