Mickey McCarthy Memorial Paddle-Out

July 3, 2017 • News

Story written by Jeff Myers, captions written by Dick “Mez” Meseroll — When asked to journal a piece on Mickey “2M” McCarthy’s memorial paddle-out and celebration of life by our family at Eastern Surf Magazine, it was both an honor and absolute pleasure. With this responsibility, I knew that upon writing this piece as both an introduction as well as penning my farewell would be extremely challenging, Emotional even.

Given a second chance, should I write down what I was physically unable to share through speaking at his ceremony due to the heavy emotion I wore before, during, and after the paddle-out? I will not. This seems almost selfish. I will focus on you, the attendees, Mickey’s friends, family members, and the readers that may or may not have known Mick but followed his legacy through some of the best photography that the world has ever seen.

Mickey McCarthy embraced everything our community represents as the unofficial Mayor of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have participated in my fair share of memorial paddle-outs, and this was bar none the most incredible ceremony I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. The amount of love, respect, and support was absolutely immeasurable, and understandably so. Brave words were spoken by Steve Head, one of Mickey’s surrogate sons, who shared a very heartfelt message of his own as well as what Mickey’s wife Betsy had written to Mick and, like most whom attended, was too overwhelmed with emotion to speak out.

Food was grilled, cold beer was present, 2M memorial surfboards and t-shirts were raffled off, and story after story after story was shared on Mick’s behalf. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, and we were reminded just how many lives Mickey touched through his pure and unconditional friendship as well as his passion for the art of surfboard shaping and photography. Fitting as it should be, this celebration took place on International Surfing Day. There were head-high sets pouring in, the evening light was magical, and Micks ashes were spread into the Atlantic Ocean in a circle of his very best friends and family.

Hell, I even received calls and text messages from the west coast with people wearing their Mickey McCarthy t-shirts, sharing that they were all certainly there in spirit. A paddle-out took place for him over in Hawaii, and I am working on a memorial day where all of Mick’s family and friends can come out to celebrate his life, show off their relic New Sun surfboards, have a fun little community surf event where all competitors must raffle and ride a custom 2M to compete, grill out, share stories, and embrace his legacy in all of its wonderful glory.

Mickey McCarthy was loved and cherished by so so many, the turn out for his memorial was just massive, and I am confident that he could hear us all roar from the Heavens above. Mickey left his mark in our hearts and in our community, and he will forever be celebrated as legends truly never die. Thank all of you that showed up to support this great man, thank all of you that were respectfully there in spirit and could not make the ceremony. We as a brother and sisterhood will continue to do our very best to love and support his lovely wife Betsy and remind ourselves and one another just how truly blessed we all are to have known Mickey McCarthy personally as well as through his incredible craftsmanship and photography.

Here’s to legends living forever — haunt us proper Mr. McCarthy!

The beach at Bonnett Street in Nags Head served as the rallying point for Mickey McCarthy’s paddle-out, which coincided with International Surf Day and was probably the location for more than a few memorable 2M photo sessions over the decades he shot on the Outer Banks. Photo: Mez

The turn-out was no surprise, with more than 170 paddlers connecting out in the circle of honor and many more observing from the beach. The Outer Banks is as tight-knit of a surfing community as you will find anywhere in the world and by the nature of its geography the locals truly take care of their own. Photo: Mez

The Nags Head Ocean Rescue were on hand both to pay their respects to a man who was an iconic fixture on their beaches and to make sure all were safe in the three- to five-foot waves and riptides coursing through the lineup. Photo: Mez

The Bonnett Street beach resembled a pop-up New Sun Surfboards museum for the many eras, styles, and designs that Mickey shaped through. All were proudly carried to the beach for display and into the water for the paddle-out by their owners. Photo: Daniel Pullen

(Left to right) Local luminaries and legends Mike Rowe, Murray Ross, Rascoe Hunt, and Steve Head with a Gale Force Glassing 2M throwback tribute model. Photo: Suzi Reeves

Just add water. Another 2M creation ready for fiberglass, fins, and a good swell. Photo: Mez

As the Beatles sang, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Betsy McCarthy (in aqua green) was surrounded by a literal sea of love on the beach this day for her and her husband, who gave so much of it himself to so many others asking nothing in return except to see them stoked and happy. Photo: Reeves

Thanks Mick! Photo: Mez

(Left to right) Jesse Fernandez, Drew Meredith, and Mike Weeks. Photo: Pullen

Rascoe Hunt and Mickey have a history that goes about as deep as anyone’s, both building boards together and as personal friends. And nobody would be smiling brighter than 2M himself at the sight of this classic Rascoe bottom turn — and the three- to five-foot waves this day. Photo: Mez

Bob Oliver and Whalebone Surf Shop’s Jim Vaughn. Photo: Reeves

(Left to right) Photog Jon Carter, OBNC rippers Dana Quinn and Josh Beveridge, one of the area’s first and best pros, Jeff Myers, and WRV shaper Bob Yinger. These five guys could write a book on the influence that Mickey had on themselves, let alone the rest of the Outer Banks. Photo: Mez

Paying respects to a man like Mick knew no age barriers. Photo: Reeves

Steve Head waxing one up for the paddle-out. Photo: Reeves

Mickey in the blank room at Gale Force Glassing, August 4th, 2013. Photo: Mez

And checking the waves near Nags Head Pier, October 3rd, 2007. Photo: Mez

Mickey has captured some of the most classic, breathtaking East Coast waves ever chronicled — here’s one of them as Dana Quinn challenges a dark, dirty winter monster that would keep most of us on the beach. Photo: Mickey McCarthy

Duck Village Outfitters owner Bob Hovey, who captured ESM’s most recent cover shot of Micha Cantor at Avalon Pier for our June 2017 issue (Vol. 26, #201), was just one of several OBNC photographers in attendance who had stories to tell of 2M’s welcoming, humble graciousness when they first got started and how he always ready with an encouraging word or a compliment on their photography. Photo: Mez

The Diggs sisters (left to right) Nicole, Brittany, and Brianna, surfers all, have passed in front on McCarthy’s lens since they were gromettes playing in the shorebreak just getting their sea legs on foam and fiberglass. Photo: Pullen

The legendary Delbert Melton along with Sam “Champs” Sykes, who lives part-time on the North Shore of Oahu and flew back for the memorial. Photo: Pullen

Matty and Jason Hitchcock manning the ticket bucket and picking out the winners for the surfboard raffle benefit. Photo: Reeves

Old-school raffle shapes in honor of Mickey. Photo: Mez

And we have a winner! Brian Hitchcock, the brother of shaper and board donator Matty Hitchcock. Photo: Pullen

A most fitting tribute. Photo: Mez

The ultimate OBNC surf parents, Bill and Julie Hume. Photo: Mez

(Left to right) Carl Berry, John Graham, Lynn Shell and Dana Quinn. Photo: Pullen

International Surf Day co-organizer and Outer Banks Milepost’s Laurin Walker and Betsy McCarthy. Photo: Mez

We didn’t get his name, but this gentleman quietly planted this cross atop the dunes of the Bonnett Street beach access, wrapped a lei around it, said a prayer, then grabbed his board and headed to the beach for the ceremony. A beautiful gesture indeed. Photo: Mez

You can’t overstate (or estimate for that matter) the huge circle of people who called Mickey a true, close friend and felt his positive influence on their lives. Surfline’s Matt Pruett and longtime OBNC ripper Craig Watson are but just two of that legion. Photo: Pullen

Maddie and Acey Davis about to paddle out. Photo: Mez

Quentin Turko and Jon Carter about to do the same. Photo: Pullen

International Surf Day co-organizer and Outer Banks Milepost’s Matt Walker organizes the assembled to begin the paddle-out. Photo: Mez

Nobody has a deeper photo archive on Noah Snyder across the years than 2M. Talk about a mutual match made in heaven. Photo: Pullen

Pulled back aerial POV of the circle of honor. Photo: Mez

Matt Walker, Delbert Melton, and Lance Marler. Photo: Pullen

The circle from the beach. Photo: Mez

Local photog Corey Schaible. Photo: Pullen

Steve Head releases Mickey back out to sea but not from our hearts. Photo: Pullen

Mary Schmader rides one in for Mickey. Photo: Reeves

Rascoe Hunt and Suzi Reeves leave the beach as a beautiful sunset blazed away fittingly accompanying all the attendees on their way home. Photo: Mez

Another signature pier capture by Mickey of Josh Beveridge. Photo: McCarthy

mickey mccarthy

A beautiful dramatic capture by photographer Suzi Reeves as the day’s memorial came to an end. If you take a sec and look closer, it’s uncanny how two seagulls in flight can also resemble the letters M M. Photo: Reeves

Currituck, NC, photo recon with Mickey on September 22nd, 2007. You are missed more than you will ever know my friend. Photo: Mez

Written in sand today, burned into out hearts forever. Photo: Reeves

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