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on 21 July 2010
For all those fanatical, surf obsessed, wave junkies, who spend as many hours thinking about surfing as they do in the water, this book is a must read. Sam writes poetically and intelligently about his experiences as a surfer, using the similarity to jazz as a metaphor for his observations. The book takes you on a journey through some of the unusual and brilliant corners of the world Sam has surfed. Rather than a practical guide to traveling to these locations, the writing is more about capturing the vibe of the place, inspiring surf exploration and the philosophy of being a visiting surfer. The book puts into words many of the thoughts, experiences and challenges faced by the seasoned surfer.
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on 3 August 2010
Sam Bleakley has long delighted the coastal cognoscenti, both with his awesome grace as a surfer and with the fluid bebop of his prose, steeped in mythology and local colour, free and vivid as his carves and cutbacks. Now, in his debut book, Sam spreads his wings to embrace the world - those 'brilliant corners' that only war correspondents and aid workers typically see - with a truly remarkable travelogue. Scouring the globe for ravaged places that sorely need responsible Western interest, Bleakley brings a well-trained mind, world-beating skill and athleticism, and a particular West Cornish charm to truly connect with the locals. This is Paul Theroux without the misanthropy, Ray Mears without the dubbin and gaiters, the Long Way Round if it'd been written by a philosopher on a pushbike not visor-down guys on motorcycles. The many, many fantastic photos in this handsome edition are well worth the very-reasonable cover price, but you'll want to spend a lot of time with Bleakley's prose too. An instant travel-writing classic.
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on 14 July 2010
Brilliant and Beautiful

If aliens are indeed hovering above and making home movies "of all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits" then let's hope they get some footage of Sam Bleakley, so they can understand that people like him provide the rest of us with the inspiration to try and live our dreams.
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on 9 April 2012
John Callahan's photography is so breathtaking it makes you want to visit the rich places featured in the book. Surfing Brilliant Corners is an incredible journey and reading it has made me more passionate to live my life to the fullest. The way the author has eloquently crafted the metaphor between jazz/improvisation and surfing, travel and life into the text is outstanding. This is worthy of widespread notoriety. I'm still on a musical odyssey exploring the jazz tunes mentioned in the stories. But the real element of the book is the travel writing. The descriptions of place and people make you feel right there, in the moment. This is a must for anyone keen on travel writing...
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on 23 November 2011
As a Jazz fan and a Surfing enthusiast [watching from the safety of the beach] I can well understand the link between improvisation and surfing. The book is poetry, not a word is wasted, each word packs meaning; I would love to read his work for his PH.D. The photos are sublime, full of energy and create a subtext.
The only downside is the time, energy and money tracking down the jazz albums noted in the book.
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on 4 December 2014
Well received as a Presant
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on 19 April 2011
I am an avid reader and competent surfer and have to say that this is the only book on surfing that I have not enjoyed. It annoyed me from the first chapter but I persevered until the end. I found Bleakley's link between jazz and surfing interesting, and worthy of a short article, but running through a whole book? Almost as boring as a warbling jazz solo! Admittedly I'm no musician but appreciate various genres so this alone does not explain why it bugged me so much. Maybe I'm just a miserable sod and thought I had picked up a surf travel book with a twist and instead got an `isn't my life great' autobiography. Or just that the writing seemed contrived and a little painful to read, making the link with jazz complete!
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