I have just finished reading your book about
Miki Dora and wish to thank you for providing
us with a very readable and well researched
work of journalism. I initially purchased the
book because I knew Mickey, but found that
it read like a novel and you left it to the
reader to make their own judgements about
him. I have recommended it to many of my
friends, most of whom had never heard of
-Doug, former Jr High roommate of Miki's
Just finished "All For A Few Perfect Waves".
Made me happy, made me sad, made me
angry, made me dream, made me think,
made me remember, made me wonder,
made me laugh, and yes, it made me cry;
it's everything a book should be, and more.
Thank you for the great work. "All For A Few
Perfect Waves" is terrific.
Congratulations. You did the job no one else
could. You wrote a very interesting book
about a very complicated person and the
surfing culture overall.
I've just completed a most extraordinary tour.
Your masterpiece. I'm considered a decent
wordsmith, but I'm just sitting here
First off, let me say this was the most
gripping essay into classical journalism in my
Your precision focus on the real character of
Mickey is totally astounding, or was until I
realized the depth of your research.
I was one of many who kinda sorta knew
Mickey. Had I been a hot surfer instead of
just another wave cruiser, I'd be some where
in your book.
I "knew" Mickey ( that's how he spelled it
then) during that period in the early '50's
when he was so conflicted. We never knew
when he'd be Mickey Chapin or Mickey Dora.
I spent a reasonable time at his house,
finding Miklos rather the remote aristocrat,
viewing me without seeing me. Seemed a
rather cold guy.
Now , I found an error in your writing !!! That
Hollywood & Vine sign? By the way, it was
from THAT exact intersection. Baked enamel
numbers matching. Unlike the phonies which
came from from miles out.
How would I know this so well? At the time,
I lived on 21 st St. a block south of San
Vicente Blvd. I stole it from a house on the
North side Fairly near Donald Douglas'
I then swapped to Mickey for a coveted
portable radio and a Parker 51 pen. A bit eery
seeing he'd kept it until the auction.
David, just finished your Miki book in a
little over a week--- just got to say (you
captured the guy if that can be done)—very
good insight and analysis, I miss him yet
haven’t seen him for over 25 years- good to
know he kept going to the end—inspiration
for all of us—and most of all---- “you didn’t
sell him out”
I bought a copy at Warwicks in La Jolla and
really wanted to tell you you did a great job.
Oh see you in La Jolla at Warwicks when you
here for the booksigning. You will be here
won't you or is Miki showing up?
Mr. Rensin, I bought a copy of your Miki Dora
biography on Saturday and ended staying up
all Saturday night and into Sunday reading
it. Beautiful. I cannot imagine a better
or more thorough biography of this difficult
individual. Thank goodness his authoritative
biography wasn't penned by a surf groupie
or idol worshipper. Dora deserves an
accomplished writer to write his story -- the
whole story. As you point out, ironically, he
wouldn't have allowed it to happen in his
The mark of a great biography is its ability to
delve into human qualities that are more
universal than the individual subject of the
book. In addition to his various other
qualities and foibles, Dora represents an
experiment in living abroad and unattached,
exploring new frontiers of surfing, avoiding
as much as possible the compromise with
one's need to work, have a job, or accept
responsibilities that tie one down. Reading
his story, the good and the bad, is a learning
experience well beyond the mere curiosity
about this unusual and exceptional
After finishing the book, I immediately
ordered three more copies from
Amazon: One for the person who taught me
to surf long ago who now lives in Florida;
one for my oldest surfing companion who I
have been surfing and traveling with since
Junior High; and one for another dear friend
who has traveled the globe with me in
search of warm water and empty waves.
No book has ever moved me to do that
before. Thank you for your exceptional book.
What a great book. It's long, but detailed.
I've read it 3 times.
"All for a Few Perfect Waves" is a compelling
masterpiece by several accounts. The design
and construction of it is pure genius. I am
particularly struck by the overriding
'humanity' of the voices who tell the story.
By befriending the 'shadow' as they did, they
shone their own glorious 'light' without even
necessarily knowing it. "Dora lives" by the
genuine grace that was and has been
bestowed upon him. Did he deserve it? You
bet he did. If you don't understand the
paradoxical nature of things, you'll never
'get it'. I am reminded of a poem by Rumi
that seems to fit...
Has Anyone Seen the Boy?
"Has Anyone seen the Boy who used to come
here? Round-faced troublemaker, quick to
find a joke, slow to be serious, red shirt,
perfect coordination, sly, strong muscled,
with things always in his pocket: reed flute,
worn pick, polished and ready for his Talent
you know that one.
Have you heard stories about him?
Pharoah and the whole Egyptian world
collapsed for such a Joseph.
I'd gladly spend years getting word of him,
even third or fourth hand."
(Rumi, version by Coleman Barks and John
..in praise of spirit that transcends the
I just finished the Dora book and just want
to tell you how impressed I was. A very
thourough and compelling read from cover to
cover. I actually sat down at 11 am
yesterday and read the second 1/2 of the
book in one sitting. I am just about to turn
40, so I don't remember Miki's Malibu days. I
have had a subscription to Surfer since I was
13 years old and have always remembered
Miki's 1989 article out of the hundreds of
issues I have read.
Thanks for the great read!
Thank you for writing this book. I remember
reading your California Magazine article when
I was a senior in High School. Although Tom
Curran was more "my generation", my friends
and I always had an interest in Da Cat. In
fact, I have one of the 400 "Da Bull/Da Cat
boards. I thought your writing of this story
was extremely fair and portrayed Dora as he
was. I finished the book a couple weeks
ago, and still think about it every day.
Really, David, you did an excellent job and I
am so thankful you wrote this story. I will
read your other works and look forward to
your future accomplishments.
May 21, 2008
I've just completed reading the book and
have to tell you that the graphic description
of Miki's last days was very moving (and
scary). Back in the late seventies I was
surfing in the Biarritz area and met artist
Richard Peterson. He hung out with us for a
few days and borrowed one of our boards.
He'd told us about how he grew up surfing
Malibu and was a pal of Miki Dora. We
thought it was just a bit of bullshit to
impress us young English kooks. We were at
Guethary one day and Peterson paddled in
and said that Miki was out there and he had
taken the liberty of inviting him to our camp
that night for dinner. Miki turned up in his
Mercedes van. He came over and politely
said "My name's Miki". He spent the evening
with us, and was absolutely charming
throughout. I'd grown up admiring the man's
surfing and was intrigued by his rebel image
and all of the stories in the Surf Press. To
meet him and find him so self-effacing
endeared him to me even more. Thanks for
helping to complete the story in my mind of
a fragile and oft-misunderstood gentleman.
May 8, 2008
Having just finished reading the book I can
honestly say that I understand my brother a
bit better as he too has spent his adult life
chasing surf all over the world, I understand
the feeling of being alone on the wave and
loving the freedom of being one with it
without the influences of the outside world
that nip at our heels the second we stand on
firm ground. But more than that with Miki I
see a tortured soul that wanted total
freedom (which does not exist in any society)
and instead of living at peace with the
world, where ever he was he chose to do as
he pleased and did not consider or truly care
about how he hurt others if it benefited his
needs at any given moment. Be that in the
water or stealing and conning on dry land.
Always on the run just a step ahead of the
law, that is not in anyway a peaceful or free
existance ...that he claimed to want. As so
many with childhoods that are filled
hardships and hurt ( be they real or only self
perceived) he refused to allow anyone close
enough to give him what he really needed
and wanted. After prison he was never
CAUGHT again breaking the law but still he
was a man playing games until the end. Yes
a great surfer, maybe the best of his day but
sadly never free from the demons in his own
mind Not truly trusting or loving anyone
other than his dog. -- Patti
May 5, 2008
I must confess. Few books keep my limited
attention. I have read yours cover to cover.
The sadness of finishing like a swell that has
come and gone. Thank you for telling his
April 19, 2008
Enjoyed the book about Miki,brought back
many memories about 50's Malibu. I
congratulate you on this wonderful book. You
have uncovered much of the mystery about
Miki,but I'm sure you would agree there is
much more that will always remain with Miki,
and probably should.The legend is always
much more fun. -- Bill
December 27, 2007
I've been awaiting the release on the Dora
book for a couple years now. Can't wait to
get a copy. I would be a great fit to play him
in the film if it ever gets to production. How
do you recommend I go about this? -- Mike