Bill Wise,Hobie Alter,Phil Edwards,Miki Dora,Eddie Aikau,Duke Kahanamoku
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In Bill's Own Words

On August 10th, 1965  a profound  metaphysical experience changed my life and the lives of those around me.

I was 26 years old, one month shy of my 27th birthday. The day was bright and sunny. With four friends I was surfing in the Atlantic Ocean near Bethany Beach, Delaware.  The waves were waist high, crisp and clean. A few strokes put me into a wave with my board trimming across the face. The wave was breaking over a shallow bar and I felt my board slip. Knowing the water was shallow I dove as flat as I could, arms outstretched to protect myself in the wipeout.

In the time it takes a passing seagull to make a single wing beat, my forehead hit the sand. The impact fractured vertebrae in my neck injuring my spinal cord and paralyzing me completely. A following wave swept my body face down into deeper water inside the bar. There I floated, conscious, my lungs filled with air but unable to move.

My first thought was that maybe a wave would turn me over so I could breathe. More than a minute passed, perhaps two. The vivid sensation of a child's hand caressed my cheek. Involuntary muscles sucked seawater between my teeth which I swallowed into my gut until it was full. I was drowning but the touch to my cheek prevented panic.

Then salvation. A voice asked, "Are you all right?" A moment later a friend's arms turned me over. "Get me the hell out of here," I gasped. My companions carefully slid me on a surfboard and carried me up the beach where a crowd quickly gathered.

Like the view from a surgical amphitheater I saw my body surrounded by people, heard someone say, "Call an ambulance." There was a soft, all encompassing white light. No tunnel,  no one beckoning me from beyond.  After while I returned to my body and began a completely different life than the one previously lived. The person I knew as Bill Wise was gone. It took a very long time to find the new me. 

Today I celebrate. It is an anniversary of wonder, discovery and acceptance. 

It is a coincidence that today someone expressed their concern about death. Before my near-death experience I was the same way. Abject fear is the best I can describe my feelings. My out of body experience and the sensation of a child's touch I cannot explain. However I firmly believe from that time, I gained an understanding that our spirit, our soul, the very essence of our being is separate from our physical bodies. From then on, for me, fear of death was no more.

I am not here to preach nor to attempt to convince anyone to alter their beliefs. This is only my personal experience. It was a powerful beginning on another path.

Life is sweet.


How did this happen?  Do you wonder?  So do I.  That an inland boy was drawn to the ocean, and for a few brief years engaged in an activity usually reserved for seaside dwellers, stretches understanding. My 1965 life-altering surfing accident should have ended the fascination.  Certainly the ebb and flow of tides, the pulse of waves, is deeply rooted in my inner being. Has the inexorable movement of oceans captured my soul only recently in this lifetime.  Was it there before.............before me, before past lives, before before?

 I simply know that waves are with me, on and on, neverending in my dreams.

All Good, Bill
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