Mike Doyle, a Surfer’s Surfer and a Snowboarding Pioneer, Passes Away at 78

I didn’t know Mike Doyle personally. However as a lifelong surfer, I’ve identified and been charmed by surfers like Mike Doyle.  Child boomer surfers who unashamedly, unabashedly, dedicated deeply and totally to the free-spirited fun-loving life that rose throughout the Golden Period of browsing, by no means contaminated with the cynical, jealous grumpiness so many surfers finally developed because the a long time moved on.

When he handed away at his house in Mexico this week, at age 78, his spouse by his facet, it was the fruits of a California surfer’s life well-lived.

“Individuals at all times say, ‘Who’s the perfect surfer on the planet?’ I’m going, ‘The one having essentially the most enjoyable.’ ”

Doyle, born in Los Angeles in 1941, had solely been browsing for 2 years when, in 1956, he found the proper level surf, and the buzzing social scene, of Malibu. Whereas working his manner up the Malibu pecking order, buoyed little doubt by his highly effective 6’1″ 190-pound and carved from marble phsyique, Doyle met a younger girl named Kathy Kohner who wished to get into browsing. He bought her a surfboard, and Kohner’s father went on to put in writing “Gidget” based mostly on his daughter’s seaside exploits. Kohner remembered Doyle when the ebook was made right into a film in 1959 and tabbed him as a browsing stunt double.

Doyle spent the 60s as a sort of archetypical California browsing playboy. Blonde, tanned, and good-looking, he dominated surf contests and paddleboard racing contests, utilizing his athleticism to grasp the heavy surfboards of the period though he’d been browsing for under a decade. Doyle additionally excelled on the charming, now not much-practiced sport/artwork type of tandem browsing, successful a bushel of occasions in California and Hawaii along with his longtime associate Linda Merrill.

Surfers liked Doyle’s energy browsing and his easygoing confidence whereas dominating competitions. He got here first place in Surfer journal’s Reader’s Ballot in 1964 and 1965, voted the preferred surfer on the planet. He additionally had an aesthetic aptitude and one eye on model.


Australian browsing icon Nat Younger remembered Doyle displaying up in Sydney for the 1964 World Championships, and simply awing the Australians along with his outsized persona and athletic browsing. “He was driving a mauve board with white competitors stripes, and I used to be completely and completely infatuated,” Younger mentioned. “We couldn’t consider it when he really confirmed up at our native seaside [and] introduced with him a home made, embroidered Mexican shirt as a gift for me. It was an ideal match and have become my all-time favourite shirt, worn solely on particular events.”

Doyle transitioned right into a little bit of an entrepreneur within the 70s. He helped invent and promote the primary surf-specific surf wax and he went into enterprise with Tom Morey to fabricate the primary soft-top surfboards. Regardless of the rise of the Costco-sold Wavestorm soft-top, many surfers at this time, particularly in Southern California, nonetheless check with all soft-tops as “Doyles.”

As surfers turned more and more thinking about snowboarding within the 70s, Doyle began spending numerous time on the slopes, making an attempt to include a few of the feeling of browsing into snowboarding. He pioneered the monoski, a sort of precursor to the snowboard, besides the rider confronted ahead with each ft parallel, and nonetheless used poles.

Within the 80s, Doyle fulfilled just about each single California surfer’s fantasy and moved into the idyllic golden sundown of a life as a surfer/artist in Cabo. He ran a small surf faculty, surfed, paddled, and painted, rising an enormous goatee, and customarily regarded just like the sort of man Sammy Hagar and Jimmy Buffet would spend numerous blissful time with.

There should have been one thing about coming of age browsing within the 50s. So many surfers of Doyle’s period nonetheless appear wowed and charmed by the expertise of browsing, of a free-wheeling, fun-loving seaside life. As crowds swelled and lineups grew jaded, he cut up, headed to Mexico and the great life. Nonetheless in search of a style of the blissful Malibu scene he minimize his tooth in—lengthy seaside days with associates, not an entire lot of bullshit competing for his consideration.

“The route of browsing is enjoyable; it ought to be enjoyable,” he mentioned. “Individuals at all times say, ‘Who’s the perfect surfer on the planet?’ I’m going, ‘The one having essentially the most enjoyable.’ ”

A surfer till the very finish.

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