It’s been a busy week for Ian Walsh, but he’s not complaining. The week included paddling into some of the biggest surf of the winter, facing a media maelstrom - which included a 5:00 a.m. TV interview on St. Patrick’s day - and finally hosting Red Bull’s Young Jaws film premiere, raising money for a fallen friend.
All the while he’s had to keep a keen eye on his upcoming Menehune Mayhem contest at home at Maui’s Ho'okipa Beach Park. Like we said, it’s been a busy week.
“I'm so excited to be able to host my contest again this year,” says Walsh. “It keeps everything in perspective. After the passing of Sion Milosky at Mavericks and everything that’s happened, it’s important to remember why we all started surfing when we were kids. I'm so fortunate to have such great sponsors and event partners, and the least I can do is share some of that with all of the kids who come out.”
"It’s for the kids, but it keeps me young too.” -Ian Walsh
Eight yeas ago, Walsh, an advocate for introducing and instilling a passion for surfing in Hawaii's youth, created the free event with the help of Red Bull and his other sponsors as a way of giving back to the children and teens of Maui, as well as showcasing some of the best island talent. The event’s been a resounding success, every year growing bigger and bigger, attracting more and more kids and garnering increasingly more media coverage.
“You can’t lose sight of where you’ve come from,” says Walsh. “I try to think of all the things that made surf contests great when I was a kid - what would I want in a contest - and that’s what inspires us all to continue to grow this thing. It’s for the kids, but it keeps me young too.”
Keeping the event’s roots in firmly in place, besides all the blistering surf action Walsh has awards for the kids with the highest GPA and there’s also the Eric Diaz Memorial Award and the Steve Cooney Memorial Award, which are given to the two most inspiring surfers of the event.
As far as division breakdown, it looks like this: boys and girls ages 11 and under, boys ages 12-13, girls ages 12-14, boys ages 14-15, girls ages 15-17 and boys ages 16-17. The event's four-person finals will determine the podium positions.
The show gets going at the crack of dawn on Saturday, March 26 at the Ho’okipa Beach Park. Maybe after that Walshy will be able to get a little rest and feed his pet goats.
Entry forms can be picked up at Hi-Tech surf shops on Maui. The event is first-come, first-serve and the divisions fill up quickly.
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