Saltwater Damage

Saltwater Damage - from Memories of the Wavemaster
by Bob Feige

One day, many moons ago, I was standing with Miki Dora by the bulkhead in front of my place on Topanga Beach checking the surf out at the point. Miki was complaining about bringing the wrong board for the conditions and thinking about driving all the way back to Brentwood to pick it up another. Those were the days when living at the beach was much less expensive than somewhere like Brentwood, so I asked him why he didn't move into a place that had just come up for rent down the beach.

Squinting at me like I might be carrying some sort of communicable disease, Miki cocked his body and gave me three reasons why he'd never want to live much closer to the beach than he already was.

The first reason was vintage Dora. He wanted to keep surfing and the other aspects of his life completely separate. "If everyone knows where I live then everyone will want to come to my house and touch my things and eat my food. Then they'll come back when I'm out surfing and steal from me."

The second reason was one I'd never considered, but learned to respect over the years. He never wanted to take the sea for granted and felt that people who lived at the beach became so used to being close to the sea that they forgot how special it was. "Every time I drive down Sunset or Channel and see the beach for the first time each day, I want to fall in love all over again ... and again."

As if fearing that someone might overhear us, Miki carefully scanned the area before revealing his final reason. "Saltwater," he whispered.

"Saltwater?" I asked.

"Oh yes," Miki said. "Living so close to saltwater is dangerous because it gets in the air. Then you breath it in and, after time, your brain rots like a driftwood log."

"Oh ..." said I.

"That's why so many surfers we know are so stupid," said Miki.

"Right," I answered. "So ... what about me?"

"Move," said Miki. "Move before it's too late."

Saltwater Damage Robert R. Feigel 2002 - All Rights Reserved


Click for link to a tribute to Miki Dora

In celebration
of an artist
and his Art

read the review: ALL FOR A FEW PERFECT WAVES
The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer: MIKI DORA