Interrogation—David Rensin

Who: David Rensin

What: Author and co-author of sixteen books, seven of them New York Times bestsellers. They include: ALL FOR A FEW PERFECT WAVES, the oral/narrative biography of legendary rebel surfer Miki Dora; THE MAILROOM, an oral history of what it’s like to start at the bottom in show business reaching for the top, and DEVIL AT MY HEELS and DON’T GIVE UP, DON’T GIVE IN—both with Louis Zamperini.

Where: Ventura, CA

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Your oral history of Miki Dora’s life, ALL FOR A FEW PERFECT WAVES, is the definitive portrait of the legendary surfer. How would you explain Miki Dora to somebody who has never heard of him before? How did your opinion of him change researching and writing the book?

Miki Dora personified the rebel heart of surfing. He was king of Malibu when that break was queen in the 50s and 60s. When the book and movie, Gidget, popularized surfing,  Malibu was overrun with newbies leaving Dora and his contemporaries pissed off at the crowds. He never got over it, and so spent his life searching for empty waves worldwide.

He was also an artistic kid from a troubled home who valued personal freedom above all else—even if he had to rip-off your surfboard or wallet to finance his desire to never have a job so that he could always surf.

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