Surf world gathers online to mourn Andy Irons - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Surf world gathers online to mourn Andy Irons

Andy Irons Andy Irons
The RIP Andy Irons FaceBook page The RIP Andy Irons FaceBook page
Comments on Andy Irons' memorial page Comments on Andy Irons' memorial page
Paula Nakata Paula Nakata
One of many Andy Irons-related auctions on eBay One of many Andy Irons-related auctions on eBay

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three days after Andy Irons' shocking death, those who knew the Kauai surfer are increasingly shocked at the outpouring of grief on the web.

It's not only the surf world's biggest tragedy in decades, but it's the first of its kind since the beginning of the Internet.

That's bringing people together like never before.

As of Thursday night, the 'RIP Andy Irons' Facebook page had 114,000 fans. And that's just the start.

Everyone from strangers to Irons' personal friends are using social media to pour their hearts out online, while others are trying to cash in.

There will still be paddle-out ceremonies like the one in the Caribbean, but for the vast majority of surfers around the world, the gathering place to share their grief isn't at the beach, it's online.

Among the many tributes to Andy Irons, is award-winning surf photographer Brian Bielmann's video montage which is quickly going viral.

On the phone Thursday night, Bielmann told us he's stunned at the response.

"He's up there right now watching all of this and probably smiling and laughing and never even imagining himself, how the world was going to react," said Bielmann.

On Facebook, Irons' tribute page has become a gathering place for fans, with endearing comments like "This guy inspired me more than anyone. At least he's ripping it up in heaven with God. I love you Andy Irons. Rest in peace, have fun up there."

On Twitter, a new tweet is posted almost every minute, from strangers to close friends such as pro surfer Joel Parkinson, telling the world, "I think I felt worse today than I did yesterday. I woke up this morning and just bawled because it was real now. I'm never going to see him again."

Another online movement has fans urging everyone to wear blue this Friday in honor of Irons.

But while fans openly mourn, others are quietly posting memorabilia for sale.

On eBay, a surfboard with Irons' autograph is offered at $9,000, and another one for $15,000.

He even has his own baseball-card. Irons was featured in the inaugural set of Topps 2006 Allen & Ginter baseball cards. On Wednesday, one of them sold on eBay for $350.

"Being that he was so young, he doesn't have that many autographs out there and he was only in one product so that will make his autograph a lot more collectable," said Paula Nakata, owner of Paula's Sports Cards Etc. in Makiki.

A strange twist, perhaps, to see Irons' passing spurring sales, but for most, it's not about money, but inspiration.

The focus online is celebrating the three-time world champion and his priceless legacy.

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