Out of respect to Andy’s passing, the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico will be postponed until Friday. Below are some quotes from Andy’s family on tour; Kelly, Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, and CJ Hobgood.
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, nine-time ASP World Champion:
“We had a nice paddle out for Andy,’ Slater said. “It was a huge a group of people that got together – a couple hundred people paddled out. Obviously everyone is very somber and it’s just devastating news for everyone.”
“Everyone had their own connection with Andy on so many different levels,” Slater said. “He was a classic guy. Although he and I butted heads a lot a few years ago, I have so many good memories of Andy and we have become pretty good friends since. Generally, we just sit around and don’t even talk about surfing. We just have dinner and talk.”
“We’re just baffled that he’s gone.”
“It was nice for everyone to be together to have a chance to talk about him, about our memories: a little laugh, a little cry,” Slater said. “We just want to send some positive thoughts out to his family – to his wife, to his brother, and to his child that is coming next month. We’re all just thinking about that.
“You know, Andy was a pretty dynamic guy,” Slater said. “He could be fierce in the water, the nicest guy on land – anything in-between. There were just so many sides to Andy. I’m going to have a million different memories of AI.”
“A few weeks ago I had a friend going over to Kauai to see Andy, and I said send him a message: When Andy surfs angry he smashes people and tell him to come to PR angry, focus that energy and use it,” Slater said. “So my friend called him and said he told AI the message and AI said he’s ready and I was so looking forward to see him surf this week. Just to see him.”
“There aren’t words to describe,” Slater said. “Unfortunately I’ve been through this with friends. There’s nothing that can make it better. You just have to feel it and process all those memories.”
“Andy was an absolutely gifted individual,” Slater said. “I’m lucky to have known him and had the times we had together. I feel blessed that we worked through the differences we had and I was able to learn what I’m made of because of Andy. We enjoyed many quiet times together with our girls in the last year and I got to know a happy, funny, innocent kid who was happy to live every second with the people he loved. I’m so sad.”
“My thoughts are with Bruce and Lyndie and their parents and all of his many friends around the world,” Slater said. “It’s a huge and far too premature loss for all of us. He was the most intense competitor I’ve ever known and one of the most sensitive people. He had so much life left in him and it hurts to think about. We look forward to his memory living on with our memories of him and his child on the way. There are a lot of uncles awaiting his arrival. I really miss Andy. He had a really good heart.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning four-time ASP Women’s World Champion:
“It’s a really sad day and I think everyone is still in shock,” Gilmore said. “It’s crazy how the world works in mysterious ways. Luckily we’re all here together.
All the girls were down here. We all did the paddle out and to remember Andy.”
“We didn’t see the guys that often on Tour, but Andy in particular is one of the most beautiful human-beings,” Gilmore said. “Such an incredible competitor, but always so gentle and so kind. Always gave you the time of day. No matter where you were or how busy he was, he’d stop and say hi and ask how you were going. He’s going to be really really missed by everyone.”
“I think everyone admires him so much and he’ll never be forgotten.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion:
“It was good having the paddle-out, getting everyone together,” Fanning said. “We’re a surfing family. We all look out for each other. Just for us to paddle out and show our respects to Andy, to his family, to all his friends on Kauai and Hawaii – it’s good. We are all hurting right now and we’re just wanting to pay our respects.”
“Andy was incredible,” Fanning said. “I think he was a person that always wore his heart on his sleeve. He didn’t try to impress anyone. He was just all about what he wanted to do. He was an amazing competitor; he was an amazing friend. And also, he was a brother. I haven’t just lost a friend, I’ve lost my brother here. It’s hard to take.”
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, current ASP World No. 14:
“All the surfers are here today and we were able to paddle out together,” Hobgood said. “Imagine taking all of the emotion in your body and putting it into one pot; it was so crazy out there. One second I just felt so mad, and then the next second I was just so happy.”
“The biggest thing was that the whole [WT] family was together and we were able to paddle out as one and show our love for another brother,” Hobgood said. “There are no words to say how we all feel, but in time there will be.”
“I think that the biggest thing is that we’re thankful for so much,” Hobgood said. “I’m thankful to be a surfer because we are family and I’m thankful to be a part of Andy’s family. I’ve traveled with him since I was 12 years old. Just the person that he was, it made me a better person. It made everyone around him a better person.”
“I’m thankful for so many great, wonderful years,” Hobgood said. “I think every surfer here today is just thankful that they could be here for Andy and show their respect for him, because we all understand that you can’t ever know when your time is up. So it’s comforting to know that all the other surfers would be there for you.”