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Ian Walsh & His Glorious Mayhem

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"Mommy, wake up!"

It's my 7 year old daughter, Eden.

"Wake up, we can't be late. We need to leave early to check-in and get a good parking spot...Come on mommy, I'll make you tea." 

OK, I'm up - kind of.

It's April 8th, the day of Ian Walsh's Menehune Mayhem Surf Contest at Ho'okipa Beach park. This will be my kid’s first time surfing the contest, plus I'm meeting friend and photographer, Cadence Feeley, to do a photo shoot, all of which is exciting. But, it's the crack of dawn on Saturday, my one and only sleep in day of the week, and I would rather be in my bed. This better be good...

Eden & Carrie (Photos By Cadence Feeley

 

Ho'okipa Beach Park & Menehune Mayhem (Photos By Matt McDonald)
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33-year-old big wave waterman Ian Walsh says, "It's not how good you are but how good you want to be."

So, how good does Ian Walsh want to be? 

In addition to dominating the pursuit of massive swells, Ian's smarts for business, and dedication to his community on Maui are no less impressive. 

In 2016 he and his brother, Luke Walsh, opened Paia Bowls, an açaí cafe located in their home town of Paia, Maui. A few weeks later, Ian premiered his first full-length documentary surf film, Distance Between Dreams, in which he was not only the star, but played a major role in sound production and editing. Distance Between Dreams redefines the surf film genre, with breathtaking cinematography, fantastic tracks, and heart-pounding, live action sound bites.

Ho'okipa Beach Park & Menehune Mayhem (Photo By Matt McDonald)
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The cafe is fabulous and the surf film is extraordinary, but in Walsh's eyes, his best accomplishment comes in the form of supporting the ambitions of pint-sized humans.

In 2003 Walsh established Menehune Mayhem as a way to give back to the Maui community. This yearly youth surf contest honors the up-and-coming surf talent on Maui, as well as rewards their academic achievements, sportsmanship and environmental awareness.

I catch Ian for a moment at the 14th annual surf event and talk mayhem, future dreams and his next big move...

Ian Walsh & Maui's Youth at Menehune Mayhem (Photo By Matt McDonald)

 

Blake, Ian Walsh, Eden & Carrie (By Cadence Feeley
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Menehune Mayhem is in it's 14th year. What was your original inspiration for this event?
"The original inspiration for the Menehune Mayhem was to give Maui keiki an event that they could look forward to every year without spending any money for entry fees or travel to Oahu...That is what I really wanted as a kid, growing up on Maui, in a family that worked hard, and did not have a lot of extra money for surf contests and travel."
What is the most important thing you want children to take away from this event?
"The most important thing I want competitors and spectators to take away is respect for the ocean, and the beach environment, as well as a sense of community/working together to have fun in the ocean and at Ho'okipa."

Menehune Mayhem Environmental Awareness (By Matt McDonald)

 

What goals do you have for Menehune Mayhem?
"I would like to see the Menehune Mayhem continue to grow and provide the Maui kids with a surf competition, along with opportunities for hands-on environmental and creative activities. Maybe a second Menehune Mayhem on Maui each year, and then hopefully expanding to other locations worldwide. I would like all of the mentioned to help educate kids on the art of surfing and how to take the best care of their environment."
Where do you see your foundation in 5 years?
"In five years I envision our Foundation being strong enough to support the Menehune Mayhem, not only on Maui but in other locations, so that we can teach kids to love surfing and to care for their environment.  Also possibly providing scholarships to young surfers for education, training or travel." 
You're a big role model for a lot of kids. How do you encourage those who want to chase their dreams, as you have done?
"Put your head down and work hard to achieve your goal.  And, also lift your head up to appreciate and enjoy our beautiful world."
Ian, you were the valedictorian of your high school. How have your academic achievements bolstered your professional career?
"Without question my professional career is a direct product of everything I learned in school."
What advice can you offer to parents whose children wish to pursue surfing as a career?
"I would encourage parents to let their kids chose the path they want to follow, then support them in doing so."
What's next for you?
"Distance Between Dreams screenings in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, then back to Maui for two promotional shoots, then to Oregon for an athlete summit, then to LA and NYC for meetings, then back to LA for more meetings, then back to Maui to hopefully have some time to get my sailboat ready for summer fun."
So was Ian's 14th Menehune Mayhem good? No, in fact it was great! The surf, the acai bowls, the t-shirt decorating, the jumping castle, the live surfboard shaping, the food, the fitness activities, the shave ice.  Every aspect of the event is epitomized in the name. It's certainly for the kids and the organized chaos is a beach carnival not to be missed.
See you next year!
Carrie
P.S. If you are interested in supporting the Menehune Mayhem please check this link Donate to the Mayhem.   

Carrie (By Cadence Feeley

Carrie (By Cadence Feeley)

 

 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

Eden at Menehune Mayhem (By Matt McDonald) 

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