Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of surfer and three-time ASP World Champion surfer Andy Irons' death at the age of 32. It was also the second day of this year's Rip Curl Pro Search at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, where fellow professional surfer Kelly Slater, 39, remembered his late friend after winning his 11th world title.

"He's always been one of my favorite surfers," Slater said of Irons, reports USA Today. "He was the most intense competitor I've ever known and one of the most sensitive people. He had so much life left in him and it hurts to think about."

Irons was found dead in a Dallas hotel room on November 2, 2010, reportedly from cardiac arrest. An autopsy later revealed a mixture of prescription and street drugs in his system. He and Slater were solid competitors, as Slater held the world title for several years in a row before Irons appeared on the scene and locked down the honors consecutively in 2002, 2003, and 2004. To Slater, the professional rivalry enhanced the relationships. "With this happening on the anniversary of Andy's passing, it makes it more special. It's a way to celebrate my memories of him," Slater said of his victory.

Read more about: