Family and friends remember Mike White at Sunset Cliffs ceremony
Published - 08/15/19 - 08:05 AM | 11978 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Melinda White (left) embraces an emotional Eva King during the memorial at Sunset Cliffs for Mike White, a well-known angler and surfboard shaper who grew up on Ladera Street. Melinda, Mike’s sister, helped organize the memorial and paddle out where dozens of friends and family, including King, who was a life-long friend and former girlfriend, came out to celebrate Mike’s life on Sunday, Aug. 11. ‘Sunset Cliffs was his world and his playground,’ said Melinda. ‘He loved it here.’ 	         THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
Melinda White (left) embraces an emotional Eva King during the memorial at Sunset Cliffs for Mike White, a well-known angler and surfboard shaper who grew up on Ladera Street. Melinda, Mike’s sister, helped organize the memorial and paddle out where dozens of friends and family, including King, who was a life-long friend and former girlfriend, came out to celebrate Mike’s life on Sunday, Aug. 11. ‘Sunset Cliffs was his world and his playground,’ said Melinda. ‘He loved it here.’ THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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Melinda White speaks during the memorial for Mike White.  / THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
Melinda White speaks during the memorial for Mike White. / THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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Friends and family participate in the paddle out at Sunset Cliffs. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Friends and family participate in the paddle out at Sunset Cliffs. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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Friends and family held a memorial and paddle out at Sunset Cliffs on Sunday, Aug. 11 for Point Loma native Mike White, a well-known angler, free diver, and surfboard shaper.

Long time friend and former girlfriend Amy "Oklahoma" Steiner, who helped organize the memorial, shared her eulogy for her close friend Mike:

“Mike was a great guy, not a dude or a bro, as he would correct you. We all knew he was a true waterman, a surfer, windsurfer, skateboarder, free diver, fisherman and whatever else he could do in his backyard, literally.

“His family bought a piece of land on Ladera Street in 1964 two years prior to Mike being born. It would be the third home at Sunset Cliffs and an incredible dream for Charles and Sheris White’s unborn son to discover.

“Mike was forever a cliff dweller, it ‘shaped’ his life (pun intended). Mike was so wise about the ocean and fearless. He originally was a fisherman sitting on a longboard way out in the kelp beds. His mother was strong and knew he was a smart boy. At a young age he would bring home dinner.

“Then his sights were set on building himself a board, and the story explodes there. Mike was always curious, his brain didn't rest. He learned how to glass and became the go-to-guy laminating boards for Skip Frye and others. (In fact, the people who paddled out for his memorial almost all had boards he laminated with the ‘Great White’ shark logo.)

“Mike was a humble guy. He was kind and extremely sensitive, his friendliness was his kindness. A true optimist, he threw himself into life. But Mike's life turned around when Clark Foam closed it's doors in 2005. The entire surfboard shaping industry dropped their collective heads. This industry was what Mike knew, and he became lost without it.

“He became deeply depressed and eventually lost almost everything. He turned to alcohol. It broke everyone's heart. He eventually worked in construction, did landscaping and handy work around Point Loma, but stopped going in the water.

“I dated Mike for nearly eight years, he was one of my greatest loves. There were good years when he got sober, but eventually, his heart broke and he crumbled. He had so many who admired him and when he grew ill, he suffered nearly alone.

He and I spoke often and I saw him almost weekly with his friend Mike O'Brien. Mike did everything with passion and that’s why he had such admiration from his many friends. His positive spirit affected everyone he knew.

“He was an amazing man and I was lucky enough to have had his friendship for 28 years. When we first met at the Cliffs in 1991, I told him I was from Oklahoma. After that, when I strolled the Cliffs I would hear his voice beckon ‘Oklahoma’ and he would greet me with his wide smile and reach out for a hug. I will forever be grateful and never forget him.”

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