Miklos Sandor Dora III|
August 11, 1934
January 3, 2002 (aged 67)|
Montecito, California, US
Dora received numerous nicknames and aliases during his life, including "Mickey Dora," "The Black Knight," "the Gypsy Darling," "Malibu Mickey," "Kung'Bu," "the Fiasco Kid," "El Taquache," and "Da Cat."
Dora was introduced to surfing by his father, Miklos, in the late 1930s. His stepfather Gard Chapin was also a "surf pioneer . . . a roughneck rebel who neer fit into polite society." Chapin's obsessions with surfboard design brought Dora into contact with California industrial designers including visits to the studio of Charles and Ray Eames.
Dora was one of the first surfers and started surfing when practically no one else was. Dora's signature surfboard, released in 1966, became the biggest selling surfboard in history, and again on its re-release 25 years later. The visibility of surfers such as Dora as well as the impact of the book Gidget meant many new surfers were starting to surf and thus crowding out existing surfers such as Dora. This sudden influx of surfers caused Dora to decry the masses both in person and in advertisements for his surfboards, one of which features Dora being crucified on two of his boards.
He decided to leave the U.S. in 1970 and lived around the world spending a majority of his time in France. After he returned to the US from France in 1981, he was subsequently arrested by the FBI for violating his parole by leaving the country in 1975 after pleading guilty to writing a bad check for the purchase of ski equipment. While serving time for that, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison after a Denver grand jury indicted him for credit card fraud in 1982.
He died at his father's home in Montecito, California, on January 3, 2002, at age 67 from pancreatic cancer.
"... If you took James Dean’s cool, Muhammad Ali’s poetics, Harry Houdini’s slipperiness, James Bond’s jet-setting, George Carlin’s irony and Kwai Chang Caine’s Zen, and rolled them into one man with a longboard under his arm, you’d come up with something like Miki Dora, surfing’s mythical antihero, otherwise known as the Black Knight of Malibu."
Existing surf books often present only the heroic and charismatic side. Dora was also known for being surly and standoffish, for example he once painted a swastika on his surfboard. He was charismatic and a lot of people loved him but he was often referred to as a bigot .
Despite his perceived mistrust towards the commercialization of surfing, Dora did enter into a profit sharing arrangement with Greg Noll to release a limited number of Miki Dora "da cat" surfboards, during which time he created magazine advertisements promoting the boards.
- Beach Party (1963)
- For Those Who Think Young (1964)
- Surf Party (1964)
- Muscle Beach Party (1964)
- Bikini Beach (1964)
- Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
- Ski Party (1965)
- How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)
- The Endless Summer (1966)
- In 2013, Leroy Fail recorded a song called "Dora Lives"
- In 2018, Amen Dunes named a song "Miki Dora" off their album Freedom
- McLELLAN, DENNIS (2002-01-05). "Miklos 'Miki' Dora, 67; Rebel Surfer". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Lunenfeld, Peter (June 2008). "Gidget on the Couch". The Believer. San Francisco: McSweeney's. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Pezman, Steve (Spring 2002). ""The Cat's Ninth Life: On Visiting Miki Dora Near the End"". The Surfers Journal. 11 (2).
- "Miki Dora Biography and Photos | SURFLINE.COM". www.surfline.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- Jamie Brisick: Requiem for Surfing's Black Knight - The sanctioned Miki Dora, LA Weekly, Mar 2 2006
- Westwick, Peter; Neushul, Peter (2013-07-23). The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing. Crown. ISBN 0307719480.
- USC Trojan Family "Dawn Patrol" by Agustin Gurza, Autumn 2014.
- Rensin, David (March 2008). All for a Few Perfect Waves - The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. pp. 892–899. ISBN 9780061868160.
- "Dora Lives".
- Sodomsky, Sam (2018-01-17). ""Miki Dora" by Amen Dunes". Pitchfork.