Mickey (Miki)Chapin Dora was born in Budapest, Hungary. He learned to surf from his stepfather, Gard Chapin. He became a famous surfer and essential player in the Malibu surf scene and set the performance standard at Malibu. His aggressive and bizarre antics helped create his SoCal legend, and his insane surfing cemented it in surf lore.
Da Cat (as Miki became known for his smooth, natural surf style)eventually fled the Malibu scene. With the rise of Gidget, California (Malibu in particular) was inundated with new surfers and crowds of all types, and Miki wanted nothing to do with it. He launched a world-wide surf exploration mission that took him from New Zealand to Africa to France and all spots in between.
Miki Dora died from pancreatic cancer January 3, 2002 in Montecito, California. He was 67.
Da Cat's Legacy:
Miki Dora broke early high performance surfing wide open; memories of Miki weaving between hordes of surfers, pushing down shoulder hoppers, and ranting feverishly like some manic Kerouac are etched on celluloid, but his persona will forever haunt surf culture. Anti-establishment and self-promoter (as well as promoter of Greg Noll's "Da Cat" models), self-righteous and thieving manipulator...Miki Dora was the adventure and excitement of surfing personified in a messy, imperfect rock star.