First Person : Mickey Munoz

Optimist; Quasimodo inventor; Regular foot

Which surfer is closest to sainthood?

None of us are perfect, but one that comes close and would be my pick is Bill Wise. Bill is a surfer who broke his neck while we were surfing together in the early 60’s; he has been quadriplegic ever since that day. Even though he has not been able to physically ride waves he has never lost his passion for surfing. He writes about surfing by clutching a pen in his teeth, he shots surf photos adjusting the camera with his tongue, he vicariously surfs using totems sent to him by surfers from all over the world. Surfing is not about what kind of board you ride, what kind of wave you ride, or how good you ride; it’s about “state of mind”. It is about Increments of smile, it’s about passion! BILL IS A SURFER, HE HAS “SURFED HIS DREAMES, HE HAS SURFED HIS LIFE”!

Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing that you haven’t done yet?

Sure, if you’re interested in living, you dream. It’s what keeps you living. But as Patrick de Gayardon, the great French sky surfer said, “live your dreams, don’t dream your life away”!

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

I am not sure “joke” is the right word for the question. Perhaps it should be, smile, laugh, or humor? Seems to me since we are perfectly imperfect, humor needs to be a big part of our life. Wipeouts are part of the lesson, laughing is part of understanding. Remember, the surfing experience is “measured in increments of smile”!

When did surfing sellout?

I don’t think surfing has ever “sold out”. A surfer is a surfer, you surf to live, you live to surf!

Was the invention of the leash a good or bad thing?

Ah, the two edge sword. They have helped advance creativity at times. They have saved body and board dings, and probably lives, and they have sure helped me get more waves on those just before dark go-outs, and they have helped the surf business by deluding more people into thinking they can surf. But, the leash has polluted our surf breaks with too many people that have not learned the lessons of surfing without a leash, the unwritten laws of courtesy, not to mention, learning to swim.

Would you be willing to chop off a finger if it meant surfing uncrowded Malibu for one entire year?

No, Malibu is a great wave, but my fingers are greater!