RIP Mickey McCarthy

December 23, 2016 • News

ESM is heartbroken to report that true East Coast legend and iconic Outer Banks lensman Mickey McCarthy passed away on December 23rd, 2016. Mickey suffered a heart attack several days ago and was airlifted to Norfolk General Hospital, where doctors found a 100% closed coronary artery. A stint was put in and the artery was cleared, with Mickey reporting to friends and family on Wednesday in his hearty Southern drawl that he was feeling great and ready to go home. But complications resulted in Mickey’s tragic passing Friday morning.

Mickey McCarthy, on duty at ESA Easterns. Photo: Tom Dugan

Mickey McCarthy, on duty at ESA Easterns. Photo: Tom Dugan

Mickey was a legendary figure on the East Coast, photographing damn near every good day on the Outer Banks from the mid ’60s onward, contributing to the early growth and continued success of the Eastern Surfing Association (even serving as their official photographer over the last few years), and hand-crafting thousands of beautiful, functional shapes under the New Sun Surfboards label. Although Mickey didn’t move to Kill Devil Hills with his beautiful wife Betsy until 1981, he immediately became one of Dare County’s greatest ambassadors, mixing an astute photographic eye with one of the biggest smiles, heartiest laughs, and warmest hearts in all of surfing. That bestowed upon Mickey true bona fide legend status — in every sense of the word.

Mickey's beloved Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in its original location, photographed from above in February 1999. Photo: McCarthy

Mickey’s beloved Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in its original location, photographed from above in February 1999. Photo: McCarthy

Mickey’s sudden passing will be mourned for years, but his spirit lives on in every grom who traveled to Cape Hatteras for Easterns and every grown-up who gets a glassy cover-up at Avalon Pier. Stay tuned as we add more memories of Mickey below, along with information on memorial services and tributes. For now, say a prayer for Mickey’s wife Betsy and the rest of his family on this difficult holiday weekend.

Mickey McCarthy. Photo: Tom Dugan

“To say that Mickey will be missed doesn’t even come close to expressing the love and sorrow his many, many friends in surfing have for him right now. Condolences to his family and all who knew 2M — truly, truly another one of the good guys gone.” –ESM Co-Founder/Photo Editor Emeritus Dick “Mez” Meseroll.”

Mickey McCarthy. Photo: Mez

“The hands that gave so much joy to so many others for so many years either riding waves on his boards, capturing them through the lens of his camera, building a home for them, or just getting that handshake/hug and the big smile every time you met up with him. RIP 2M.” -Mez

“So saddened to hear we have lost one of the kindest and generous members of the surf community. Mickey, I always joked, was Santa Claus on vacation in the Outer Banks. Always looked forward to seeing and catching up with him when I would chase swells up there. My deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends!” –North Carolina photographer DJ Struntz

Mickey doin' work at the 43rd Annual ESA Easterns. Photo: Dugan

Mickey doin’ work at the 43rd Annual ESA Easterns. Photo: Dugan

“A mentor, a brother, an absolute God amongst our community, Mickey McCarthy has passed and is off to look after each and every one of us from the heavens above. Mickey shaped me some of the best and most innovative surfboards I have ever ridden, and he singlehandedly carried my surf ‘career’ with his incredible photography. He was the kindest, most humble, loving, and inspiring human I have ever had the fine fortune of calling a true brother and so so very influential in my life as a boy growing into a young man — unconditionally, he was always there for me and for all of us. I had the most incredible conversation with him yesterday, sharing a few laughs and tears, and I will remain forever grateful for the last time we spoke and what we spoke of throughout that conversation. Make this holiday count with your friends and family, folks, there truly is no guarantee… rest in peace Mick, and thank you for being you — heaven received a true one of a kind and I know you’re in great company smiling down brother! Condolences to his amazing wife Betsy McCarthy, friends and family. rest easy you absolute legend!”

Mickey helped to cultivate the careers of many Outer Banks standouts, stretching all the way back to guys like Pat McManus, seen here with his ESA trophy circa 1985. Photo: Mickey McCarthy

Mickey helped to cultivate the careers of many Outer Banks standouts, stretching all the way back to guys like Pat McManus, seen here with his ESA trophy circa 1985. Photo: Mickey McCarthy

 

Another beautiful, functional New Sun Surfboard hand-shaped by Mickey and ready for action at his beloved Avalon Pier, February 1988. Photo: McCarthy

Another beautiful, functional New Sun Surfboard hand-shaped by Mickey and ready for action at his beloved Avalon Pier, February 1988. Photo: McCarthy

Up close and personal with Mickey's infectious smile. Photo: Dugan

Up close and personal with Mickey’s infectious smile. Photo: Dugan

RIP Mickey — you will be sorely missed, but your spirit will love on forever. Photo: Dugan

RIP Mickey — you will be sorely missed, but your spirit will live on forever. Photo: Dugan

 

 

 

 

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  • supertaco

    Oh man, this stinks. What a nice man. Built me two custom shapes in 1989/1990 when he had his shop across from the Nags head pier. Those boards worked great. Had them in Maui, Nova Scotia, Barbados, Black’s beach (BIG!) and many other places. Condolences to all his family and friends.

  • Mike Vuocolo

    Sadist news I have heard in some time. Truly a Right Coast legend committed to his crafts. We only met once but I have followed his work since we shared space in early Florida based Mag in the 70’s. RIP 2M and God be with his family.