Inspiration: Honolulu boy paralyzed in rare surfing accident becomes card trick master, president of Hawaii’s Society of American Magicians!

Wonder and amazement!

We, each of us, know that this surfing life, while very fun, is otherwise worthless. Getting up, paddling out, bogging a cutback, paddling in, rinsing, washing, repeating, though I rarely rinse or wash. The salty crust that builds up is one of the great, albeit worthless, surfing life pleasures.

Magic, on the other sleight of hand, is not worthless as it brings great joy to many. Groups of children, Las Vegas convention goers, people waltzing down Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade etc. Smiling faces alongside general amazement and let us learn the completely inspiring story of Hawaii’s Mycah Muranaka,

The young man lived a very active life in paradise, hiking, camping and surfing. One day in January, 2016 he was out at a well-known spot when his back started hurting and his knees became weak. He quickly paddled to shore but by the time he got there he could no longer stand up.

After being transported to the hospital and examined, the doctors declared he had suffered surfer’s myelopathy, a very rare sort of paralysis when blood vessels leading to the nerves in the back become restricted.

Paralyzed from the waist down, he was told he would never walk again and became very sad but he did not give up and focused his attention on what he could do, including mastering the art of magic.

He is now president of Hawaii’s Society of American Magicians and works for the Honolulu Magic Company, inspiring many and bringing joy to many more. He says he hopes others facing difficulties can learn from him by finding something that absorbs them too.

Completely anti-depressive.

Sayonara champ and thanks for the laughs. | Photo: @tsherms/Steve Sherman

Greatest surfer ever Kelly Slater announces shock withdrawal from Merewether CT and, likely, Narrabeen, effectively ending chance for world title surf-off in September; cites four-year-old injury as reason: “I’ve been struggling…constant pain!”

Hip, foot in mess, unable to surf etc.

In pretty substantial, but altogether unsurprising, news, the eleven-time world champ Kelly Slater has announced he ain’t gonna be on the WSL’s  bird to Australia in two days. 

Slater said, “I’ve been struggling with recent and ongoing injuries in both ankles since the Pipe Masters event and I had a separate injury in my right hip (and maybe previously broken foot) this past week which has left me unable to surf. It’s a tough one for me because I love Australia so much and miss the time I usually get to spend there each year. I’ll just have to use the time to get myself up to a level physically I never really got back to after my broken foot (in Jeffreys Bay in 2017) and get myself out of constant pain. Good luck to all my fellow competitors and I hope to see everyone back on tour soon.”

Maybe he just ain’t into doing two-weeks in a crummy hotel with the windows bolted shut and living on takeaway food or maybe he isn’t into jerking his forty-nine-year-old bones around, likely, unspectacular waves at Newcastle and Narrabeen made for Medina, Ferreira, Toledo and co. 


Whatever the reason, missing part or all of the Australian leg will make it real difficult, maybe impossible, for the Champ to confect a miracle, greatest-ever-title win at Lowers in September. 

I’d suggest the sands of time have finally run out for a man whose invincibility and longevity singlehandedly kept pro surfing alive. There will be no runs at the title as a fifty year old.

An end that whimpers, no bang.

Unless Tahiti lights up.

Listen: It is time for one brave male QS warrior to rise up, self-identify as female, qualify for the women’s championship tour and bring home the title!

History is calling, Tomas Hermes. Will you answer?

On January 20, 2021, United States President Joseph R. Biden, by the authority vested in him as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, hereby executive ordered to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation and beautiful.

A gorgeous utopia floating just over the horizon.

We surfers, we wave sliders, know that our governing body, the World Surf League, is one of the wokest in all professional sports and there is a fabulous opportunity for one brave male Qualifying Series middle-dweller to rise up, self-identify as female and qualify for the women’s Championship Tour likely winning the title and becoming a feel-good story along the way.

Six-part documentary series co-starring CEO Erik Logan certainly to follow.

Who should this courageous boy be?

Well, I think Tomas Hermes.

The Brazilian, 30, currently ranked 218 in the world, could firstly become sponsored by Hermès and bring his wax, extra leashes, etc. to the beach in a work-of-art Birkin.

He could then smash all-comers, using experience, a tireless approach to li’l whacks off the lip and extra-helpings of testosterone to vault himself to a historical crown.

Loud cheers, etc.

A wonderful opportunity, don’t you think?


David Lee Scales and I discussed today alongside my wife Circe Wallace who happens to be a famous agent. She mostly glared as I presented this particular brilliance, but otherwise provided insight and perspective gleaned from over 30 years in the action sporting game.

She will be sharing this knowledge with you as part of a new series (sign up here). In the meantime enjoy the rest of the conversation now or later.

Mariah Carey’s surf-adjacent brother sues rich and famous sister: “I have suffered extreme mental anguish and serious damage to my reputation!”

Ian Walsh may, or may not, know something.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. The days of Mariah Carey’s brother Morgan’s upcoming life will be spent in court, suing his rich and famous sister over her recently published memoir, claiming the book falsely suggests he was violent.

This matters to you, to us, because Morgan Carey lives on Maui and so must either surf or be surf-adjacent. Boogie boarding, possibly, or SUPping out beyond Lahina, pilot whales spouting in the distance. He may, or may not, know Ian Walsh or Albee Layer. May, or may not, have eaten a fine meal at Mama’s Fish House with Laird Hamilton.

In any case, the Valley Isle is simply to small, and too surf-infused, for him not to be part of the scene or scene-adjacent, though he is not suing his talented and buxom sister there or in Honolulu but in New York.

Morgan says his reputation has been damaged, that he has suffered extreme mental anguish, because he has been depicted as violent.

Mariah wrote, in the book, that Morgan and their father once got in a fight and it took “12 cops to pull my brother and father apart.” Morgan claims lies and, usually, in a case of domestic violence only 1 or 2 cops would respond.

He is also frustrated by passages in the book that suggest he tried to extort money from Mariah after she became successful and popular.

Both sound extremely Hawaiian.

Very vintage surf.

More as the story develops.

Surfer Pauline Menczer was the victim of world sports’ most brutal and blatant sexism; a clear historical wrong

Should WSL atone for Pro Surfing's historical sexism?

Shot me old pal Pauline Menczer a text the other morning to congratulate her for the successful GoFundMe campaign following the premiere of the movie she stars in, Girls Can’t Surf

Me and Pauline go way back grafting a semi-honest living working as sham contractors for one of Byron Bay’s biggest shuttle bus services. Pretty hectic gig. Running a too-tight schedule rounding up tourists in Bangkok-style traffic and getting them to the steel bird on time so they could resume normal life in the city.

Menczer is one of God’s great hustlers, a tough-as-teak old-school Bondi street urchin who does not take a backward step, for anybody. Tales of her various confrontations in the surf and on the street are legendary: getting spat on in the surf, screaming matches on the streets, standing up to crooked bosses. Menczer can scrap.

As the world’s grittiest surfing champion Pauline was also the victim of maybe world sports’ most brutal and blatant sexism. A world champ who could not raise a dime in sponsorship, who received a trophy that would not make the grade for the second-hand shop at the dump. Lesbian, when that was taboo, lacking the physical accouterments that were classically assumed to stimulate the desire of a presumed male audience and thus moreorless discarded by the companies that largely funded the sport.

Bad old days.

Very bad.

A clear historical wrong, yes?

Things are very different now, of course.

Equal prize money thanks to Sophie G and Natasha Ziff.

Dual World Champ and one-time highest paid surfer on Earth, Tyler Wright, plies her trade as an openly gay athlete and basks in nothing but full-throated support from her sponsors and employer. That being the WSL, one of the most fiercely progressive organisations on Earth.

Most likely, in the near future a transgender athlete will strut the stage and will be likewise welcomed into the warm bosom of Pro Surfing.

WSL has been shameless in its cultural appropriation of the pro surfing history of the organisations which preceded it. Question: if it is going to claim the good, should it also own the bad?

Redress the wrongs and make reparations for sexist blunders like Pauline’s busted trophy and lack of financial support?

Oh, I know, slippery, slippery slope.

Ziff can’t be expected to stick his hand in his pocket to make good a World Champ who got so royally shafted by the sport she loved so had to drive buses for daily bread. Didn’t get enough to get the coastal real estate that any pro who gets within cooee of the CT now considers a birthright.

Still, even acknowledging the sexist pig managers and the sexist pig pros and the sexist pig contest organisers were no fault of Ziff or any of the revolving door CEO’s of the WSL they couldn’t pitch in and raise the 25K for the GoFundMe?

You claim ownership of every facet of the history of the sport and then let one of the true legends still alive dangle in the breeze with their cap in hand?

A bad look, I think.

Menczer herself has referenced other sports that provide more support to former stars fallen on hard times, in this case the “Men of League” program run by the governing body of Rugby League in Australia, the NRL.

Very low hanging fruit for the WSL if they wanted an easy win to generate real goodwill amongst former pros and the great unwashed.

Off the top of my head I could think of a few former stars who could very much benefit from a little hand up, and so could you.

As for the greater issue of a #Metoo style reckoning for the historical enterprise of pro surfing many questions remain.

A former women’s CT pro backgrounded me for the story but declined to be named.

According to her, and if even half of what she said is true, there are very many skeletons rattling around in very man closets.

Very many instances where consent between those with stars in their eyes and the gatekeepers with access to money and career paths were, lets say, less than enthusiastic.

Different times of course.

In the current climate maybe now some nervous moments in the dead of night for  those who took advantage and wonder if the axe of justice will fall.

Very interesting times.