All for a Few Perfect Waves is packed with interviews steeped in surf credibility. Greg Noll, Derek Hynd, Tom Morey, Mickey Munoz, John Milius, and Sam George are just few of the folks who share intriguing personal memories of “Da Cat”.
Miki’s early life germinated in the tumult of divorce, neglect, and (what he saw as) societal oppression, but his legend took root in the perfect point surf at Malibu, California in the 1950’s when surfing was reserved for rugged athletic maniacs with a taste for adventure. In this new arena, Miki Dora was king. He had it all: charisma, aggression, and (most of all) a freakish natural ability to ride waves. Surfing was his religion, and he defined himself through its prism.
But the sunny days at Malibu cavorting with Hollywood stars and pulling pranks on fellow surfers serve as merely a snapshot in this bigger-than-life adventure full of exotic locales, perfect waves, burnt bridges, international crime, paranoia, treasure, prison, and a sordid love triangle that spanned several continents.
Rensin’s writing is deft and engrossing and truly captures the essence of a life that was often misunderstood but always interesting. At the end of All for a Few Perfect Waves, you might dislike Miki Dora. You might admire him. You might even pity him. But if you surf, you have to respect his intense dedication to the surfing way of life. Riding waves came first. While the world views material wealth and societal law as reality and surfing as some wasteful ephemeral phantom, Miki Dora saw it the opposite way. And it cost him dearly in terms of failed personal relationships, a struggle with personal demons, and decades on the run from the law “all for a few perfect waves.” If personal freedom was the point of Miki’s life, then the oft coined clause rings true: With freedom comes a price.