How I met Mike Doyle
Posted on 30 January 2019
I was a 16 yr old student in 1966, at San Clemente High School with a keen Interest in Ballet, Adagio, and Surfing. I spent many afternoons with my local surf friends at the pier doing lifts on the beach, testing out new things, and trying our best to pull them off in the water. During a San Onofre club contest I was told by my friend Gary, Bob Moore's son, that there were guys looking for a tandem partner, and that I should go down there, "since you know all of the lifts so well."
I passed by Mike Doyle who was practicing on the beach with a new girl who wasn’t getting a lift right. I called out to her that she needed alter her position to make it right. Mike said to me, "why don’t you come here and show her". He picked me up and threw me in the air a few times, finding I was much lighter and we went right into the lift. Mike said to her, "why don’t you go out with the other guy you were practicing with. I’m taking Janine out in this heat". I felt bad for the girl but shamelessly took the opportunity. Before the heat, Barrie Algaw took me aside and showed me how to stuff sand into my wet suit so that I would make weight, as I was only 93 lbs.!
There we were in a matter of minutes, out with the best watermen in the world; Hobie Alter, Bob Moore, Hal Sachs, Pete Peterson who I had watched in competitions for the last 2 years. I will never forget how solid Mike was, with shoulders like a platform to stand on. I felt instantly safe with one of the best watermen around. The waves were bigger than I had ever been out in, but feeling like I was in the best of hands. I followed his Instruction of "don’t look back or to the side. Get up when I say get up, and do what I tell you, when I tell you". I can never forget the feeling of flying as he lifted me Into a "one arm back" as I was suspended over his head, in an upside down arabesque position, fully relaxed, watching the wave curl over the back of the tandem board from seven feet above. It was like being in a trance. We placed third in the finals!
From then on we surfed several contests, always placing, even though we never practiced. I agreed with him that the prettiest lifts, and the most fun, were the easiest, and neither of us wanted to do the less aesthetic lifts just to win points. I also remember the US Championship at Huntington as we were paddling for a wave he kidded me, saying, "don’t be nervous, don’t think about those 50,000 viewers on tv" which made me laugh and relax.
He shared with me that competition was getting boring for him after so many years. Also that being famous seemed to prevent him from meeting people that would normally like to get to know, since most of people would be pushing themselves forward to meet him, and not necessarily have anything In common or interesting to him. For a young high school girl I was happy to know this "older guy of 26" who has so much insight and knowledge. He was the first person whose influence opened my mind, to turn me onto "health food", and encouraged me to develop my Interests in designing, dance, art, sewing, as he did. He was the first guy I ever knew who owned a sewing machine and designed his own pants. “Thinking outside the box” was not a popular term in those days, but that is what he does.
Later in my life I went through some personal development classes, and one question that was presented to me was “Name the top 5 people in your life who impacted your life”. I must say that Mike is a person at the top of that list. Thank you Mike for being the Dynamic, Creative Innovator that you are.
- Janine McCusker