Rincon, the Queen of the Coast, has awoken from her months long slumber in recent weeks. And when the place is working it has a certain draw, a gravitational pull you might say. A guy from San Diego might start chatting your ear off. A family from San Francisco might be splitting waves. Hell, a celebrity from Malibu might bring his son to surf some of the best waves California has to offer.
That last one actually happened recently. Walking through the parking lot at Rincon for a late Sunday morning session, I actually walked right past none other than ex-Beastie Boy Mike Diamond (aka Mike D) himself, waxing up before walking down with his son. Zach (founder of this here website) and I were casually strolling past. A few seconds later Zach turned to me, “Dude, that was Mike D!” he said.
The ex-Beastie, ex-New Yorker, has repatriated himself in the west. His Malibu home is also his studio for his Beats 1 radio show, The Echo Chamber. But, perhaps in one of the most unexpected twists of life for a patriarch of rap-rock music, and also totally Malibu, Mike D has become a serious surf junkie.
Ingratiated in the world of surf celebrity, he calls Steph Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Kassia Meador, and other pros friends, attending events they put on in LA. He even hosted Steph on an episode of The Echo Chamber to talk Madonna.
To the general public, and probably even fans of the Beastie Boys, this side of Mike D may be less understood. Indeed, Rolling Stone may be the first non-surf publication to really dive into Mike’s interest in surfing in a recent article.
11 years ago, the piece explains, Mike bought some property in Malibu. It’s now become a little beachside sanctuary, surfing being an integral way to handle life’s hurdles. A quotation from the final paragraph emphasizes the point:
“It’s about subjecting yourself totally to nature’s control,” he explains, trying to describe surfing’s near-spiritual appeal to him. “Someone like Kelly Slater” – a pro, and another buddy – “can read more astutely what nature is giving him, but even he can’t control it.” And so Diamond has shaped much of his life around surfing, not just getting down to the Malibu beach as often as he can manage but traveling the globe and chasing waves while dipping into other projects that tickle his fancy.
While a life in Malibu, traveling the world and working only on projects that excite sounds like a dream come true, and it probably is, that doesn’t mean it’s a life devoid of difficulties. Mike D has had tribulations in recent years. Notably, the separation from his wife, filmmaker Tamra Davis, and the death of 1/3 of the Beastie trio Adam Yauch in 2012, when Yauch succumbed to cancer. Still, Mike D explains that life in Malibu, and particularly surfing, is an outlet. The article goes so far as to call his attraction to surfing an obsession.
And he’s passing that obsession on to his kids. Out in the water a little later, I floated past Mike and his son (he has two: Davis, 14, and Skyler, 12). “Here you go. Here’s one,” Mike said, motioning at an incoming wave. “Daaad. I’m not gonna go for that. It’s like a thousand yards away,” his son replied in a too-cool-for-dad (even if your dad is Mike D) kind of way. Mike rolled his eyes, splashing in his son’s direction.