Team Salt Life
Grandmaster surfboard shaper and legendary waterman Mickey Munoz, “The Mongoose,” has been surfing and designing boards since the late 1940s. As of August 2015, he can also add Salt Life team member to his growing list of accolades, as his iconic Quasimodo surf stance, that is often replicated on T-shirts and posters has made him a ubiquitous figure in the world of surfing. Munoz has been featured in many popular surfing documentaries, and he is one of the most talked about surfers across the globe. He currently resides close to the surf in Capistrano Beach, California, and continues to design surfboards and paddleboards for top companies of the sport.
Munoz graduated from Santa Monica High School and was a staple on the surfing scene. Being in the land of motion pictures landed him a role as a stunt double in the iconic 1959 “Gidget” movie.Beyond the movies, many have watched his prowess on the waves with complete respect and awe.
Today, he is helping transform the paddle boarding experience by accident. He recalls the first time he saw standup paddling. “I was surfing in Malibu on one of the biggest swells in years. I’m on my way out and everyone kind of blows it on a medium-sized wave. I turn around and pick off this wave and suddenly hear, ‘Behind you!’ I look behind me, and here’s Laird Hamilton on a 12-foot board,” says Munoz. “I had no idea where it came from. I never saw him and never figured he’d have a chance in hell making it from where he was.”
With that experience came an appreciation and excitement of the paddleboard concept. He was so intrigued that when he got home, he took a kayak paddle, cut the blade off and glued a crosspiece with a broomstick on the end and sealed it together with some epoxy and glass so it would be ready the next morning. He soon joined the craze as he added his engineering expertise to the sport. “It is a wonderful point of view because you are standing and seeing stuff happening, getting close to nature. I just love the experience you get on the stand up,” Munoz says.
His legend is one no one can replicate. He is the master of the board. He has been an active waterman since 1957, making him the oldest and most respected of the sport. He has some advice to the younger generation. “There are no bad waves, only a poor choice of equipment and a bad attitude. If you are not having a good time in the water, it’s your fault, not the waves.”
And he sums it up quite simply: life is what you make it. Having rode the wave for over six decades, it is advice that should be well received. Munoz lives it high, lives it strong and lives it with humility. Quite simply, he is the ultimate and original Waterman.