The Coast News Group
Stuntman, inventor of the Equiscope, John Thorpe. The background photo is of Thorpe on a serious wave at 56, after his doctors said he would never surf again. Photo by Chris Ahrens.
Columns Waterspot

Waterspot: Hope for hurting surfers

I hope the following doesn’t sound like an advertorial. It is not. I gain nothing form passing on the following beyond the hope that my suffering surfing family will become pain-free.

Unlike its younger brother skateboarding, surfing is done on a soft medium (water.) While surfers suffer relatively few direct injuries, those of us who with a quarter century or more of wave riding behind us probably have some back or neck issues. After a few decades of paddling belly down, head up, it’s nearly inevitable. At times, so is surgery.

My lifelong friend, Jim Hoskins, recently introduced to surfer, stuntman and extreme sports pioneer John Thorp. Thorp, who once made a great living wrecking cars and jumping tall buildings in a single bound for shows like the “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Magnum P.I.” became something of a crash test dummy (he is closer to a genius) and sustained injuries that few people could survive.

Left with numerous debilitating injuries after a particularly brutal collision, he awoke in an emergency room.  Everything hurt, but nothing more than his previously solid leg bone, that had splintered into 56 pieces. According to Thorp, “It would take three pins, 12 screws, and two plates to put Humpty Dumpty back to together again, followed by a bone graft from my hip to glue it all up. The doctors said my career as a stuntman was over and that I would probably never surf, snow ski, or fly my hang glider.”

When all hope seemed gone, a friend introduced Thorpe to micro-current therapy where a mild and painless current travels through the body. According to Thorp, “Within a year of self-imposed physical therapy and daily treatment with Electro-Acuscope and Myopulse machines I was back in the stunt business and running marathons.”

Beginning with those first treatments, Thorp worked to improve the machine and finally came up with an improved version of his own. His Electro-Equiscope sends out a tiny current but produces big results. Among the thousands who have drastically improved their lives through Thorp’s invention are football legend Darren Sproles, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, Charger Brandon Oliver, and I’ll Have Another, a racehorse that defied oddsmakers when he won the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

The medical profession is often resistant to treatments considered alternative, but the Equiscope is endorsed by cardiologists Stephen Sinatra and Richard Delany and psychiatrist Daniel Amen among others. 

Thorp keeps an office at the Thorp Institute of Integrated Medicine in Encinitas. Hurting surfers can get more information on the Electro-Equiscope by visiting is

Oceanographic pioneer Walter Munk passed away on Feb. 8, 2019, at the age of 101. Munk, whose many accomplishments include predicting the right moment to launch the Normandy Invasion during World War II, is widely considered the father of surf forecasting.