Legendary Californian Surfer Mike Doyle Passes Away at 78

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Mike Doyle, surfer, passes away
RIP Mike Doyle. Credit: Instagram

Mike Doyle, a legend in the surf world, passed away Monday night in his sleep. The renowned waterman and board-builder from Leucadia, California, was 78-years old.

According to an Instagram post from his family:

“Mike slipped away peacefully in his sleep early this morning at his home on Gringo Hill, with his loving wife, Annie right by his side.”

Doyle was living in Mexico at the time of his passing.

Mike Doyle, surfer, passes away
Legendary surfer Mike Doyle.

Born in 1941 and surfing by the age of 13, Doyle started his wave-riding pursuits as a goofy foot and continued to do so for nearly 3 years until he began surfing Malibu regularly and retaught himself how to surf as a regular foot. Doyle became a commanding figure in the 1960s surf scene and was likely the best all-around surfer of the era. He was a decorated competitor, paddleboard racer and tandem surfer writes Surfer Mag.

He developed the first-ever surf-specific board wax, he created the prototype to today’s soft top and even toyed around with an early version of the snowboard.

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One thought on “Legendary Californian Surfer Mike Doyle Passes Away at 78

  1. I surfed with Mike once at the Del Mar train station one summer, it was a 4′-6′ South or a South West swell. He was paddling out as I was dropping in on about a 6′ foot wave and turned off the bottom in front of him. I had a really good backside bottom turn back then, I’m a regular foot. I was about 16, circa 1965-66′.
    I kicked out and we paddled back out next to each other, he looked over at me and said, “Nice bottom kid”. My next wave he took off in front of me(going left) and he did a “go behind”. We shared that wave. He was gracious to a nobody kid. I saw him one other time, it was at Ray Bay in Seal Beach during a huge South swell in September. Mike had his “totem poll” board. I had heard that Mickey Munoz had shot the “Crabs” jetty early that day.
    I also rode one of his mono-skis when I was living in Mammoth Mountain in the early 70’s. He was one of my early surf heroes, I didn’t have that many. I was also an art major in school, I liked his paintings, he was very good!

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