I was born in Iowa in 1947 and very nearly exited this realm very shortly afterwards. My early childhood was spent in bed surrounded by books and National Graphic Magazines, listening to my hero, Will 'I never met a man I didn't like' Rogers, Native American humorist, philosopher and social commentator on the radio. My Gramma was a full blood Sioux, so his simple homilies resonated the real America's feelings.
My upwardly mobile father was constantly being transferred all over the United States and by age fourteen I'd fought my way onto and off of nine different schoolyards. After years of ill health doctors told my mother, "Get him to a warmer climate or forget about his next birthday cake." Santa Barbara, California was her choice and Ledbetter Beach on the Mesa was my new home and where I'd begin my love affair with surfing which strengthened my immune system and allowed me to grow healthy. Mentored by Norman and Richard Grant, John Eichert, Paul Douglas, Reynolds Yater, Dale Velzy and George Greenough I became a skilled surfer/test pilot and eventually a leading board designer, finally establishing Mike Davis Designs as one of the world's largest.
I attended Santa Barbara Junior and High Schools, UCSB and Santa Barbara City College and In 1967 I was the youngest candidate in a writer's fellowship program whose brief was to produce the author of next great American novel. I would spend the next three years in this program which had me traveling all over the western United States attending readings, lectures or tutorials by the greatest writers of the time like Ken Kesey and Tom Woolfe. Surfing however, would be the means of dodging that bullet when I immigrated to Australia in 1970 in search of the best right hand point surfs in the known world and finding myself an 'in demand' shaping commodity and had a life instead. I bolstered my income writing articles and fiction stories for Tracks, Sea Notes, Surf, Surfing World, Backdoor, Sailwind Quarterly, Pacific Longboarder, Surfer's Path and The Surfer's Journa, co-authored The Glide before my first full length novel, The Noosa Heads Affair.
I married Christine in 1972 had two gorgeous daughters Chelsea and Alycia and began Mike Davis Designs, which would very quickly grow into, arguably, the largest surf and custom sailboard manufacturer in the world, building boards for Nat Young and many other of the world's best surfers and sailboarders. I walked away from it in 1990 when Christine's health failed. I would lose her to cancer in 1994.
I met Jo on the beach one morning at Noosa in 1995 and we were married a few months later. My health would again become an issue shortly afterwards as the stress due to being a carer for fourteen months allowed a super bug I'd contracted in Bali in the early seventies to mutate and curtail my shaping career. Luckily for me, gorgeous Jo just patted me on the arm and said, "Maybe now it's time for you to sit down and write your books. There's been one a year since 1999.
My many years as a surfer/shaper has thrown me in the path of many colorful and often crazy-assed individuals, each adding a flavor or dimension of their own to the fabric of my life blanket. And life has a way of providing a constantly changing stage of interesting evolutions in our perceptions of the human condition and our quest for the ultimate and absolute truths that define our responsibilities as humanity. These offerings are but handsful of combustable dust tossed on the fire by a wandering shaman - See what you will in the smoke and vapors of these images before they're dispersed by the winds of time and decide for yourself.
In 2016 I was inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall Of Fame in Huntingto Beach, California.
A real surfer writing about surfers.