The Beach Boys by Mike Norman
Posted on 10 February 2019
To every teenage young man that grew up in the 60s and 70s, Mike Doyle was a name synonymous with surfing and a waterman first, and closely followed by the epitome of masculinity. During this time, we all wanted to, “Be like Mike!” He was a surfing legend and decedent of Neptune. Mike Doyle was the guy that, “…had it all!” This was the Mike Doyle that I knew as a teenager.
In the past ten or so years, I have had the privilege of meeting Mike Doyle through my longtime friend, Annie—now Mike’s wife. Annie is an incredible surfer and athlete in her own right. She is at home in the ocean, whether surfing, riding a standup, or kite surfing. Annie was and is the perfect match for Mike Doyle, both in and out of the water. I met Mike while he was surfing with Annie. This happened many times at Tourmaline Surfing Park, if the waves were small, or over at P.B. Point and Hermos, if the waves were larger. When I first saw Mike with Annie, I didn’t have any idea who he was. But what he was, happened to be an older surfer that graced and surfed the waves effortlessly—a wonderful complement to Annie’s style as well. I remember paddling over to them at Tourmaline and was immediately struck by the color of Mike Doyle’s eyes. If you haven’t met him, his eyes are literally a blue that resembles turquoise. They really stand out in a face that touched the sun many, many times. When I met Mike, he gave me a very warm and friendly smile. I remember that I even got a compliment from him, when I surfed a wave well. I wish I could have framed those, Mike Doyle words from that day…
Among the many favorite times that I had the opportunity to share with Mike and Annie occurred on Mike’s Birthday. Mike is an accomplished ukulele player, unbeknownst to many. He can play many different genres and is very skilled. With this in mind, I thought about purchasing a book of ukulele songs for him. What kind of book of ukulele songs do you give to a Mike Doyle? What would you give him? I decided to give him a book of favorite surfing songs by, "The Beach Boys!" I was stoked, as this had to be the answer. On the early evening of his birthday, a few of us met at a local beer house that was having a ukulele play along. All of us that could play, strummed our ukes as a group. We played long and well, even more so as the draft beer helped with our strummin’ and our singing. When there was a break in the music, with great anticipation, I handed Mike my birthday present for him. He opened it slowly, while I watched with great anticipation, knowing that this was going to be the Golden Fleece of birthday presents. Mike opened the package and held the book in his hands, staring at it in utter disbelief. For me, I knew that I had scored perfection—a perfect score of 10. Mike, somewhat apologetically, handed the book back to me saying, “I can’t take this!” I was stunned, perplexed, and was at a loss for words. Annie, the ever- observant and sensitive wife read my face. Obviously, she felt the need to elaborate, and did. She said, paraphrasing and depending on my own recollection, “What Mike is trying to say is that he has developed a dislike for the, "Beach Boys." You see, they are not surfers. Instead, they have capitalized and taken from our culture to fund their own greed. Mike does not play Beach Boy songs on the radio and will not on his ukulele, too!’
Later that night with a smile on my face, I thought about the words that Annie had said and decided that she was right. I’m sure that if Mike reads this today, it will put a smile on his face, as well. Mike was true to the culture and the sport that night! It changed my opinion, that night too. So Mike Doyle, if I am ever lucky enough to attend another of your birthday parties, you can count on me to not bring anything from the, "Beach Boys," haha!
--007 (aka Mike Norman)