Maui Time Surf and Sports correspondent Dave Sweedler interviews Maui surfer Ian Walsh in the December 7 1999 issue of Maui Time.
Ian Walsh is lighting up the islands waters, as he is taking the new generation of Maui surfers into the next century. At sixteen, he carries a reputation as one of the state’s fiercest competitors, and is earning respect amongst his peers for his big wave accolades. Born with a killer instinct and a desire to be the best, Walsh proudly carries the torch as he sets the surfing world on fire.
In the past month, Ian has made a major transformation in the way he approaches wave riding, and it has caught the attention of the industry’s leading companies. Recently signing with Billabong, Walsh is on his way to surf stardom and a very promising career. Coach and good friend Matt Kinoshita couldn’t be more proud and has this to add: “In the last thirty days I have seen Ian’s surfing improve so much; it just all came together for him. He is surfing with the power of a man, and it really shows when he is competing against kids his own age.” Ian scorched the competition at the Lopez/Hi-Tech Surfbash held in November, leaving a trail of ashes behind en route to winning the Juniors and Open Mens division.
Walsh has always been a standout in small surf; his arsenal of new school maneuvers blended with the deadly focus of a fire dancer makes him nearly impossible to beat in competition. What sets him aside from many kids his age is his desire to not only ride big waves, but to rip them apart. Ian has spent plenty of time in Oahu’s North Shore trenches, training and practicing for what it takes to be a respected professional surfer from Hawaii. “I really love surfing big waves, and am interested in tow-in surfing.” Ian will most likely be the youngest surfer to tackle Pe’ahi, as he is preparing himself for the challenge this winter. “I am ready to try and go big; I kind of have an invitation and am hoping Mike Waltze will show me the ropes.”
Hi-Tech’s Kim Ball has been monitoring the progression of his team rider for years and has this to say about Ian: “He is one of the most focused kids I have seen, his surfing is very polished and he has a very positive attitude. Ian achieves straight A’s in school and makes a great role model in and out of the water.”
This past summer Ian contributed to his High School surf team’s fifth place showing in the Nationals. King Kekaulike produced the best results of any Hawaiian amateur team has ever accomplished. Living out of a suitcase is something Ian will have to get used to, as his travel itinerary is starting to line up. “Through the sponsorship I receive from Billabong, a travel fund is set up which enables me to surf all the Junior pro contests throughout the world. I am really looking forward to going to Japan in March with Matt and Teresa McGregor. We will be putting on surfing demonstrations and representing Kazuma surfboards at the trade show.”
Walsh is one of the many young chargers who are honorably representing Maui and the State of Hawaii. He is blazing the trail with the intelligence and natural ability that it takes to make it, and is proving himself every step of the way. This is just the beginning of what is yet to fire out of the Valley Isle. “I would like to thank all my sponsors, Matt and Annie, Kim Ball, the Jones family, the Gobonka family and Maui Time Magazine; thank you for your support.”
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s December 7, 1999 issue.
Photo credit courtesy of Matt Kinoshita