Every person has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky here, Spencer Broome here, Anthony Kennedy here, Nick Bramwell here, and the Merlo Family here.
If you love riding waves or know someone who does, message us via one of our social media channels or reach out via the contact page on our website. It doesn’t matter your skill level or if you are a wake surfer, ocean surfer, paddleboarder, or river surfer. We want to put the spotlight on you!
My name is Mike Dobbs and I live in Avondale Estates GA. I’m married to an amazing wife who understands a mandate for surf travel in our relationship.
We have two young girls and a yellow lab who drive all decisions nowadays.
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
I’ve given it all a go, and enjoy anything in the water. Wave pool, yes please! That said, surfing in the ocean is where my core passion remains!
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
I grew up in Roswell, Georgia, and did not really get into surfing until I was 18. While attending the College of Charleston I fell in love with the beach life, ocean, and slowly learned to surf the inconsistent waves on the east coast.
Of course, hurricane season became a magical window of opportunity on Folly Beach for real surf and big storms enabled local strike missions for driving up and down the east coast.
After graduating from CofC, I moved to Costa Rica with a good buddy. He had traveled there several times while in school, always returning with VHS video evidence of empty epic waves.
Getting a job could wait, Pura Vida first! My time in Costa Rica allowed me to become an adequate surfer. It was a great moment in life, for nearly six months, I was able to surf from sun up to sundown. “Perfecto”.
Costa Rica solidified my love for the ocean and waves, and most importantly a life commitment to travel and play in the water.
Where and how often do you surf?
After returning from Costa Rica in 1999, I started my career working for an amazing agency. A paycheck offered stability to fuel my habit of surf travel.
I would visit Costa Rica annually, and chase down hurricanes on the east coast using surfline.com. In those early years, I was probably in the water 20–30 days a year, so not a lot.
Nowadays, with kids, I might get in one or two surf trips per year, if I’m lucky.
The planning, the preparation, the adventure is where I get the most thrill. Catching a wave, well, it is a great cherry on top.
I’ve surfed many places including; Hawaii, Fiji, Costa Rica California, and several Caribbean islands.
My last big surf trip was in 2017, a 6 week sabbatical from work, surfing in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica with my entire family. Epic.
While I’m still a kook after all these years, I remain excited about the next big adventure.
What do you do to advance your surfing/what is your favorite thing about surfing?
Once I book a trip, it motivates me to get my fitness ready for surfing. That’s the cool thing about surfing, one great ride will keep you coming back, even a waist-high peeler.
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
A wave pool would be amazing! The Kelly Slater technology is such a game changer and I want it here in Atlanta. Of course, another tech might be more feasible.
I feel like we have the real estate in Georgia to install something that is accessible, affordable, eco-friendly, and economically doable.
I would love the WSL to come through Atlanta and partner with the city. As a travel hub, logistically it could provide exposure to the sport and easy access to a large audience for events. A win, win, win.
Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community catch your eye?
I’ve got several friends from Atlanta who love surfing.