As a teenager Andy Irons was heralded as the next Kelly Slater.
Last season the 24-year-old native of Kauai, Hawaii, justified
the hype by winning his first world surfing title. In 2003 he has
continued to barrel through opponents, with three wins in five
starts entering next week's Billabong Pro in South Africa. Here's
what he's bringing to his third continent this season.
Hawaiian Island Creations ($515) www.hicsurfshop.com
This 6'2" board with a squash tail is my moneymaker. It's super
loose and whips around quickly in small waves. It does whatever I
want in the water. I'm saving this for my next big contest, in
Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa, because it helped me take the
$30,000 first prize at the Quiksilver Pro at Nii-jima Island,
Japan, [in late June].
Ahead: The Movie ($25) www.aheadhawaii.com
I've got more than 80 surf videos, and this one is in heavy
rotation. I grew up with cinematographer Kamalei Alexander, and
he's put together some great footage of my brother, [fellow pro]
Bruce, catching big floaters and sick tailsides. I've watched
this DVD 100 times, and it gets me pumped right before a
DaKine Ultimate Traveler ($275) www.dakine.com
This ultimate lifesaver rolls on wheels. I can stuff it with
seven boards and the rest of my surf gear, which weighs 70
pounds. When I'm running to catch a flight, I cruise past the
dudes who are trying to balance their boards on skateboards and
Mr. Zog's Sex Wax ($1) www.mrzogs.com
This stick lasts for a one-to two-hour session. Most other waxes
get slippery after only 20 minutes. The color coordination for
the 18 waxes makes it super easy to figure out which I need to
bring for a trip. I take Tropic Blue when I go to Tahiti or Bali
and Cold Green when I head out to the cooler waves in California
Maxim ($3.99) www.maximonline.com
I get Maxim for the articles. Seriously! I like to know who's
having sex with whom, the good beers to get when I travel to
other countries and bar jokes to tell to keep my friends amused.
I also get FHM. I read every issue from cover to cover to keep me
occupied on those long, boring flights.
Kainui Pro Comp ($20) www.dakine.com
I don't typically ride with a leash, but in comps I have to make
sure my board doesn't go to the bees when I take a spill. I like
using this thin leash because it doesn't feel as if I have
anything attached to me. It's light and doesn't produce much
Billabong Solution Full Suit ($230) www.billabong.com
I used to hate wearing a wet suit because I'd always get a rash.
These 3-mm neoprene suits are so comfy, I could walk around in
them all day. I rarely surf in a suit, but my medium-tall one
comes in super handy on a trip to Jeffrey's Bay, where the water
temp dips to 55°.
Billabong Drift Tide Watch ($100)
This is the surfer's bible. It's like a tiny tide calendar that
tells you when the tide will be right in France and Spain on any
given day. It's definitely a must-bring travel item. When I was
on Nii-jima Island, the waves weren't so great, so it was
clutch to have one of these to find the best time to go out.
Oh, did I mention it tells time, too?
Billabong Hubbard ($70) www.billabong.com
It's an hour hike from the nearest road to get to the shore in
Trestles, Calif., where I sometimes surf, so it's really
convenient to throw everything into this tricked-up bag. It's got
separate compartments to keep the wet stuff (my leash, towel and
wet suit) from the dry stuff (iPod, Game Boy and cellphone).
Sports Authority ($28)
After a 25-hour flight to Johannesburg, my Achilles tendons and
lower back get really tight. The first thing I do when I leave
the airport is find a gas station to blow up my ball. I stretch
with the ball for an hour, so that I'm loose before I hit the
beach. It also doubles as a fin guard when it's deflated.
FIVE COLOR PHOTOS: PIERRE TOSTEE/TOSTEE.COM (IRONS, SURFBOARD, DVD, MAGAZINE, LEASH, WET SUIT)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: ANDREW GOMBERT (WAX, TONE-A-BALL)
FOUR COLOR PHOTOS