Miki Dora: Da Cat is a surf legend | Photo: Ron Stoner

Miki Dora is one the brightest legends in the history of surfing. The sport's heroic antihero lived 67 years and left a rich legacy of ideas, concepts, expressions, thoughts, and theories. The most famous quotations by Miki Dora tell us what he was, and what he wanted to be.

The undisputed "King of Malibu," the ultimate hedonist, "The Black Knight," "Da Cat," and the "The Malibu Gypsy." Dora traveled the world and developed his fantasy planet.

Just like in the arts, sports legends never die, and Miki Dora will continue to shadow the dark side of surfing. The commercialization of the sport, the homogenization of behaviors, styles and references were some of the issues Dora always fought.

For many, he was the "angry young man of surfing." He was loved, hated, and too often misunderstood. The unlikely surf legend from Hungary hurt many people, and inspire quite a few, but no one ever questioned his love for surfing.

If Dora could, he would buy surfing just for himself. And he would add Malibu and its waves to the cart. Miki Dora hated interviews, modern capitalists, ignorants, politicians, lawmakers, and taxmen.

"Da Cat" believed on the bright side of individualism; family, friends, acquaintances, girlfriends, business partners, and fellow surfers rarely interpreted well his emotional zigzags. He could be warm and kind, and he could be rude and pretentious.

Dora was a bit like Jim Morrison, and a bit like Jose Mourinho. A loner, a legend, an individualist, an outlaw, a rebel with causes and, above all, a uber-talented surfer.

His critics accuse him of being a surf bum, a vagabond, a sociopath and a criminal. Dora featured on FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list and spent long months in American prisons.

But Mickey Dora has his name written in the history of surfing. Dora lives. "Da Cat" has a thousand lives. Get a glimpse of Miki Dora's mental existence:


Living at the beach isn't the answer. Guys who live at the beach get waterlogged. I'm there for the waves, nothing else.

I don't expect anyone to live my life. Why should they? It's pretty lonely. A very lonely, bizarre existence.

The individuals are being pushed out, and the clones are taking over.

The competitive part of it all is a whole different ballgame, a whole different camp from what I am involved in. I don't want to think about it. It destroys the whole purpose of riding waves. I don't like noises, I don't like crowds, I don't like bullhorns going off, and people giving me orders how to ride, how to do certain maneuvers.

I'm a freak of nature and don't fit in with anybody.

The vintage years are over. I have my memories, and that's it. I want to keep them to myself. I don't want to share them with a bunch of idiots.

Malibu is summer... summer is ruined. Now you have to share your summer vacations with everybody - I have to share my time with working slobs. Summer has had it.

I've been called a lot of things at one time or another. You name it. But I've never been in trouble.

I ride for my pleasure only.

I'm a four feet and under man.

I go into contests once or twice a year for the pleasure of shaking up the status quo. The more restrictive they can make a contest's [rules], the less [the judges] have to think or know about what you're accomplishing in the water; thus making an easy job easier at our expense. What do these people care about your subtle split-second maneuvers, years of perfecting your talents?

I'm really modest, but I was one of the first persons to solve the JFK assassination in 1964.

Thank God for a few free waves.

I was a little bit smarter and quicker than everyone else, so I've been able to live the way I've wanted to live. But I wouldn't recommend it.

No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from.

I always have an escape route in my life. Everything I do I try to think on a 360-degree level.

I can't live in the Northern Hemisphere. I must live back, back into time, where all these animals, all this sea life, shellfish, crustaceans, is part of the smell.

In the US, I'm known by name only to some 100,000 crazed surf bum brats who use my name for every conceivable caper under the sun to make me look like an idiot.

Twenty-two hours locked away, each and every day, makes a man hardly know what to say.

I'm quite certain that I'm the only person in this snake pit who doesn't have a mosaic tattooed torso or multiple gunshot wounds.

I went to jail in Vacaville, not for any crime, but because I smiled at the judged.

I give a lot to a relationship.

The only talent I have is to try and live a free life. And that's been taken from me. It was different sport in those days. It was a small community, and everyone respected each other. Now that world and that life are gone forever.

I'm not happy in America.

I never considered myself a legend.

California is all screwed up.

I stand or fall, live or die, by my own decisions. What better place to end one's life than in Primordial Africa?

I am the one and only rightful king of Malibu.

My whole life is this escape; my whole life is this wave I drop into, set the whole thing up, pull off a bottom turn, pull up into it, and shoot for my life, going for broke man. And behind me all this shit goes over my back: the screaming parents, teachers, the police, priests, politicians, kneeboarders, windsurfers. They're all going over the falls into the reef; headfirst into the motherfucking reef, and 'bwah'! And I'm shooting for my life. And when it starts to close out I pull out and go down the back, and catch another wave, and do the same goddamned thing again.

I'm sorry, I don't do autographs.

Life is passing time as gracefully as possible.

I now find God on a wave.

I like to go to the stratosphere.

Waves are the ultimate illusion. They come out of nowhere, instantaneously materialize, and just as quickly they break and vanish. Chasing after such fleeting mirages is a complete waste of time. That is what I chose to do with my life.

Nothing influences me. I just go straight ahead in my thinking.


Dive and explore the Dora world. Get and read "All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora."

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