Sunday, January 02, 2011


What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Heller

I am not a surfer, never aspired to be a surfer, don't live in a location where there is much surfing and don't know any surfers. I was spending way to much time in an airport and looking for something lighter than what I had with me for reading and picked this up in a bookshop. I cannot say it is a great work of art or well written for that matter but it was entertaining and introduced me to a world that I knew nothing about. In fact, I immediately went out and rented three surf movies: Endless Summer, Step Into Liquid and Blue Horizon. I had no idea that people are surfing one hundred foot waves. I also picked up the new book, The Wave by Susan Casey, that looks really interesting.

But back to this book. Peter Heller seems to have made a career for himself going on adventures and then writing about them: extreme kayaking Tibet's Tsangpo gorge, the "deepest river gorge in the world"; a radical and dangerous campaign on an "eco-pirate ship" against Japanese whale hunting in Antarctica - and that is just his published books. His adventures are also chronicled in his articles in Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure as well as others. His web site has quite a few of his articles. But back to this book - Kook about surfing.

In Kook, Peter Heller sets himself the task of trying to learn how to surf in one year. He starts out in California and works his way through Baja and into Mexico. In the process he meets all sorts of surfers, from guys nobody has ever heard of to the famous. Oh yeah, and his girl friend comes along and learns to surf too. A surfer certainly wouldn't read this book the same way I did but for a non surfer it was a very accessible and entertaining introduction to the surfing world. I don't know if this is the best introduction to surfing (you cannot beat the visuals of a video for really understanding the waves) but I found it very interesting and was glad I read it. I will probably pick up some of his other books as well.

No comments: