by Corky Carroll
Here is part 3 of my occasional series on people that I have known in the surfing world who I have found to be more interesting than the average surf dude or dudette than you might meet. People that offer more in a conversation than just the standard surf babble and all that bla blab la. Today I want to talk about the late, extremely great, Mike Doyle.
I almost decided to not include Mike in this series due to the fact that I have written about him a lot in the past. But I just could not leave him out of this conversation due to the fact that he was really the epitome of a very interesting person. He had so many facets to his persona.
As a surfer his accomplishments have been well documented. He is legendary and generally recognized as one of the all-time greats. His overall skills sometimes tend to get overlooked, so I am going to point them out. He was as good as, or the best, big wave surfer of his era (the 1960’s). He was a top-rated competitive surfer, usually in the top 10. He was a world class paddleboard racer and also excelled in all the lifeguard water skills. He could do it all in the water at the highest levels.
He also was a first-class skier and invented the “Mono-ski.” This evolved into the modern “Snowboard.” Along with that he innovated many modern floatation devices used in lifesaving even to this day. And, of course, he was a top surfboard designer and the innovator of the worlds first soft surfboard, the “Morey-Doyle.” His surfboard designs are of the highest quality and are still marketed today right here in Lake Forest.
If that isn’t enough, then there was his art. Mike was a well-known and fantastic artist. His paintings sell in the five figure range. Before he passed away in 2019, he owned and ran his own gallery in San Jose del Cabo.
I could go on and on about all the cool stuff Mike Doyle was known for, but I don’t have a zillion words to work with here. I would rather tell you about why I liked him and what influence he had on my life.
The short version. Mike picked me up hitch hiking home for surfing at Doheny State Park in about 1961. Shortly after that we began to see each other at surfing events and became friends. For a short time he lived with us at our home in Surfside while he attended Long Beach State College, during which time he took me to many surf events and on surfing trips. He was a great person to have as a mentor, super good values, and an incredible sense of humor. It’s the sense of humor part that has always endeared me to people. I like people who laugh a lot. Mike was a very funny dude. He and Mickey Munoz were my main “older guy” influences when I was a young teen and before I could drive.
It was not only with the surfing that Mike had influence on me though. He was also into art and I was interested in that. He painted cool stuff. One time he had a giant totem pole on the bottom of his board. In Hawaii he would paint faces on coconuts and leave them laying around. He was very good and helped me with some of my early art attempts, a lot of which I still use today in my paintings.
Probably the biggest reason I found Mike interesting is just the fact that he was almost always smiling when you ran into him and he had such a range of stuff to talk about and share. Plus the dude was a great chick magnet, hanging out with him never hurt in the “lets go find some chicks” part of growing up. There were so many things we did together on top of the ones already mentioned. We played tennis and music, and told a lot of jokes.
Mike Doyle, a true life surf hero.
To see more of Corky's art, click on the above painting. To get further info and pricing, contact Corky.
2/26/2023 10:13:34 am
Aloha Corky, feel free to write about Mike anytime the urge hits. Just on the other side of my idolization of Dora and Edwards came Mike. His style and ability made me want to 'be like Mike' long before Jordan started dribbling a ball.
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