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Riding the Magic Carpet: A Surfer's Odyssey in Search of the Perfect Wave: A Surfer's Odyssey to Find the Perfect Wave [Paperback]

Tom Anderson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2005
"The right-hand point at Jeffreys Bay is one of the surfing world's most exciting finds, and from the age of twelve it had been my life's purpose to surf there." J-Bay, South Africa has the fantasy, the almost mythical waves every surfer dreams of riding once in their lifetime. But Tom wouldn't go until he was ready. He would seek out surf-spots from the virgin reef-breaks of the Outer Orkneys to the temple point-breaks of Indonesia, from the beautiful beaches of France to the wilds of Sri Lanka, on his quest to ride the waves of his dreams. Get on the road, get stoked, and get in the water.

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Riding the Magic Carpet: A Surfer's Odyssey in Search of the Perfect Wave: A Surfer's Odyssey to Find the Perfect Wave + Kook: What Surfing Taught Me about Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale; First Thus edition (5 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840245026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840245028
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Anderson's book - fresh, ingenuous and honest - will inspire the urge to
explore in every surfer. -- Huck magazine

A strange thing for surfing books -- it's actually a good read... whet my appetite for both surfing and travelling! -- Wavelength

Best book I ever read -- Shawn 'Barney' Barron, Pro Surfer

Both adventurous and exciting... makes you dream about going on the ultimate surf safari -- Kate Dendle, surfer, GB Women's Team

One is left admiring Anderson’s drive, the vibrancy and honesty of his book and the simple fact of its existence. -- Alex Wade, Surf Nation, The Times

Part-odyssey, part-memoir, part-travelogue... as much an insight into the drifter and dreamer's mentality as it is a surfer's guide. -- Sunday Express

Surfer Tom rides the wave of literary success. -- Glamorgan Gazette

Tom Anderson explored the planet looking for the elusive perfect wave. -- Wales1000things.com, April 2007

[Anderson] has a great eye for arresting detail and an ever-tuned ear for interesting remarks. An excellent first book. -- Robert Minhinnick, Shortlisted for Welsh book of the Year

captures the real thrill of surf travel -- Simon Tucker, four times British Surfing Champion

From the Author

My first book, Riding the Magic Carpet, begins with Tom Curren’s famous end-of-Apartheid wave at South Africa’s Jeffrey’s Bay. As a youngster I remember seeing this wave on a big screen and knowing immediately that I had to go there. The combination of the circumstances in which the ride took place (simultaneous to Nelson Mandela walking free from prison) and the perfection of the wave itself created an irresistible allure.

Only the most boring of journeys take you directly to your destination, though, and getting there is more than half the fun. In the course of the Magic Carpet journey, the perfect wave is almost sniffed out in some pretty obscure places – like the freezing Orkney Islands for one (where there really is a town called ‘Twatt’, I promise you).

But it is experiences beyond wave-riding that give the surf trip its character. Some are bad, some good, but all remain a crucial part of the ride. Among others, Riding the Magic Carpet sees me running away while in France as a teenager, collecting a well-deserved punch to the face in Spain, grossing out at an Indonesian cockfight, sitting at the mouth of the Panama Canal on a half-stolen drug-dealer boat, getting washed bareback over live coral and losing hundreds of hours in transit – all in the name of a surf.

Was it worth it? Can one wave really merit a lifetime of looking?

Of course it can.

Tom Anderson

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top surf writing. 24 Nov 2006
By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I had the slightly surreal experience of reading this deep in an African jungle while on a surf trip with 'Ed', one of the characters in the book. Very peculiar sensation to read a book describing, accurately, the chap sitting next to you.

Surf travel is one of the few ways left where you can be a genuine explorer in this connected world, looking for places and waves never ridden, and Tom has captured the feel of always wondering if there is an undiscovered Kirra just around the next point, and the reality of hardcore surf travel - the hours of slogging away in a menial job just to get money for your next fix, poring over nautical maps and bathymetric charts trying to work out where might be the next undiscovered world-class wave.

There are very few genuine surf books out there by real surfers - most are by people imagining what it might be like and getting it just wrong enough to jar. This is spot on, very readable, and very enjoyable, and maybe answers the question surf travellers are always asked..'Why on earth do you want to go THERE?'

Buy it!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the surfer and nonsurfer alike. 21 Jun 2006
A very well written book full of fantastic charecters. Despite being a book about surf travel there is plenty for the nonsurfer for it is as much about the adventure of travel as it is the surf.

An enjoyable and inspirational read, lock up your credit card befor reading or you'll find your self on the next flight out of here.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read - whether you surf or not !!! 12 Jun 2006
Riding the Magic Carpet tells Tom's story of growing up as a Welsh surfer with a dream to go and be talented enough to surf at Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa. First he travels to various other surfing destinations at each step growing as a surfer and as a man. The writing is fluent, honest, humorous and surprisingly intelligent, offering fascinating glimpses into both the surfing potential and condition of the countries he visits. From the first page the author pulls you into his journey making Riding the Magic Carpet a very hard book to put down. Not only a book for surfers by any means. This is a tale of obsession (you can see where the Fever Pitch link comes from), and living life beyond the constraints of the conventional 9-5 lifestyle.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skilled Writer captures something to share 4 Jun 2006
This is the best surfing writing I have read since I started reading surfing literature in the late sixties. Tom Anderson more graphically describes the nuances and adrenalin excitement of everything associated with the sport and art of surfing than anything else I have read.

It is a skilled book and can open up a whole new world if you've never surfed.

It's also an excellent travel ' on the road ' people book - and can be read as such. Who knows how well it will be received by the reading world at large? It could catch on big time.

Four stars not five as the graphic, no holds barred quoting of the f word in the spoken language of the characters met is not going to work well for everyone.

The ending is one of the best endings I've ever read in a book - and a mark of the writer's skill at spiking the imagination.

Besides that: Travel writing at it's best in the hands of someone who loves and knows surfing and surfers - and travellers. If you aspire to be either it's an excellent read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, surf writing as good as it gets!! 15 Feb 2007
I loved this book. First it was writen by a Welsh guy so (if your British) you already feel more in touch. Second, it really captures the life of a devoted surfer, searching for that perfect wave. Every step of the book, Tom (the authur) managed to capture not just what it's like to surf but also to travel to different countries, with different cultures, different climates, different cautions but not through the eyes of the travelling masses who, as Tom says, just seem to be travelling to compete with all the other travellers, who's done this who's done that blah blah blah! He told the story through the eyes of a surfer travelling around world class surfing destinations and really appreciating the places he visited and also explained a bit of the history of each destination, from the cold of Northern Scotland to the tropics. It's not just for surfers either anybody can enjoy this book, he manages to explain any surfing terms of which a none surfer might not be familiar with (it even has a glossary in the back with definitions of some of the 'surf' terms used in the book). Basically this book comes highly recommended - but be warned, if your having a bit of a wave drought, or short of cash, then this book could leave you climbing the walls for the next trip!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational stuff 30 Aug 2007
I have read a few surfin yarns in my time, and this one really stands out from the rest. It perfectly captures the obsessive devotion to surfing which many of us suffer from, the author describes his sessions vividly and believably . The title is a bit cheesy, and I approached this book with scepticism, but it was on the money from start to finish, I was unable to put it down, except to go for a surf! Motivational stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great ride - from cover to cover 22 Nov 2009
I loved this book. It gripped me from the beginning and is written with passion, humour and insight. If you are even remotely interested in surfing you will enjoy this book, if you're obsessed with surfing you'll LOVE IT! It's all about life's journey in parallel with surfing and is a lesson in how to surf correctly - with morals, love, etiquette and an interest in the cultures which frame our surfing experiences.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
Bought it through a recommendation by a friend. Its very well written and packed with useful hints and ideas. Read more
Published 8 months ago by MR P M Cheeseman
4.0 out of 5 stars So jealous...... by a morro
What a awesome adventure from start to finish. Makes u wanna get up and travel with your board. Not only j bay but the rest of the awesome places mentioned.......... Read more
Published 8 months ago by A morrison
1.0 out of 5 stars Desperately boring drivel - couldn't finish it
I hated this book...not to sound cocky, but maybe if you were starting surfing you would really enjoy this.. Read more
Published 19 months ago by RedRabbit
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
I had never heard of tom anderson and was pleasantly surprised that this book kept my attention. It is definitely one I would recommend
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!
First Tom Anderson book I've read and loved it from cover to cover!! I most of my teens reading surf mags and this story visits all of those farflung places I've dreamed of. Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2011 by Dibdibdibidi
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I Expected
I bought this item for a holiday after reading all the great reviews it received and I don't really understand how they were all so positive. Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2010 by jweldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Best surf travel book I have read...this bloke can write.
The 1st surf book that I have read twice! and still couldn't put it down. Intelligent and very articulate, Tom Anderson has wisdom beyond his years. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2010 by P. Purdie
5.0 out of 5 stars follow your dreams rather than follow the masses
Makes you want to take a break and find a wave. I read it and now I feel like I am missing out on so many things. Read more
Published on 23 May 2010 by Adventurer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
This book is for anyone who has ever felt the surfer lifestyle (actually it is equally for those who havent) It explains the lifestyle and passion for most surfers around the worls... Read more
Published on 4 April 2010 by Smudger
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent surfing story
Really enjoyed it, it makes you want to plan a trip of your own and reading it during one of the coldest winters for ages meant I got to escape to warmer climes!
Published on 2 April 2010 by S. Wilkinson
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