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One of the most unique and prestigious longboards a collector could own. Known as the Miki Dora “Da Cat” model, made from 1966 – 68. This incredibly rare 9’4 “Da Cat” was sold by Greg Noll to a friend of his who was also a close friend to Miki Dora. It is rumored that this was one of Miki’s personal boards and in that regard, it is uniquely lightweight, with it’s signature deck carve-out and glassed-on “Black Cat” cutaway fin. Breathtaking in it’s beauty and history and personally signed by Greg Noll. This board has had only minor restoration work done, for the most part it’s all original. A truly stunning piece of surfing history that will be admired for many generations to come!
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History of Miki Dora & Greg Noll
Miki Dora (real name Miklos Sandor Dora III) became a surfing icon of the 1950s and 60s and picked up nicknames such as “The King of Malibu”, “Da Cat” as well as the “angry young man of surfing”. His character, style, and criminal background make him one of the most interesting people in the history of the sport. He was born on the 11th of August 1936 in Budapest, Hungary as a son of a wine merchant. His parents soon divorced, and it was his stepfather- Gard Chapin, who introduced him to surfing in the late 1930s. Chapin was also a surf legend, and his obsessions with surfboard design brought Dora into contact with California industrial designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.
Stories of Dora’s youth in Malibu consist of a huge number of scams and rebellion- they became kind of urban legends. One of them was a plan to fire-bomb the shack at San Onofre. Above all that his friends described him as smart, witty and iconoclastic- he certainly wasn’t lacking any charisma. Although he competed in a few contests in the 1960s, he denounced them as being contradictory to the spirit of surfing. “Everybody considered Miki to be the best surfer in the world,” said Allan Carter, a friend who began surfing with Miki Dora in the 1950s. “Miki was like the Muhammad Ali of surfing. He had dragonfly reflexes and this extraordinarily graceful style. It was beautiful to watch him surf.” Dora’s signature surfboard, released in 1966, became the best selling surfboard in history- and again on its re-release 25 years later. After Gidget created a cinematic genre, Dora became a stunt double for several of the early ‘60s Hollywood beach flicks beginning with 1964’s Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach (1964), How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and Ski Party (1965). He was featured as himself in Bill Delaney’s Surfers: The Movie (1990). Despite his anticipated mistrust towards the commercialization of surfing, Dora did enter into a profit-sharing arrangement with Greg Noll to release a limited number of Miki Dora “Da Cat” surfboards, during which time he created magazine advertisements promoting the boards.
Miki Dora decided to leave the U.S. in 1970 and lived around the world spending most of his time in France and South Africa. After he returned to the US from France in 1981, he was arrested by the FBI for violating his parole by leaving the country in 1975 after pleading guilty to writing a bad check for the purchase of ski equipment. While serving time for that, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison after a Denver grand jury indicted him for credit card fraud in 1982. After that, Miki Dora, still with no permanent residence, remained a surf tribe icon over the years. He was invited at legends events- which he sometimes took part in, and lived much of the year in France. He was often seen at Quiksilver functions, giving him a sense of association in the international surfing establishment. Like many of the aging stars, Dora benefited from the nostalgia of the so-called longboard renaissance, and a new edition of his famous Greg Noll Da Cat surfboard has been a great success.
Miki Dora died at his father’s home in Montecito, California, on January 3, 2002, at age 67 from pancreatic cancer. In 2005, CR Stecyk and Drew Kampion released an authorized biography called “Dora Lives”. Three years later, Dave Rensin published “All for a Few Perfect Waves”. Miki Dora’s legacy lives on- or, as the graffiti at Malibu has shown off for ages, “Dora rules.”