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How Opioids Were Widely Misunderstood By The Surfing Community

One of the most troubling aspects of the opioid crisis is the general lack of understanding surrounding the issue. This is most exemplified in our perception of the biggest culprit: Opioids themselves. From the surface, Oxycontin (or Oxycodone) seems like just another prescription drug, and that misperception has only amplified the crisis. Unfortunately, for so long, we’ve assumed that since they’re so easily obtainable from the doctor or the pharmacy, they can’t be too bad for us. Otherwise, why would doctors be prescribing them left and right?

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Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an opioid addiction specialist, explains how that’s not the case. In fact, there’s no distinction between these prescription painkillers and the narcotic heroin. Put plainly, they’re heroin pills. A study was done at Columbia University where heroin users were allowed to self-administer both in a blind taste test. The results found that the users didn’t perceive a difference between the two.

On top of his struggle with bipolar disorder, Andy Irons was also ensnared by a severe addiction to opioids. His friends had realized that his drug habits had changed him, but were unaware of how dangerous the situation really was. Most notable was the fact that Irons had stopped freesurfing in between competitions and at some points even struggled to keep composure when he participated in events. “Yeah. One in the morning, one at lunch, maybe, one at night,” explained Joel Parkinson, who witnessed Irons’ habits firsthand. “And I remember just going, ‘Man, those things are just deadly.’ And then, I guess, I didn't realize how far they'd spread. They were in pretty deep in Hawaii, so a lot of the boys...they were poisonous, those things,” said Parkinson, looking back out how the crisis plagued the surfing community.


If you suspect you or someone you know may be suffering from a bipolar disorder, please, contact the SAMHSA national helpline.

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While TGR may be known for our love of winter, there’s a special place in our heart for the island of Hawaii. We’ve been traveling to this tropical gem for nearly a decade, each time falling more in love with the island’s raw beauty and vibrant culture. "Kauai shares a similar kind of kindred spirit as Jackson Hole in its remoteness and its rawness," shares TGR co-founder Steve Jones.  RELATED: Andy Irons: Kissed By God During the filming of , we explored the area deeper—particularly from

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After the massive swell that hit Nazaré, Portugal in November 2018 provided for one of the best big-wave surfing events in history, the competitors and their friends, including Kai Lenny and Grant “Twiggy” Baker took advantage of lingering conditions to ride the waves in an unforgettable paddle session. RELATED: Aussie Surfers Fight Against Offshore Drilling The waves were just as big, but without the infrastructure and support from the WSL competition, the crew was out there on their own.

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‘Andy Irons: Kissed By God’ Wins Audience Favorite Award
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We are honored to announce that was named the “Audience Favorite Award” by the annual REEL Recovery Film Festival. This honor was presented at the Experience, Strength, and Hope Awards last Thursday in Los Angeles.  Watch Andy Irons: Kissed By God The award ceremony, now in its 10th year, was established by Writers in Treatment, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help writers suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, and other afflictions. was recognized alongside TV star