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Under the Sun With: Advocate and Surfer, Lyndie Irons

Under the Sun With: Advocate and Surfer, Lyndie Irons

In our Under the Sun series, we ask Vertra ambassadors where they feel most at home outside. For Lyndie Irons, that place is Hanalei Bay in Kaua’i. 

Growing up in Southern California, Lyndie Irons always found solace in the ocean. The sport later became a major part of her life when, at the age of 21, she met her late husband Andy Irons—known as one of the greatest surfers of all time.

Instantly inseparable, the pair moved to Kauai shortly after their first encounter. Andy was born and raised on Kaua’i. They spent the next decade traveling the world as Andy competed in surf competitions. In 2010, amid struggles with mental health and substance abuse, Andy passed away, leaving Lyndie to navigate unimaginable grief while raising their son, Axel.

In the years since, Lyndie, 37, has instilled the magic of surfing Hawaii’s blue waves in her now 13-year-old son, Axel. Every morning, the mother-son duo heads to Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kaua’i to ride waves before school.

“I’ve traveled the world and still think Hanalei Bay is the most beautiful place on Earth,” Lyndie says. “You get a panoramic view of the mountains that doesn’t even seem real, with waterfalls constantly running and rainbows always so bright and brilliant.”

When Lyndie isn’t surfing with Axel, she’s committed to honoring Andy's legacy by giving back to her community. In 2017, she launched the Andy Irons Foundation to help youth struggling with mental health issues, learning disabilities, drug addiction and more. We recently caught up with Lyndie to hear more about her love for Hanalei Bay and her passion for giving back to Kaua’i’s young people.

Vertra: You’ve surfed some of the most beautiful places in the world. Why is Hanalei Bay is so special?

Lyndie: After I moved to Kaua’i, I spent the first nine years traveling with Andy. I felt really fortunate to live the life of a surfer’s wife. Then I got pregnant and Andy passed away, and I began spending most of my time here. In the 13 years since, Hanalei Bay has become my favorite place in the world. I live just down the road. It has white sand beaches, turquoise water, amazing waves, and mountains that hug the ocean. It’s the most magical place in the world, and I feel grounded when I’m there.

Vertra: How often do you visit Hanalei Bay and how do you spend your time there?

Lyndie: Heading to Hanalei is part of our daily routine. Axel and I have a deal: I get to choose where we surf in the morning, and he gets to choose the beach in the afternoons after school. I almost always choose Hanalei, be it Cape or Pine Trees beaches, or the Bowl, where you can get the most beautiful, panoramic view of the mountains. We surf almost every morning, and if there aren’t any waves, we still make sure to jump in the water. 

Vertra: What’s your favorite memory at Hanalei Bay?

Shortly after I lost my husband, all my friends were visiting and we went down to the Cape. They were holding my son on the beach and kept encouraging me: go surf, go surf. I think Axel was about four or five months old. I remember catching my first wave and actually feeling joy and happiness for the first time since Andy passed away. I felt guilty, swam in, and cried on the beach. But that moment of joy on the wave was a gift. I still chase that feeling.

Vertra: Your relationship with Axel is clearly very special. Why is it so important to you to surf with him every day?

Lyndie: I truly believe the ocean is healing and can reset any mood you’re in, so I’ve instilled that mindset in my son. If he’s ever going through an issue, I want his first step to be jumping in the ocean. Surfing with my son is my favorite thing to do in the entire world. 

Vertra: Over the years, you’ve been an advocate for mental health awareness and addiction treatment—particularly through your nonprofit, the Andy Irons Foundation. What led you to create this organization and why is giving back so important to you?

Lyndie: I participated in a documentary about Andy’s life, “Andy Irons: Kissed By God,” which was released in 2018. After that, I realized that on top of all of Andy’s surfing accomplishments, his story of overcoming so many obstacles with his mental health issues would also save lives.

Also, growing up in San Diego, my grandma was my idol. She ran charity events, including fashion shows and fundraisers, and I wanted to be just like her. So I started the foundation to honor Andy’s legacy forever and use it as an outlet to put on community events in Kaua’i, Maui and Oahu. We host surf contests, golf tournaments, and runs for kids, teens, and early adults. These events raise money for programs that help those struggling with mental health issues, addiction, and learning disabilities. 

Vertra: What’s next for the Andy Irons Foundation?
Lyndie: I’m actually in school right now, getting my degree in psychology. I give so much personal advice to people who email me asking for guidance on how to navigate addiction issues in their family. So, I’m going to school so I can learn how to give people clinical advice as well. My long-term goal is to open a rehab facility in Kaua’i. There’s such a need here to have one available for local kids.

Vertra: You’re also a Vertra ambassador—how did you discover our brand and what do you enjoy most about our products?

Lyndie: I started using Vertra when I first met Andy. He used it as a professional surfer, and he loved that it originated in Hawaii. Honestly, I’ve never used another sunscreen since—it’s the only one that works for me. 

I not only use it when I surf, but also as a daily foundation before putting on makeup. My son and I also have very sensitive skin, and we use it and never break out. My favorite product is the Kona Gold Face Stick SPF 38 x Shane Dorian, which I’ve used since the day it came out. 

People always ask me: ‘What do you do for your face? Do you get your face lasered? You don’t have sun spots, which is unheard of when you live in Hawaii.’ And the answer is: I use Vertra. I’m out in the sun all day, and it just works.


Fast facts: Lyndie Irons

Location: Kaua’i, Hawaii 

Occupation: Mental health advocate, surfer, philanthropist

Go-to Vertra product: Kona Gold Face Stick SPF 38 x Shane Dorian