Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Surf Nation

Surf Nation is a great new book by Alex Wade, the author of Wrecking Machine as well as the writer of The Times' surfing blog.

With this book, the author embarks upon an eighteen month quest to survey the surf and the surfers of Britain and Ireland. In doing so he travels from Jersey to the Orkneys, via Cornwall, Wales, the west coast of Ireland and even over to Brighton and East Anglia. In doing so he brings to the public's attention what for many years has been regarded as somewhat of a sub-culture. Not only that but despite what many people might think, he shows that surfing over here is alive and well. In each area, he seeks out the locals and listens to their stories, from which he builds a picture of a community of surfers across the land.

Within this portrait he also reflects some of the thoughts of the surfers he is writing about and ponders on the essence of surfing itself. For example, he says,

"Eventually, sitting on my board waiting for another wave, I fell to simple gazing at the water, alternately watching the bulge of waves and the way in which they broke just a few yards ahead of me, and then turning to look to the horizon to wonder at the waves gleaming as far as the eye could see, like blue silk rippled by an invisible force. Was this Melville's 'image of the ungraspable phantom of life', the key to it all, as Ishmael reflects at the outset of Moby-Dick?"

This is a thought-provoking and interesting book and I would highly recommend it for both surfers and non-surfers alike. You can buy it now on amazon.

No comments: