Opinion: The World’s Most Overrated Surfer!

Surfing's anti-hero Mickey Dora!

When BeachGrit’s Derek Rielly and surfing’s grand vizier Matt Warshaw get together laughs, and knowledge, flow like a river. Their last tete a tete, titled Who’s the World’s Most Overrated Surfer had me doubled up on the floor. If you missed, please, give yourself a gift here.

The two started in the present, bandying about names like Matt Banting, Italo Ferrari, Glenn Hall. Funny but the juices really got gushing when the conversational turned historical. Derek asked, “In history, and according to your readings, who is the most overrated surfer of all time?” Matt responded, “Not a chance.”

They continued, with much, hilarity but didn’t really or truly land on a name. I wonder if it is because Matt has so much knowledge that it is difficult for him to be definitive? Complete certitude about something subjective is a game for historical novices.

Well, I am a historical novice. And so I say, with complete certitude, that the most overrated surfer of all time is one Miklos “Mickey” Dora!

Mickey was smooth, true, but so is Joel Parkinson (the second most overrated surfer of all time). He was handsome, yes, but handsome amongst surfers is almost a non-starter (hello, Ron Blakey). No, the reason that Mickey is propped up, or so it seems, is his rebellion. His flaunting of tradition. His too-cool-for-school lurking on the fringes. Matt Warshaw posts The London Times Mickey Dora obit in his Encyclopedia of Surfing entry. It reads, Mickey was the “West Coast archetype and antihero . . . the siren voice of a nonconformist surfing lifestyle.” And this is at what I take offense. This is bullshit.

Mickey’s rebellion involved whining about Malibu’s overcrowding while, at the same time, appearing in the Beach Blanket Bingo films responsible for surfing’s exploding popularity as an extra. I love self-contradiction, don’t get me wrong, but only self-contradiction on a grand scale. He probably got paid tens of dollars for being in the background of these films. He should have starred in them.

His rebellion involved check and credit card fraud, both low, impersonal and weak forms of crime. My cousin robbed 2o-some odd banks a few years back and he surfs. Mickey should have gone on a wild, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bank robbing spree through California, France and Australia before being brought low under a hail of bullets in Bolivia.

His rebellion involved not working, living instead off the largess of his friends. There are many stories floating about how this “living” often involved stealing from them. And son of a bitch. If there is one trait that stinks worse than all others it is narcissistic selfishness.

The nonconformist, anti-hero, outlaw narrative has been accepted as fact. The Inertia listed Mickey Dora as the second most-influential surfer of all-time writing, “Miki Dora is, in large part, responsible for the rebel-side of surfing.” Which is exactly the problem. If The Inertia thinks something is rebellious then it very clearly ain’t.


Donnie Frankenreiter, Ben Stiller and Andy Irons cameo in the Taj Burrow biopic Fair Bits.

Watch: The dirtiest surf movie scenes ever!

Surf films used to make you float on a cloud of laughter. They were light and fresh and vulgar…

Most surf movies give me a serious headache. All that slow motion (so much RED), all those moody looks, all those lingering, paralysing scenics. It’s a dreadful thing to admit but as much as I thrilled to Slow Dance, I had to be forcibly awakened after that hunk of slow-mo in the middle.

Did you know that surf films used to make you float on a cloud of laughter?

They were as light and as fresh and as silly as a Barcardi rum served with a sprig of mint and a cherry. Vulgarity was a card to play not to discard.

These two scenes, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson from Doped Youth (2005) and Fair Bits (2006), are funny and frank even if both toned down their profanities.

Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson from Doped Youth from BeachGrit on Vimeo.

Mick’s use of “cunt” in Doped Youth was reduced to a whisper and when Andy Irons says, “What did you say motherfucker? Want some more of that? Fuck… you…” in his Fair Bits cameo with Ben Still and Donovan Frankenreiter, that, too, was cut.

Still, the dirty work is there.

Can you imagine anyone risking their precious fan base with similarly dangerous performances now?

Does loyalty have any value?

What can we learn from these tumultuous times?

All this chatter, the last few days, of brands dropping athletes (Reef x Luke Davis) and athletes dropping brands (Dane Reynolds x Quiksilver) has got me thinking. My phone is still screaming, my MacBook Air molten lava (a smashing rumor coming to you soon!), but instead of indulging immediately, I am sitting back with an early morning vodka x ginger beer and pondering the value of loyalty.

In traditional stick and ball sports, fans generally speak highly of the days before giant paychecks and free agency. When players and teams would be bound for life. The fans, who don’t think twice about tattooing team logos on their bodies, wish the athletes would exhibit a similar commitment and die-hard love. When an athlete leaves the fans crow about greed. Likewise, when a team cuts an underperforming but well-loved athlete, the fans crow about greed.

Does loyalty, then, have any value aside from sentimental?

It is the same, more or less, in surfing. Our brands act as teams and build rosters of surfers who get paid very well…until they don’t and are cut. It seems both brand and surfer live in an unhealthy symbiosis. The brand pays the surfer but can cut out at a moment’s notice (from what I hear Luke was cut without excuse), especially as the surfer ages. The surfer gets paid to ride for the brand but often feels put upon if ordered to appear here or go there or surf in professional contests. It seems, over time, both grow increasingly suspicious of each other.

I suppose the crux of the issue is best summed up with Kelly Slater x Quiksilver. The brand paid him millions upon millions upon millions of dollars over the years. The surfer helped make the brand iconic. Should the two ever have broken up? It seems to me no. It feels like Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.

At the end, in our capitalistic environs, it is naive to think brands will be benevolent and surfers grateful but, we can dream like schoolgirls, like Boston Red Sox fans, can’t we?

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Headed to Oahu this Winter? Want to save a little money? Don’t mind screwing someone over, as long as they deserve it? Then you are in luck!

Did you know that there are only 828 legal vacation rentals on Oahu? And only 177 are outside of Waikiki!

Now, you’re probably thinking, “How can that be, Rory? I looked online, there are, literally, thousands of places available. You can’t be saying that they’re ALL illegal?”

That is exactly what I’m saying.

Which is a problem, you know, for the people that live here. Every apartment, or condo, or stand-alone house used for short-term vacation rentals is one less available to residents.

Now, I know that there are those among you who think that you should be able to do whatever you want with your property, in spite of any negative consequences for your fellow citizens. And I guess that’s okay. I think you’re a greedy asshole and I hope your dick rots off, but you’re entitled to your own opinions.

And, thanks supply and demand, the spots left become increasingly unaffordable.

Now, I know that there are those among you who think that you should be able to do whatever you want with your property, in spite of any negative consequences for your fellow citizens. And I guess that’s okay. I think you’re a greedy asshole and I hope your dick rots off, but you’re entitled to your own opinions.

The thing is… well, I guess I believe that part of being a society is living by its rules. Unless you don’t want to, but there’s a downside to that.

We agree not to fuck each other over, to play by the rules, to perform at a minimum level of decency. And the bar isn’t really very high.

But when you decide to pick and choose the rules you’ll follow, well, you just have to accept that other people can do the same. If an employer feels it’s in his best interests to shave wages, then his employees have every right to rob him blind.

Or, if you feel that you can turn a tidy profit by illegally renting out a home you own, then people can just decide not to pay you. Morality is fluid like that.

And that’s what I’m advocating. Just don’t pay.

I’m well aware that most places require a deposit, and some even insist you pay in full in advance. But a deposit is still far less than the total cost of stay, and you can usually talk your way around paying in advance. After all, you haven’t actually seen the place, and how do you know it’s even legit? Tons of vacation rental fraud out there. You wouldn’t want someone to take advantage of you.

You can even be real ballsy, put in on your credit card, then do a charge back. Or stop payment on the check. Use some pretense, that it wasn’t as described. It doesn’t really matter.

Because your erstwhile landlord has no recourse!

If they try and sue you they’ll end up in small claims court, assuming the total you owe is under $5000. But the thing is, serving a small claims summons to someone out of state is nearly impossible. And it won’t come to that anyway.

There’s a ton of money in renting a place out for $300 a day when its fair market month-to-month price sits around $2100, and the idea of losing that income stream is terrifying.

While enforcement of short term rental laws are nearly non-existent, possible fines are actually quite large. Do you think a property owner will be willing to gamble a long-term meal ticket over a comparatively paltry sum of money?

Better to just eat this loss and make it up by gouging a few suckers with a bogus $500 “cleaning fee.”

Simply check the address against the linked list (click here). If its not in there, you’re in the clear.

Spend the money you save on something fun, like a kitschy ukulele, or a coconut painted with a sunset, or numerous blowjobs from a series slag of strippers outside one of the numerous tiny sketchy strip clubs sprinkled through the alleys surrounding Femme Nu.

You’ll be glad you did!

Just in: Ex-NBA player bites surfers!

Yao Ming has cut shark fin soup consumption by 50% in China. Is that shark eating surfer soup?

If you are a surfer you cannot help but notice the uptick in shark attacks. Everyday, or so it seems, another poor soul is struck by ravenous monsters from the deep. Scientists and couch people with WiFi blame many things including global warming, over-fishing, protection laws and more surfers in the water than ever before.

The true culprit, though, is a 7 foot something ex-NBA Chinese man named Yao Ming. Yao, you see, is truly amazing and wonderfully enlightened. He made a video, below, that tells his people not to eat shark fin soup, a fine delicacy in China. Shark fin soup is extremely cruel. The sharks are caught, their fins are cut off and they are let back into the sea to suffocate and die. Torture and awful.

His plea has knocked off consumption by 50% and wow. 50% of a billion is a million? I failed math but, at any rate, success! But also wow. Surfer nips up lots%.

Should surfers start eating shark fin soup?

Yao Ming – Shark Fin Soup from WildAid on Vimeo.