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Mind Surf Review

Official Review

September 1st, 2003 6:11pm
Reviewed by Tracy Atteberry
Dan Harlan is an exceedingly clever magician and creator. Very often, this cleverness of method results in some truly amazing creations (see Cardtoon, Hover Card, Starcle, Magic with Rubber Bands, Soulmates, and much, much more) and if cleverness were reason enough to buy an effect, Mind Surf would certainly qualify.

Mind Surf is another "improvement" on Phil Goldstein's classic effect B'Wave. In Mind Surf, a card wallet is introduced and said to contain a prediction. The spectator then freely chooses one of the four suits (let's say Spades). After the suit has been named, the four cards are removed from the wallet and displayed. Three face-up Kings are shown (Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds) along with a single face-down card which is then shown to be the Ace of Spades.

The so-called improvement in this case is that the bit of verbal equivoque required in B'Wave has been eliminated, and so the spectator really does have a free choice of suits. This, however, comes at a price.

The thought of card must be named before the cards are removed from the card wallet. In B'Wave, of course, the cards can be placed on the spectator's palm from the beginning, before a card is named. Also, the Mind Surf cards cannot be displayed quite as openly.

After examining the materials, I was worried that performing this effect would involve complicated handling and mental gymnastics. Happily, the clever mind of Dan Harlan was way ahead of me and the effect is actually quite simple to perform and resets instantly. The routine and handling are also quite good.

I have seen at least five versions of the "name any suit" plot since the original release of B'Wave -- not all published -- and not one of them, in my opinion, has amounted to an improvement. A few of them, in fact, were designed solely to fool other magicians.

While Mind Surf may also be good for stumping the local magic clubbers, I don't think that was Dan's goal. In fact, Dan actually claims to perform Mind Surf in his walk-around performances -- and the quality routine shows it.

So while Mind Surf is probably the best of the B'Wave "improvements" that I've seen, I'm still going to stick with B'Wave. What it finally comes down to, with this and most other improvements, is that the price of eliminating the equivoque (which has never posed a performance problem for me anyway) is just too high.

I give Mind Surf 5 stars for creativity but only half a star for improvement over an existing effect. That's an average rating of 2.75 stars which I'll gladly round up to three for sheer ingenuity.
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Product info for Mind Surf

Author: Harlan, Dan
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supply
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $14.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Any one of the four suits is freely named by a spectator (no magician's choice, force, leading, or linguistic deception of any kind). Upon removing four cards from a wallet the card which matches the spectator's chosen suit is the only one face down! What's more, the three face-up cards are Aces and the spectator's selection is turned over to reveal it is a King!

Comes complete with all the necessary, specially-printed Bicycle cards, wallet, and detailed, fully-illustrated 12-page instruction booklet.

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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