Surfing stars Andy and Bruce Irons left for Billabong Pro in Tahiti yesterday but not without their Virginia Tech stickers.
Earlier this week, the brothers added their names to the list of professional athletes honoring the victims of the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings by agreeing to put the schoolâ€™s logo on their surfboards before the competition.
Christian Berling, an alumnus from Virginia Tech who currently lives in New Hampshire and is a long-time fan of the surfing brothers, came up with the idea of contacting them with this request.
“I was talking with my brother who lives in Richmond and we saw that all these sports teams doing this and we thought we needed to get these stickers out,” Berling said.
When Berling, an avid surfer, contemplated putting a sticker on his surf board, he wondered if the Irons brothers would do it also.
“Iâ€™d always been a fan of theirs and Iâ€™ve been to Hawaiï¿½i several times and actually seen Andy compete — I think it was the first time he won a championship back in 2002 — and I remember really liking them,” Berling said. “Itâ€™s really nice that they agreed to do this. Itâ€™s a pretty small thing, but I think people will like it.”
The Irons received the stickers midweek, just in time for Tahiti.
“Iâ€™m sure they get bombarded with all sorts of requests from people so Iâ€™m touched they were willing to do this,” Berling said.
Berling was also encouraged by the Irons brothersâ€™ father, Phil, to send as many stickers as he wants so that Phil could ask other surfers to follow the Ironsâ€™ lead.
Other athletes who have shown their support for Virginia Tech include golfers Nick Watney, Charley Hoffman and Johnston Wagner who wore Hokie gear to the Zurich Classic.
NASCAR was given permission to put the schoolâ€™s logo on cars for its Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Richmond Speedway races.
Major Leagueâ€™s Washington Nationals also wore Virginia Tech baseball hats.