NowVIZ / Byron Murphy Jr

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NFL top cornerback, Byron Murphy Jr. will start the 2023 season as a Minnesota Viking. Cover photo by Andrea Mead Cross.















NowVIZ: How did you get into skimboarding and how long have you been at it?

Cesar: I got into skim boarding as an alternative to surfing. It became a great way to wait for waves in south Florida on those summer “flat spells.” I picked up my first skimboard when I was 14. It was a small wooden board that my dad bought at a beach souvenir shop for 20 bucks! I remember the first day I tried it - I was sharing it with two of my cousins and we felt like doing simple “shuvits” and “180s.” It was the most awesome thing ever!

I never really practiced much until I turned 18. Just out of high school during my first week of employment, I took my first ever paycheck and bought a small Zap skimboard. Skimboarding quickly became a thing I did almost every week.

While in college, I practiced almost every day after class or after work, and I quickly learned a wide variety of tricks. When I graduated, I decided to try competing and quickly got hooked on trying to be the best I could be. I competed for a few years, but now, skimboarding is a strong, personal avocation that keeps my body healthy and my mind young.




NowVIZ: One difference between surfing and skimboarding is that many more things can be done on a skimboard than on a surfboard. Can you give us some specifics?

Cesar: Because a skimboard is much smaller than a surfboard and has no fins, it is much easier to toss and kick around to perform tricks that are similar to skateboarding.

Shuvits would be the skimboard signature technical trick. Also called a 180 shuvit, a shuvit is a trick where your back foot pushes the tail of the board while you jump, making the board spin under your feet so that you land with the tail of the board in front of you.

That basic trick can be pushed to higher levels by kicking the board harder to make it spin more times under you (360 shuvits, 540 shuvits, etc.) or by mixing the spin of the board with your body rotating in mid-air, making tricks like big spins and bigger spins.

The fun thing about skimboarding is that it can be split into two categories, flatland and wave riding. Flatland is practiced on beaches and at lakes that have extremely low tides, and skimmers can perform a lot more technical tricks similar to skateboarding. They even place ramps and rails to set up a sort of skim park.

Wave riding is more like surfing because it consists of the skimmer sliding out to a wave and riding it back to the shore. In that process, a wide variety of surf-like and skate-like tricks can be involved, including cutbacks, aerials, riding in the barrel, floaters, and shuvits. Some guys are doing even more complex tricks like kick flips and varial flips.

Each category is extremely fun in its own way, and each can require some extreme levels of practice to perform the more advanced tricks. Most skimmers will tell you that skimboarding is a very underrated sport, and I agree with that statement.

NowVIZ: What’s your local break?

Cesar: Pretty much all of South Florida is my local break! From Miami to Jupiter, I’ve skimmed them all, and I continue to frequent most of them.


NowVIZ: Is there a particular skimboard brand or shape that you like best and why?

Cesar: I’ve never been a die-hard fan of any brand, as most brands tend to have moments of great quality and moments where they create just plain garbage. No particular brand will make you a better skimmer. It’s all about how much you practice and how much you actually enjoy skimboarding.

I’ve ridden many kinds of boards of many different brands and there are pros and cons to all of them. But I do have to thank Slotstik Skimboards for providing amazing quality boards throughout the years I was competing. If there is something particular about Slotstik skimboards, it is that the boards are always eye candy, and almost everyone who buys one has a hard time deciding whether to use it for the first time or hang it on their walls as a masterpiece!

At Slotstik, I got to work with a shaper to create customized boards for what I needed. Through the years, I came up with the right kind of board I wanted and asked the shaper to make it. It is a particular shape that has a roundish “pin-tail”, a more narrow nose (more like a surfboard), and a concave bend towards the tail of each rail (often called “wings”). It was eventually called the Wingpin. It quickly became a hot seller, and it’s funny to have noticed a few other brands copying the design a few months later. But I’ve always thought it important to try many different boards to find what you truly like best.

“The fun thing about skimboarding is it can be split into two categories, flatland and wave riding.”
is that

NowVIZ: When you’re not at the beach, what are you up to?

Cesar: I am either working or spending time with my lady love and/or with my family. I’m lucky to have such an amazing girlfriend and parents that share in the lifestyle I love. My career and loved ones take up a lot of my time, but I almost always make time every day for skimboarding and surfing. Don’t wanna lose my edge!

NowVIZ: If you could travel anywhere where would that be and why?

Cesar: Of all the places I’ve been to, I’d have to say Hawaii. Of course, I still want to go to many new places around the world, but Hawaii has always been the place where I can’t wait to go back to every time I leave it. I’m stoking on this year’s trip to Hawaii with my girlfriend. It’s going to be a blast!










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NowVIZ: You’ve written three books on plant-strong healthy eating, “The Engine 2 Diet,” “The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet,” and the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Plant-Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet.”

As a leader in the movement for healthy living, what nutritionally inspired message can you provide to people of all ages?

Rip: I’m out on tour right now, talking to audiences across the US in support of my latest book, “The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet”. And this book is opening people up to something that I think they didn’t expect, which is that plant-strong living can be simple, and not only simple, but delicious!

We have a private Facebook support group for our Seven-Day Rescue Challenge in support of the book. It’s more than 11,000 people strong right now. Overwhelmingly, I am hearing from folks who cannot believe how easy it is to not only eat plant-strong but also to reverse their chronic health problems. Those who are athletes are raving about their shortened recovery time and increased energy. No supplements - just whole, plant-strong foods.

We athletes build up massive amounts of oxidative stress and free radicals. The best way to mitigate that oxidative stress and to neutralize those pesky free radicals is with whole, plant-based foods that contain over 25,000 known phytonutrients only found in plants, and on average, 64 times more antioxidants. If you want to up your game, then up your intake of plants and go plant-strong!

NowVIZ: You are a former professional triathlete and now a health activist. What challenges/questions, if any, do you get asked from the athletic community who predominantly consume meat-based diets?

Rip: Well, you know I get the “Where am I gonna get my protein?” question all the time. That’s probably always going to be the most common. Athletes should know that the strongest, safest, smartest, and healthiest form of protein comes from plants, not animals. The essential amino acids that form the basic building blocks of proteins originate from plants. Bypass the middle cow/pig/chicken and go straight to the mother source for the best protein available.

A lot of pushback comes from supplementation. You can absolutely maintain or increase performance by eating just whole, plant-strong foods - spend your money on real food! Protein shakes and other fancy supplements are unnecessary to perform at your best.

I think that generally, though, as more and more athletes like Tom Brady, Venus Williams, Griff Whalen, and others are coming forward raving about how plant-based eating has helped them step up their games, there are fewer challenges and more questions. In my conversations, I’ve found that many athletes are aware of the benefits and are genuinely curious about how it can work for them. The tide is turning!


Overwhelmingly, I am hearing from folks who cannot believe how easy it is to not only eat plant-strong but also to reverse their chronic health problems. Those who are athletes are raving about their shortened recovery time and increased energy. No supplements - just whole, plant-strong foods.

NowVIZ: You mention you were initially inspired to switch to a vegan diet by Ironman triathlete, Dave Scott. How did that come about and in what ways did that help you as an athlete?

Rip: I decided I wanted to compete full-time as a professional triathlete in 1987, and I discovered that the #1 triathlete on the planet was this badass vegetarian from Davis, California (Dave Scott) who even rinsed his cottage cheese to get all the excess fat off!

My father was three years into his research at the Cleveland Clinic to show that people could metabolize the plaque formations in the arteries by switching to a plant-based diet with amazing success. So when I discovered that Dave was eating this way, it was a slam dunk for me to start eating this way too.

Think of whole, plant-based foods as premium fuel that won’t gunk up your engine, and animal-based foods and dairy as a weak and dirty fuel that will cause your performance to sputter.

NowVIZ: Every sport requires different methods of training and performing, but if it were possible to put all athletes in one room, what could you provide as their nutritional coach that would help them perform at their best?

Rip: Steel-cut oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, black beans, bananas, mangoes, blueberries, lentils, kale, broccoli, and no particular order!

NowVIZ: What hurdles do you find are most challenging for those who switch to a plant-strong diet?

Rip: The biggest hurdle is in our heads. It’s undoing years of incorrect recommendations and billions of dollars in advertising programming us to believe that the only way to perform at the highest level is by consuming meat, eggs, and dairy.

NowVIZ: Your father, Caldwell Esselstyn, was a cardiologist and author of the book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” which essentially calls for a low-fat, plant-based diet and was advocated by former US President Bill Clinton. He was also part of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic American rowing team “eight” which won the gold medal! In what ways has he helped contribute to your own pursuit of finding better ways to live a healthy lifestyle?

Rip: He has given me the courage to go against the grain and do what I believe in my heart of hearts is the truth. One of the greatest gifts he has given, not only to me but also to my whole family and the families of my brothers and sister, is the gift of a whole food, plant-strong lifestyle to live healthy and happy lives.







NowVIZ: You are the first named “Equipment Designer” for the Jordan brand, creating products including hats, bags, socks, gloves, and a basketball. Can you tell us a little bit about how you landed that position and what it has been like so far?

Precious: Honestly, that position literally kind of transitioned into its own title. I started my career with an internship at Nike designing bags. That led to one of the directors in the Jordan Brand asking me to work on a bag project for them, which then quickly led to a full-time position. After that one bag project, the director, who then became my manager, would give me random projects as a test saying things like, “Hey Precious, sketch up some socks and a hat, and while you’re at it, a basketball too!” A small snowball quickly turned into a snowman and I was responsible for doing way more than just bag designs.

So far, this journey has taught me a lot, not only about myself but also about being a designer in the corporate world. There are a lot of things that you have to put into perspective while designing, such as cost, materials, style, and functionality.

NowVIZ: Not only are you now designing Jordan bags, but you are also designing other Jordan products such as accessories, socks, and shoes like the Jordan Galaxy. What gets you inspired to design for such an iconic line?

Precious: I can honestly say that a lot of my inspiration comes from competitive cooking shows! Odd as it may seem, it reminds me of how you can take something so simple and transition it into something that someone has never seen before.

It excites me to create a product that has never been seen before while also tying it back to the brand. All you need is a storyeverything else usually falls into place.

NowVIZ: Nike designed the first shoe for Michael Jordan in 1984. Then, Nike launched the Jordan brand in 1997 and its success continues today long after Michael has left the sport. How do you approach your work knowing your market is so loyal to the Jordan brand?

Precious: With confidence and knowledge. The consumer knows so much about the legacy of MJ that you can’t come up short, not even a tiny bit. They’ll call you out, so you have to be prepared to back your designs with any means necessary.

On the roof in LA’s Fashion District
District with photographer

NowVIZ: Have you ever met Michael Jordan? If so, what was that like, and has he said anything to you directly about your design work?

Precious: LOL! Yes, I have met MJ. He is an amazing man who is very inspiring, to say the least. I would have never thought that someone like him, someone with title, could be so invested in my career, especially with me still being pretty new to the company. I’ve worked with him on some of the accessories that he has been rocking. MJ is very involved in the design process, but not in a bad way. It’s more like you teaching him what it’s like to be a designer, and how, as a designer, you can help to influence the design world even more with your own innovation and style.

NowVIZ: We know you can’t talk about what designs you’re currently working on, but can you tell us what products you’ve designed that are out on the market now?

Precious: Here are a few: the Air Jordan 1 Retro Ultra High, the Jordan Hydro 5 Men’s Slide, the Jordan Sportswear Top-Loader Backpack, Sportswear Backpack and the Jumpman Backpack, the Jordan University of Michigan Accessories including beanies, scarves, gloves, socks, and Snapbacks, the Jordan Retro Snapbacks, the Jordan Hyper Grip OT Basketball, Jordan Ultimate Flight Crew Socks, Jordan Jumpman No Show Socks and Jordan Ultimate Flight Ankle Socks. Some other products are floating out there too!


NowVIZ: When you’re not designing, what keeps you fresh?

Precious: Architecture has to be the most inspiring thing that keeps my mind fresh. Recently, Portland has started to expand a lot, and watching the buildings go up is nothing but an inspiration, especially in trying to understand someone else’s thought processes.

Also, working with children has kept me relevant in the design process. The honesty in the advice they give is like no other. And with honest feedback, it’s easier to create functional products.

90 AJ 1 MID

NowVIZ: We’ve been told you have an extensive shoe collection! If that’s true, will you give us the rundown?

Precious: I have a very extensive shoe collection! A lot of it is on ice because it rains so damn much in Portland! Working at Nike has become a bit of a problem because it’s easy to get the kicks and even easier for me as I’m kids’ size! I’ve moved a couple of times, and honestly, more than half the truck was filled with boxes full of shoes! I mean, all you really need in this life of sin is a bed, a pencil with dope paper, and banging-ass kicks to get you through the day! Everything else usually falls into place.

AJ 11 CRIB 2




fourth STORY




ost young boys passionate about football dream of playing in the NFL. Few achieve it, though. And even when they do, it’s often only when they look back to see “how the hell did I get here?!” that they realize they were the ones on the path all along.

That could be said about top NFL cornerback, Byron Murphy Jr. Born in Scottsdale, Arizona, the now 25-year-old was determined to join the pro sports league from an early age.

He finished his senior high school football career at Saguaro in 2015. Helping the team win a state title, Byron was then named the Arizona Cardinals High School Player of the Year. Four years later, the Cards went ahead and drafted him as a replacement for Patrick Peterson who had signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

That might seem like destiny. And the fact that Byron switched to wearing the No. 7 jersey in 2021, the same number on the jersey he was gifted by Cardinals Owner Michael Bidwell in 2015, makes it seem even more so.

“It’s crazy how everything happened like that,” Byron noted in an interview with with Arizona Sports. But sometimes “crazy’ is actually an “inevitability”, especially when you’re a standout athlete like Byron.

2020 was a year of ups-and-down thanks to the Covid Pandemic. But 2021 was one of the versatile player’s most productive seasons. He finished it with 64 tackles and 12 career-high passes defensed along with four interceptions. And though 2022, saw Byron playing just nine games thanks to a chronic back issue, he still managed to slip in 36 tackles, four passes defensed, and two fumble recoveries, one of which enabled the Cards’ game-winning touchdown and also earned him a spot in the NFL ‘s Hall of Fame for the longest recovered fumble in overtime!

Now a new direction on Byron’s football-playing path has opened up for him. After four years with the Arizona Cardinals, the Scottsdale native is making a move. Becoming a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, Byron has since agreed to a two-year $22 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings. And as fate would have it, he’ll be taking over for Patrick Peterson once more as Peterson departs the Purple for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At 25 years old and with 48 starts already behind him, the 5 ft-11, 167-pound Byron is both a young player and a veteran. NowVIZ caught up with the Viking’s newest Cornerback to reflect on the path that’s brought him to this moment.

…And we can’t wait to see where that path is going to lead him!


After spending the past four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Byron Murphy Jr agrees to a two-year $22 million contract with the Vikings.

NowVIZ: Can you give us the behind-the-scenes of how you got into football, through college, and the early draft that led to a career in the NFL? (Giving us a mini timeline of your trek to the NFL)

Byron: I started playing football at age six. It was always a passion of mine to play in the NFL. Finishing up my high school career at Saguaro and transitioning to college at the University of Washington was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have developed long-lasting relationships throughout high school and college that I still have to this day. Getting drafted by the Cardinals in 2019 was surreal for me; not only was it my favorite team growing up but I was also blessed to stay home and play in front of my family and friends.

NowVIZ: Las Vegas, September 22, 2022, the Cardinals vs the Raiders! What. A. Game! Tell us about it! And how that earned you a spot in the Hall of Fame!

Byron: Wow! What a crazy experience! I got to compete against one of the best receivers in the NFL and it was a moment I will never forget. Being honored in the Hall of Fame for the longest fumble recovery in overtime was a blessing, and to get a road game win was huge!

NFL cornerback Byron Murphy Jr.and photographer Andrea Mead Cross.
On location with top NFL cornerback Byron Murphy Jr.

NowVIZ: Could you talk about the type of training required to stay physically on top of the game as one of the top cornersbacks in the NFL?

Byron: As far as training goes, I do a lot of prehab in the off-season to make sure I am prepared on Sundays. Taking care of my body during the off-season as well as the season itself is a big part of my success.

NowVIZ: How do you fuel your body nutritionally throughout the season? Is there a specific diet or regime you follow?

Byron: I don’t have a specific diet, but I do like to maintain a healthy diet. I meal prep throughout the season and make sure I am staying on a routine to maintain a certain weight!

“What a crazy experience! I got to compete against one of the best receivers in the NFL and it was a moment I will never forget. Being honored in the Hall of Fame for the longest fumble recovery in overtime was a blessing, and to get a road game win was huge!”

--Las Vegas, September 22, 2022 Cardinals vs Raiders




NowVIZ: Let’s talk about your interest in fashion. What is most intriguing to you about the industry and do you see yourself getting involved in some way?

Byron: I have a huge interest in fashion. I actually have my own clothing brand called 7 Hearts that I started four years ago. Fashion allows me to express myself and help others express themselves as well. Being in GQ is one of my ultimate goals.

“I will always be grateful for being given the opportunity to represent the state of Arizona in a Cardinals uniform. I wore that uniform with great pride and passion throughout my playing career.”



NowVIZ: As an athlete is there or has there been a person or mentor in your life that has helped you through the challenging times as well as the successful times?

Byron: A mentor in my life is my mom. She has been there for me through the ups and the downs and she is my why! She gives me motivation everyday when I step on the field to give my all!


“Minnesota, I cannot wait to get to work and compete to win a Super Bowl Championship!”


NowVIZ: Give us a slice of what your off-season looks like?

Byron: My off-season consists of training and rehab to get ready for next season. I like to travel and take trips and enjoy it as well. I think that while we must put hard work into the season, it is good to take some time for yourself and take it all in. I am also big into fashion, so I like to show off my new fits during the off-season.


Nothing but good energy!! But if I had to choose a favorite artist right now I would say Lil Baby, Drake, or Young Boy!


For some time now, I’ve really been into Soulection. It’s a mix of various “underground” artists just trying to make it in the music industry. I guess I like them so much because it reminds me of why I grind so hard!


Free by Bronko Yotte, con Camileazy. I love music, pretty much all kinds of music. I love different languages, and different genres from reggae to hip hop, to electronic, to salsa, to samba, to rock. Music keeps me young at heart and sets me in the right mood for whatever I’m going to do. Music, skimboarding, and surfing are my drugs, literally!


My playlist has a little bit of everything, it usually just depends on the mood or what I’m getting ready for. Been liking the Lumineers’ new album and a new guy by the name of Quinn XCII; he’s got some chill music that reminds me of Southern California. Pre-Game is all of the Rap music with a little bit of Future, and 21 Savage, mixed in with The Game.



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Rip Esselstyn and his brand PLANTSTRONG in select grocery stores nationwide.


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behind the scenes


Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr working with photographer Andrea Mead Cross,


On location with top NFL player Byron Murphy Jr.


Love the moment. 2023



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