Everyone knows the extent of the tragedy of Andy Irons passing due to drug overdose and heart failure. Those that looked further into his death realized there were many issues hidden along the way. No one mentioned it, no one stepped forward, and those responsible continued to feed the wolf. The sponsors knew of the situation, the management knew, and the tour CEO’s knew, yet nothing was done to curb Andy from spiraling out of control. But now the REAL question is, Is it too late for Mark Occy?
Recently coming off a tremendous comeback at Rip Curl Bell’s beach and proving again he is “The Raging Bull,” what may have caused what seems to be a near sudden relapse? What can be done, what can be said, and who will step forward this time and make things right? Who will save Mark Occhilupo?
No one can deny Occy’s love for the sport, often at times driving him out of depression to compete and make public appearances. However, recent viral video of Mark Occy and Sterling Spencer in Peru has opened up the discussion as to whether Mark Occy is “off the wagon” again. Numerous websites and publications have posted the video in response to what seems to be a incoherant Occy; yet will what is assumed pressure from management and sponsors, the video was quickly removed. Still available on youtube and via Pro Surf Talk, viewers have the opportunity to see for themselves and make an educated decision. But will the tour and sponsors step up and do what is right? Or is Occy the next dying star like Irons and Peterson. Used for their talent, used for their marketing ability, and turned away from when things got out of control.
Burned out on the tour, he threw the OP and headed home to Cronulla. Struggling with motivation and fluctuating weight, in 1988 Occy’s drug addiction worsened. Things got pretty bad, and with advice from then wife Beatrice Ballardie, Occy saught counceling. Many said it was a “million to one shot.” But it worked, and in 1999 after a long comeback, Occy won the ASP World Title.
Recounting the 1999 near-death binge-drinking episode in Indonesia and Andy’s brief stay in rehab, many have been silent when it came to to discussing his problems, mostly to preserve the Iron’s legacy. In the end, we all know the rest of the story leading up to his final days and many of those that were never made public.
Michael Peterson, regarded as one of the most naturally gifted Australian surfers ever, suffered undiagnosed schizophrenic, who retreated into a world of hard drugs, fast cars and seclusion before a period in jail and pshychiatric hospitals. At age 59, he too suffered a heart attack that lead to his untimely death.
This article is written with the greatest respect and remorse for all three Legendary surfers. All information contained in this article is said to be true and factual based on actual reports and interviews.