Mike Eaton, legendary waterman, shaper and dear friend to all that know him has had a stroke.
When I was working for Bob Wise (Wise Surfboards, San Francisco) we were building our own Wise brand surfboards.
Mike drove up the coast in his custom hot-rod, an open top roadster and rumbled up to the shop.
Summertime in San Francisco tends to be foggy and cool – so when he arrived, we had plenty of time to talk as we checked out his ride and he warmed up.
Wise started carrying the Bing surfboards Mike was shaping.
I remember my first Eaton board – a 7’4” diamond tail single fin – orange tint bottom and lay-up, red pinstripe, clear deck, yellow Bing sticker.
I paddled out at Sloat. It was time and a half overhead and glassy.
I remember being impressed with the way the board paddled and got into waves.
On my second wave, I came off the top and the wave sucked out steep as I was dropping back in.
I knew it was critical and anticipated that pearling was a real possibility.
I watched the tip of the nose push into the water and a splash fly off both rails near the tip of the nose as the template came in contact with the water.
The board had that hesitation in speed as the nose dug in and I was expecting that it would act like other boards I had ridden, stick hard and pitch me off.
But it didn’t stick and pearl like I thought it would – Mike’s shape paused and released, allowing me to recover.
That board and one wave converted me to trusting Mike to shape my boards for many years.
We found that the shapes Mike had developed for Sunset Beach, Hawaii worked really well for big, outside San Francisco.
There were many Eaton guns in the lineup – and most of the boards in the photo in front of the wall at VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars / currently Beach Chalet)
were shaped by Mike Eaton (for length reference, mine is an 8’0”).
Mike was an expert source of science based engineering and hydrodynamic design information for Essential Surfing when I was writing the book.
One bit of advice Mike shared with me during the editing process of Essential Surfing was,
“Don’t mention anything negative about a design characteristic – stay positive about the benefits of a design feature and you will make your point without criticism.”
That insight taught me about Mike’s character and the way he approaches life and it is a lesson that I remember constantly, always appreciate and forever keeps me grateful to have
my life journey graced by Mike’s friendship and guidance.
Love and Light to you Mike – may the healthful, healing thoughts you have shared with the world reflect back at you and nurture your recovery.
Aloha my friend,