Paddle-out fundraiser for surf announcer Mike Morgan
A fundraiser paddle-out will happen in Seal Beach at 10 a.m. on Saturday to pay tribute to a surfer known for his boisterous voice and giving persona.
The annual "Morgan's Wave of the Day Expression Session Fundraiser" honors Mike Morgan, a well-known surfer in Orange County who died in 2005 at 44.
The paddle-out is held close to winter solstice each year and also marks the start of a waiting period for a contest to be held in his name between now and March 15. The contest is by invitation only, and brings together the area's top 18 tube riders to compete on a day selected by Surfline.com forecasters on the south side of the Seal Beach Pier. Just one wave will determine the winning surfer for the day.
Morgan was known as someone who always had a smile, a surfer who would be the first one in the water before the sun came out. The contest announcer was a friend and mentor to many, and years after his passing, his legacy lives on.
Last year, about 100 surfers gathered for the paddle-out tribute, sharing stories about Morgan. About $2,000 was raised last year, donated to the Seal Beach Victims' Fund.
Morgan spent years being the voice of surfing, a contest announcer with a lively style that kept events moving.
He grew up in the Long Beach and Seal Beach area, getting his first surf gig at Harbour Surfboards. In the '80s, he was a nationally ranked surfer for the National Scholastic Surfing Association national team. He then became a coach and in the '90s took to the mic to start announcing events.
He was often side-by-side with announcer and friend Rick "Rockin Fig" Fignetti, and was often referred to as the Chick Hearn of surfing.
"His passion for the sport was huge and that translated through his commentary. You could feel the excitement. His sense of humor was sometimes relentless and he was quick on the trigger. Tongue-in-cheek remarks would sometimes get him into hot water, but it was all done in fun," reads a website dedicated to Morgan.
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