‘Andy Irons: Kissed by God’ Is Back by Popular Demand

Apr 01, 2019


Surfing films have been a significant part of the Lighthouse International Film Festival’s lineup since its earliest years.

That made sense, right? LBI is a surfing destination and surfing films offer plenty of action and visual wonders. The LIFF and surfing movies went together like soup and sandwich.

Well, the LIFF’s connection to surfing remains strong as the festival prepares for its 11th year, set for June 6-9. The LIFF, in conjunction with the South End Surf N’ Paddle shop, will be re-screening the acclaimed “Andy Irons: Kissed by God” this Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at the shop in Beach Haven. Tickets are $5 (free for Lighthouse International Film Society members) and may be purchased online at lighthousefilmfestival.org or at the door. Beware, though, of waiting until the last moment because space is limited.

The film, a 100-minute-long documentary from 2018 directed by Steve and Todd Jones, tells the story of Andy Irons, a professional surfer who died on Nov. 2, 2010 at age 32. Irons was a three-time world surfing champion who once said riding a wave was like “being kissed by God.” He was known for his energy and passion, which led to his success but also, possibly, to his early death. Irons, you see, struggled with bipolar disorder and opioid addiction. Like Icarus, perhaps he flew too close to the sun.

Irons died in a Texas hotel room while on his way to his Hawaii home from a competition in Puerto Rico. An autopsy blamed his death on a severely clogged artery but also found evidence of cocaine, methamphetamine and methadone in his system.

John DeFore, reviewing the film for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that the movie is “stocked with impressive action footage” but added that “the doc’s first interview starts with tears. Bruce Irons, Andy’s younger brother, sits in front of a black backdrop and says he never thought he’d have to tell this story. But the more he recounts, the more inevitable the film makes it seem.”

The film was screened at the South End Surf and Paddle Shop last Thanksgiving weekend and is back by popular demand.  —R.M.


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