SURF BOOK REVIEWS



RATOON - THE NEXT GENERATION

 

Living and surfing in the 60's, that was the life.

This is a first-time novel from NSW South Coast Surfer, Mark Morgan.

Set in the 60's, it is a story about a young fellow (Michael Lamond) who lived in the cane fields in remote North Queensland.

He comes to the coast on holidays and discovers "surfing". He starts doing things on a board no-one else had imagined possible.

The book high-lights the highs 'n lows of family life with plenty of surfing thrown into the mix.

355 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


THE LOST COAST

 

This is a collection of 22 short "surf" stories as told by surfers.

So you can guarantee that they'll have a few areas stretched for the sake of a good yarn.

Some are serious, some laughable, some you just have to say, oh b..l s..t.

Each story is a raw glimpse of surf life - from sliding into cold, stiff neoprene to experiencing the ecstacy of the "Pure Art of Surfing".

They capture the movement, mythology, fantasy and philosophy of surf life and culture.

199 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


TIJUANA STRAITS

 

This is another classic offering from the author of "Tapping The Source" and "The Dogs of Winter".

The premise of this novel follows a once great surfer, now a reclusive ex-con.

He saves a girl from a pack of wild dogs in a wasteland area where California and Mexico meet the Pacific Ocean - an area called Tijuana Straits.

The girl, an environmental activist, has become engaged in helping the thousands of peasants streaming from Mexico to work in the foreign-owned factories that line the country's border.

Throw in a trio of "baddies" and you'll get a good read out of this one.

306 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


CAUGHT INSIDE - A SURFER'S YEAR ON THE CALIFORNIA COAST

 

Some of the reviewers of this book warned that it wasn't that good.

They didn't say that it wasn't any good at all.

But that's the way I found it.

A waste of money would be an apt term, I think.

The premise of the book was the author taking a year off from whatever it was he did for a living to investigate the life-style of the California surfer.

It was written up as "A wonderous, uproarious, and surprisingly informative account of a year spent surfing ..."

For me anyway, it turned out to be about 58 pages of cliché-filled rubbish. (The book was actually 239 pages in length, but I could only stand 58 before I felt like throwing it out a closed window).

Available from: On-Line Sites


DA BULL - LIFE OVER THE EDGE

 

This is the story of the man who was credited with riding the biggest wave ever seen on film. It was the outside reef at Pipeline, and it was a cracker. He is also credited with "free-surfing the biggest wave ever. That was Makaha 1969.

The book is semi-autobiographical, with "Da Bull" (aka Greg Noll) and a host of friends, including Mike Doyle, Mike Stange, Dale Velzy, etc., reliving the wild days of surfing.

After the Preface and Introduction, the book starts at the end with an aptly titled chapter, The Last Wave. From there the reader is taken on a journey through the 40's, 50's and 60's to meet up with the characters who made surfing larger-than-life. They were larcenous, devilish, out-of-control and always looking to make a quid any way they could.

Visit once isolated surf spots around the fabled islands of Hawaii, like Haleiwa, Laniakea and Sunset Beach.

It's a story told in an easy to read, humorous style. 193 pages of fabulous reading for any surfer.

Available from: On-Line Sites


FERALS

 

No, this isn't a biographical analysis of the "burnt-out hippies" from Byron Bay. It is a 206-page fictional aussie yarn written by Darrel Cake.

If you're looking for a full-on surf story, then don't get this book.

The premise of the book is the story of the high-flying stockmarket wiz-kid who manages to blow it big time and loose mega-bucks of the company he was working for. He does the only thing an aussie boy would do - he chickens out and decides to "head west". This must have been where the saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" came from, because that's just what he did. He got going - right out of town and over to the west coast.

Enter the alternative lifestyles who teach both he and his volatile girlfriend how to live in harmony with the Great Earth Spirit.

The surfing sequences are few & far between, which for me was disappointing, because that was one of the chief reasons I bought it.

Still, with absolutely NO SURF to speak of up here on the Gold Coast this week, the book was a great relief to have.

Available from: On-Line Sites


THE MINDLESS FEROCITY OF SHARKS

 

The author of this unusual book sent me a copy to review. He asked if I'd have a read of it and then put my thoughts onto the website.

This is indeed a most UNUSUAL book. It is a novel of around 300 pages. It is not an easy read, but it IS interesting.

The blurb on the back cover goes something like this ... "Eleven-year-old Floaty-boy (so named because of his passion for bodysurfing and peculiar talent for buoyancy) inhabits a murky, watery world of wagging school and illicit night surfing. He is in-between - neither man nor boy - and hovers on the edges of his existence: the reefs and ledges of the ocean where he bodysurfs and the fringes of a family that seems to be spinning out of control. Headstrong yet vulnerable, Floaty-boy is a prey to the jagged edges of his perception as he is to sharks that cruise the out-of-bounds world of Down Below".

The author is Brett D'Arcy who was born in Perth in 1963.

It is a book that you have to concentrate on, and be prepared to read without distractions. You can't read it during the ads on tele, or while you're waiting for your heat to start in your club point score round. It is for a waveless, rainy day at home.

Available from: On-Line Sites


MP - THE LIFE OF MICHAEL PETERSON

 

I've just finished reading this book. Unbelievable!!!!! That is about the only way to describe it.

At the recent BIC One-Design Contest, I was sharing a table with Nat Young (a bit of name dropping going on here) and his family. He mentioned that he'd just started to read a book about Michael Peterson. It got me intrigued. If you had read Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew's book entitled Bustin' Down The Doors, you would have read how he and Michael Peterson had waged an on-going battle for a long time, and that Michael Peterson had turned into a bit of a nutter.

This book of around 330 pages is the true Michael Peterson story, and to say it's warts 'n all would be a real understatement.

Part of the blurb on the back cover says ... "For three years Michael Peterson was the best surfer in the world, hands down ... After years of gaol and psychiatric institutions he emerged, alive, but bearing the scars of his battle. For 20 years Michael Peterson's exploits in and out of the water have existed only as a series of mythological tales, passed down by the surfing tribe. Until now".

It's been well researched and well written, and is DEFINITELY worth a read. The chapters are reasonably short, and it even has pictures for those of us who can't read a book without them.

Available from: On-Line Sites


MR SUNSET - THE JEFF HAKMAN STORY

 

I think the back cover of this book says it all.

"Mr Sunset is the remarkable, true story of a surfing legend. Jeff Hakman surfed waves as high as houses on Hawaii's North Shore when he was just thirteen. By seventeen he had won the world's most prestigious surfing title and been anointed the king of big wave riders by Duke Kahanamoku. At twenty one he was the most successful professional surfer the world had ever seen, and at thirty he was one of the surf industry's first millionaires. But somewhere along the way his life fell apart in the haze of drug addiction, and it has taken the courage of the little boy who surfed monster Waimea Bay with his dad to drag himself out of the gutter and start life anew".

At 193 pages and loaded with great pictures, it "a gas".

Available from: On-Line Sites


BUSTIN' DOWN THE DOORS - THE WAYNE "RABBIT" BARTHOLOMEW STORY

 

A look at the life and times of the 1978 World Surfing Champion, Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew as told through his eyes and friends around him. It's 361 pages of "down-to-earth" warts 'n all story telling of the surfing fraternity. Read about the birth of the pro tour and the on-going battle with Michael Peterson (who sounded like he turned into a bit of a nutter).

It's been written in an articulate and innovative way, with short, sharp chapters and sub-sections.

Well worth a read.

Available from: On-Line Sites


THE SOUL OF SURFING

 

This book, at 151 pages, is a bit of a "mish-mash" of short articles on the people and places that, in the opinion of the writer, make up the soul of surfing. It's a book full of personal thoughts from the writer (Fred Hemmings) about what in his eyes is the only place in the world to surf - Hawaii.

On the whole it wasn't that good a read, and the pictures were not too exciting, but if you ever needed a geography lesson on all the best breaks in Hawaii, then Fred's your man.

Available from: On-Line Sites


STOKED - A HISTORY OF SURF CULTURE

 

Bit tough to classify this book. But make no mistake, it is good. Full of short snippets about the people and places that make up surfing.

It goes through the obligatory story about "The Duke", The Late Mickey Dora, "The California Scene", Professionalism vs Free-Surfing, and so-on.

There are high quality pictures galore, and at 209 pages is a great coffee table book.

Available from: On-Line Sites


SURF RAGE

 

Unless you were living in a cave in Afghanistan, you would have heard about "that incident" that occurred at Angourie on March 16, 2000. You probably even had an opinion on whose fault it really was. The inspiration for this book came whilst Nat Young was lying in a hospital bed recovering from his injuries from that infamous encounter. He was trying to figure out a way to turn the negativity of the situation into something positive.

This book is in fact a collection of writings from a variety of people who are involved in some way in the sport of surfing. Some of the Chapters are funny, some are thought provoking, and some sound like they came from the mind of someone who had too much of a good time in the early 70's.

It exposes "localism" in it's barest form, and the extremes that some groups will go to in order to protect "their" surf spots.

Just as neither the Aboriginals nor the White Australians OWN Mother Earth, so too the surfers of this planet cannot lay claim to owning any part of the ocean. It was here for a long time before man lay about in it, and it will be around long after man has disappeared into oblivion.

218 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


SURF RIDERS - IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT WAVE

 

Loaded with some amazing photographs, this collection of interviews and experiences from surf writer, Matt Warshaw, gives a brilliant insight into the "Search For The Perfect Wave". Each chapter is short and sharp and covers a variety of topics such as the fortuitous arrival on Australia's shores of the Duke, Surfaris, Competition, Free Surfing etc. Well worth a read.

130 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


THE GLIDE

This is an interesting book in it's own way. It's not a story, but rather a biography of past and present characters in the longboarding scene.

An interesting innovation, and the essence of the majority of the book is taking a look in detail at the author's (The Late Chris Bystrom) choice of the Top 20 Longboarders of our time.

The book also explores the surf music culture, art forms, and takes a nostalgic look at some of the elder statesmen of surfing.

The stories are complimented by some fantastic photographs from some of the best in the business.

130 pages.

Available from: On-Line Sites


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