Surf ATL Community Spotlight: Mike Pappas
Every surfer 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, Spencer Broome, Anthony Kennedy, Nick Bramwell, the Merlo Family, Mike Dobbs, Kristian Erik Bjerke, Jamie Eichler, Doug Paul, Brandon Spivia, Robert Hanson, Liam Spoon, Eric Ilustrisimo, Susan Bond, Jason Smith, Garrett Gilfillan, Silvia Saey, Scott Mennicke, Tammie Dalrymple, Wes Espinosa, Peter Gudbrandsen, Kelby Graham, Kayvon Nazarian, Abigail Pierce, Clark Campbell, Katy Harrison, Sam Burrafato, Maggie Maziarz, Erik Barron, Erin Keith, Jenny Serwitz, Adam Hunter, Joyce and Mack, Jackson Kearns, Jessica Luna, and Tyler Urrutia.
Hi, my name is Mike Pappas, I’m 54, married, have two daughters (22 and 17) and we have custody of our nephew (11). We live in Woodstock, Ga so we are close to Lake Allatoona.
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
I primarily ocean surf and I recently purchased a cheap paddleboard to take out at the lake.
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
In my senior year of high school, my family moved to Virginia Beach which is where I started surfing. Being close to the Outer Banks, we would drive down there several times a week in the summer to beat the crowds and catch some better waves.
In my 20s my friends and I took a few surf trips to Barbados, Costa Rica, and Hawaii, all were great experiences. More recently, my work usually sends me to San Diego for a week every summer to attend a conference. When I’m there, I like to head to the Ocean Beach pier to catch a few waves. A highlight of surfing in San Diego has to be a dawn session at Sunset Cliffs, the view from the water is amazing!
Where and how often do you surf?
Nowadays I don’t get to surf as much as I would like. I do make occasional day trips down to Tybee, St Augustine, or the Gulf Coast, especially during hurricane season. For longer trips I still go up to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks to catch up with old surfing buddies and, as stated earlier, I try to get to San Diego once a year.
A quick shout out to my wife because I don’t think she has ever complained about me getting up early, driving 5–6 hours to the beach to surf for a few hours and then driving home (she’s also never volunteered to come with me)!
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
I love being in the water. Paddling out in fun-sized waves has always been a great way to remove stress from my life.
What do you do to advance your surfing?
Since I’m getting older and I don’t get to the ocean as often as I would like, I’ve started going to the gym to keep in shape and last year I started taking my longboard to Lake Allatoona to paddle around because I’ve found it has been harder to catch waves recently.
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
A wave pool in the area would be awesome! A posting board to find anyone interested in quick day trips to the beach for a few hours of surfing would be nice.