Thousands of people gathered from around Hawaii at Hanalei Bay on Sunday to celebrate the life of three time ASP World Champion Andy Irons.

At the shore of Andy’s cherished home, his family, friends, and those whose lives have been touched by the 32 year old gathered to bid farewell to the surfer, father, brother, son and husband who inspired a generation of surfers.

Andy Irons at a contest in Portugal. Photo: ASP

In the embrace of majestic Hanalei, Andy’s younger brother Bruce led close to 1,000 friends in a paddle out beyond the rising waves to encircle a double-hull canoe that carried Andy’s wife Lyndie, his parents and close friends. On shore, thousands more watched on as Andy’s ashes were released into the sea and flowers poured from a helicopter circling above.

At the same time, synchronized tributes were taking place around the world from Australia to Europe, and mainland USA in the greatest outpouring of aloha the surfing world has ever seen.

The J'Bay surf community paid their respect to one of their own. Photo: Cara Sawyer

Hundreds of people from the Jeffreys Bay surf community gathered on the beach at Supertubes to pay their respects to Andy who had gained the respect of the locals by his smooth style of surfing the waves as well as his support for community issues like opposing the building of a nuclear power plant at Thyspunt.

It was a fitting tribute to a young man whose home-grown achievements, passion for life and family proved that childhood dreams are worth chasing.

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