Spending time with Lyndie Irons on the North Shore feels like stealing time with the surf community’s most guarded queen. She is disarmingly pretty, and protective eyes atop massive frames make sure she’s safe. She’s the other half of a growing legend. The man who renamed Pipe Masters.
I met her for the first time standing in very soft grass in the front yard of the Billabong House. A violent swell had just begun filling into Pipeline, which roared in front of us, and her son Andy Axel Irons was running around the front yard. He had just tackled a friend and was looking wild and mischievous. Another woman in the yard offered to look after the kids, and Lyndie and I walked on the bike path from Pipeline to Rocky Point, where she had agreed, just a few hours earlier, to do an interview.
On the five minute walk, she said she felt very lucky that Billabong still let her stay at the house, and that the love and support she feels from the surf community is unending. She also said she dearly misses everyone. She doesn’t tour the planet anymore with the rest of the nomadic World Tour family, and as a result, when Andy passed away, she lost regular contact with a lot of people. Now, life on Kauai is quiet. She works hard on her bikini company, Acacia Swimwear, and takes care of her three year old son. He hasn’t gotten on a surfboard yet. She thinks it’s because he can feel the weight of the world’s expectations. That he knows he’s expected to surf. His third birthday was a “small kine raga” with slip n’ slides and boogie boards on the beach at Off the Wall. He looks so much like Andy it’s crazy.
Discussing the memory of a spouse must be torturous, and I hadn’t seen Lyndie do any interviews before. I assumed that was intentional, so when she agreed to meet, I was surprised. But she’s ready to talk. In fact, she’s in the beginning stages of producing a film about Andy that she hopes will reveal his character beyond surfing, as well as the truth – from her perspective. She says she plans to do right by his legacy, honor the memory of her husband and the father of her son, while also being honest.
I look forward to seeing it. In the meantime, here’s Lyndie being honest on a rainy day on the North Shore. The day before the the 2013 ASP World Title would be decided between Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning at Pipeline.
She was rooting for Mick. – Zach
Portrait by Maui Maka Photography