Legendary Photographer Who Captured 1980s Surfing Dies Aged 77

Mike Moir
Mike Moir. | Photo by Randy Johnson.

A photographer who spent the last 60 years shooting surf photos and became a legendary name in the sport has passed away aged 77.

Mike Moir started shooting surf photos during the longboard era of the late 1950s and early 1960s in the Southern California area.

Moir became a staff photographer for Surfer Magazine and documented the sport as it evolved into what is known as “Echo Beach.” Echo Beach was a physical location in Newport but it also stood for a cultural expression as surfers from that locale began wearing loud, neon-colored wetsuits in the 1980s.

Moir would go on to release an epoch-defining book entitled The Eighties at Echo Beach with a surfer traversing some rocks while holding a polka dot surfboard on the front cover.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to say without Mike Moir, none of that may have even happened,” writes Beach Grit, a surfing publication.


Moir made his name in a time when getting a decent surf photo was not easy; digital cameras are a marked improvement from when shooters were in the water manually focusing on analog cameras confined to 24 or 36 exposure rolls.

But Moir made a name for himself as a class operator with surf legend Kelly Slater paying tribute to Moir’s ability behind the lens.

“As young kids growing up, reading every magazine, Mike became a legendary name in our minds with the likes of Art Brewer, Flame, Peter Brouillet, Tome Servais, Aaron Chang, Dan Merkel, Don King, Third Eye Thoughts, Tom Dugan, Meza Pixels, and many other photographic legends that spring to mind from our early years in the magazines,” Slater wrote on his Instagram Story yesterday.

“Condolences to Mike’s friends and family and a shout-out to all the photogs that spring to mind capturing this amazing lifestyle all these years.”

Moir was still actively shooting just a few weeks ago with apparently not many people knowing he was ill.

His last post on Instagram was just two days ago; a platform he had built a nethusiastic following on.

“Thank you for spending time with me on the pier, teaching me how to use my camera,” writes one grieving friend.

“You made those rainy days so worth it. You meant so much to me and my family… My walks on the pier will be for you!”