The recently released work by David Rensin is perhaps the closest the general public, or anyone for that matter will ever get to the “real” Miki Dora. The surf world at large has maintained a decades-long fascination, and has been waiting to read, to feel, to know just what, and just who this man was. Larger than life in both a public sense and narcissistic/sociopathic self-importance sense, he singlehandedly defined so many things that still resonate within real surfers and their general approach to life and the World today.
“All for a Few Perfect Waves” doesn’t strive to actually get us inside Miki’s head to gain clarity on his true self. Rensin knew better than to try for that, since it isn’t possible. Miki’s essence has always been, and will forever remain well protected. His ever-present approach to living the way he felt comfortable, which was to say with a high degree of privacy and privilege, kept him moving forward searching for his blissful surfing home, something he lost in Malibu many moons ago.
Never having written an oft talked about autobiography, Dora and the company he kept were put in the hands of Rensin, with the approval of Dora’s father. Rensin had written an article on Dora in the eighties for California Magazine, and although the piece was directly criticized by Dora himself, Rensin became the natural choice to compile the final closure on the man that in no small part defined surf culture, but will never be known. Dora’s father, Miklos Sr. gave Rensin approval since he felt that the California Magazine piece chronicled Miki fairly, so Rensin was again entrusted to be fair, thorough and as objective as possible.
This work does a terrific job of sorting out the players and themes in Dora’s life, but alas, readers get no closer to Miki than they were before. Isn’t that just the way he would want it? After all “The story on Miki Dora is getting the story on Miki Dora.” All for a Few Perfect Waves is very evocative and well written; nearly compulsory reading for real surfers.