Esposito, Mike


Unheralded but richly talented goofyfoot surfer from Durban, South Africa; runner-up in the 1975 Gunston 500, and third-place finisher in the 1991 Longboard World Championships. Esposito was born (1953) in Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal province, and raised in Durban. He began surfing at 12, and just a few months later placed second in the boys' division of the South African Championships. George Thompson, the country's best surfer at the time, was an informal mentor.

Esposito's fast-riding surfing career was interrupted in 1970 and '71, as he joined the South African Air Force for his mandatory military service. Back in rhythm by 1972, he was selected to the South African National Team, and competed in the World Championships, in San Diego. Esposito was a six-time finalist in the Gunston 500, South Africa's most prestigious professional surf contest.

Esposito's flashy but coherent surfing style prompted Durbanite and 1977 world champion Shaun Tomson to label him as the "South African Wayne Lynch," in reference to the preternaturally talented Australian.  He was featured in the 1974 surf movie A Winter's Tale.

In 1993, Esposito moved to Sydney, Australia, where he worked in marketing and competed regularly in longboard events.