Andy Irons was just 32 years old when his life ended in 2010. Chas Chidster, who just passed away this April of 2018, was only 28 years old. Both these men have a lot in common. Both Chas and Andy were professional surfers. By the time of his death, Andy had won three world titles and was globally regarded as one of the best surfers to ever compete. Chas was still up and coming, winning a Surfing America U.S. Championship and placing 13th at the WSL event at Lowers, in Orange County, California. Andy and Chas had more than surfing in common. Tragically, both men developed an addiction to opiates, battled with mental health issues, and eventually lost their lives as a result of their opioid abuse. Irons had heart failure due to opioid abuse. At the time of this writing, a toxicology report or cause of death for Chidster has not yet been released, though it is widely acknowledged it had to do with his addiction to opiates.
In May of 2018, Andy Irons: Kissed By God will premiere, documenting the young surfer’s life, career, bipolar disorder, and addiction. The timing of the premiere could not be more relevant with the unfortunate passing of Chas Chidster. Just as his career was building, his addiction was building as well. “Like hundreds of thousands in the US alone,” writes Stab Magazine, “the evil of opiate addiction shook Chas to the core, but he battled valiantly. Chas struggled with the cycle of abuse and getting clean. His sponsors dropped him. His profile waned. His rap sheet grew. But his heart never strayed. Chas had a heart of gold.”
Water is said to be healing. According to researchers like Wallace J. Nichols, we have a “blue mind” caused by water which keeps us healthy and happy. For men like Andy Irons and Chas Chidster, the water was their life. Addiction still interfered because addiction does not discriminate or act selectively, even for some of the greatest surfers to grace the ocean.
Surfing and substance abuse can go hand in hand. Where there aren’t severe traumatic injuries necessitating pain medication, there are endless sponsored parties and a well known party atmosphere. Some men are lucky enough to reclaim surfing as their own, separate from the substance abuse. For some men, the substance abuse claims them first.
Surfing can be a healing part of a man’s recovery, scientifically proven to help with addiction. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, we take our men on trips to the breathtaking Oregon coast for surfing therapy and adventure. Inspired by the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, our men’s treatment programs bring together the best of evidence based therapies to create sustainable changes for a sustainable recovery. Freedom from addiction is yours. Call us today: (503) 850-2474