Ian Walsh & the Storied Smiles

On May 18, 2015 by creativewavemovement

It is an awe-inspiring lesson in the power of community.

A thousand storied smiles, lining the sand-shores of Ho’okipa’s famed and familiar beach. Nothing- nothing- could be more exciting than this: peering past the breaks and seeing a colorful, eclectic display of stunts, poised to offer the most idyllic and playful scene for keiki under 17. “This year was far and away, the best year yet,” shares Ian Walsh, professional big wave surfer and the brain behind the notoriously named, Menehune Mayhem event. His goal is simple: “…. creating something fun for kids to look forward to.”


Keiki engrossed in amazing creations at the Art Center during Menehune Mayhem’s 2015 event. (PHOTO: Marc Chambers, courtesy of Menehune Mayhem)

And Walsh should know. He conceived the event over a decade ago, and has been shattering the glass ceiling of keiki dreams ever since.

For most, an event like this tells only a story of wide-eyed fun; a myriad of smiles propelled by moon bounce dreams and cotton candy splendor. But oh, even still, the grass roots efforts that have steamrolled into every Spring, have taken the keiki of Maui, Hawaii by perfect storm; in effect, showering them with far more than the crazy fun that meets their eye.

Sure: this is, indeed, a surf contest, consisting of multiple heats for girls and boys, based upon age; carrying with it the appearance of pro surfers, lined up for an onslaught of excitement. But this is far beyond the realm of surf, ladies and gents.

Boys giving it their all during one of Menehune Mayhem's heats at the 2015 event. (PHOTO: mauinow.com, Rodney S. Yap)

Boys giving it their all during one of Menehune Mayhem’s heats at the 2015 event. (PHOTO: Rodney S. Yap, courtesy of mauinow.com.)

“The Menehune Mayhem offers the keiki an opportunity to explore creative outlets on their path to finding a life-long passion,” explains Kitty Walsh, one of the amazing hands and hearts behind the event. And it is here, that a lifelong passion of empowering the youth brings to light the incredible work of keiki discovering theirs. The spark to do so is clear and defined: nurturing an atmosphere where every kid can fly, whether that’s with their dreams or cotton candy in hand; an environment where any child- every child- can dream big; their dream day coming to life right before their very eyes.

Yes: there is an intention, a primed and properly tailored purpose to the Menehune Mayhem madness. A collection of demos igniting the work of experiential learning for every bewildered and excited pair of eyes. The natural scientists, great explorers and fearless learners kids inevitably are, come marching out, uncovering the new and groovy thing set to quench their inquisitive minds: surfboard shapers, flatbread makers, colorful Frisbee creators… nothing is short of a child’s imagination. The science of how and ‘can I do that, too?’ are answered.

Kazuma Surfboards reveals the secrets of crafting surfbaords during a shaping demo. (PHOTO: courtesy espn.go.com, Nick Ricca)

Kazuma Surfboards reveals the secrets of crafting surfbaords during a shaping demo. (PHOTO: Nick Ricca, courtesy of espn.go.com.)

Legends of the Menehune Mayhem, and the keiki are the golden key holders. It’s their story; their line; their book. Active participants in a storied book of fun.

And it seems as though Ian Walsh has only just begun. “I just think that where it’s going is creating more platforms in and out of the water,” admits Ian. The all-but-too familiar carnival like atmosphere is anointed in a heaping overflow of heart, passion for education and empowering our next generation: an elevated level of fun, you might say.

An elevated, levitated kind of fun. (PHOTO: courtesy, magicseaweed.com)

An elevated, levitated kind of fun. (PHOTO: courtesy of magicseaweed.com)

It is a lesson in a thousand storied smiles, multiplying with every year, with every event. The real, unnamed heroes of this story are the kids that have inspired the movement: their excitement; their creativity; their expertise in masters of fun: the unsung, myriad of keiki growing up in a world where their dreams are not only considered, but fulfilled in one, single day. After all, it is they that inspire us: Ian, Kitty and CreativeWave Movement.

Here’s to you… you incredible keiki, you, and to all the many amazing things you will become and do.


A Story of Stoke. (PHOTO: Zak Noyle, courtesy of espn.go.com)





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