15.7.06

Miki Dora

Imagine a California coastline devoid of surfers. Imagine Malibu without surfboards all over the lineup. El Porto without vehicles stacked with surfboards. The inescapable fact of surfing here is the crowd. Wherever there are good waves there is a pack of surfers. One can only imagine a time before the crowd. Miki Dora died on Jan. 3, 2002 at the age of 67. He was one of the guys who surfed Malibu before the crowd took over.
"Waves are the ultimate illusion. They come out of nowhere, instantaneously materialize and just as quickly they break and vanish. Chasing such fleeting mirages is a complete waste of time. That is what I choose to do with my life."

Miklos Sandor Dora
1934 - 2002
When the '50s rolled around Dora was one of the few to surf Palos Verdes Cove, a favorite of these paddleboard surfers. He was one of a loose crew surfing at Malibu. There a writer followed his teenage daughter to the beach one day and came up with a novel. "Gidget" had arrived. The cornball Hollywood film gave surfing a free, and unwanted, national promotion. The party was over. The pristine world of Miki Dora was invaded. Seething in frustration, Dora, "da Cat," the Malibu master, became the man who went against the grain of all that surfing was to become.

Not long before he died at his father's home in Santa Barbara, Dora lived in Guethary, France. He would be seen on a certain park bench watching the waves. If it was good, he'd go surfing. In the end, Dora bought the dream that the magazines promote so relentlessly of the wandering, carefree surfer. But like everyone else, he had to sell out and join the crowd. That's sad, but that's the way life is. I respect Miki Dora more for what he tried to do than for what he accomplished. He tried to take the Hollywood out of surfing, to make it a bold, individualistic, artistic statement. And, in the end he forgot about the crowd, the hype, the lost world and picked up his board and paddled out.

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