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Walking on Water [Paperback]

Andy Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 April 1991
What did Captain James Cook, Elvis Presley and the author of this book have in common? They all went to Hawaii to live a dream or die there. The North Shore on the island of Oahu is only twelve miles long but it has the magic and myth of Troy or Never Never Land. In summer it is a sleepy, sun-soaked, palm-fringed strip of beaches. But in winter, with the coming of the biggest waves on the planet, it is transformed into a mecca for surfing pilgrims from all over the world. Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay are the legendary arena for a series of surfing showdowns where, for the first time, an Englishman, Martin Potter, was in contention for the world professional title. The author ostensibly in Hawaii to report on the Triple Crown contests, nurtured a secret plan: to launch his own personal assault on the foam-tipped mountains of the sea. Variously helped and hindered by shapers, gurus and born-again Christians, distracted from his self-imposed task by assorted temptations, this born-again beachbum struggled to find the board, the skills and the guts that would enable him to conquer the man-eating waves of the Pacific. Surfing is less a sport than a state of mind, an adventure in mythology, a religion with its own high priests and ritual sacrifices. This book is about waves. It is the story of an obsession, a journey through heaven and hell, the clumsy initiation of an outsider into a cult and a culture. It is also an oblique history of the world, a human comedy on waves, that will find an echo in anyone who has fallen prey to the spell of the ocean.


Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (24 April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719549566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719549564
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,155,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good to be out of print! 29 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Andy Martin is a University lecturer and surfer - a combination that makes this book - an account of his travels to the North Shore - both intelligent and fascinating. From his less than competent initial attempts at surfing in Hawaii to his relationships with the diverse people who collonise those shores, this is a book for surfers or travellers.
The weaving of his travel story, the history of surfing and that year's surfing world championship competition make this a truly good winter read when the water is cold and the days are short.
If this appeals, then also recommended is 'Caught on the Inside' by Daniel Duane - another book written by a University researcher taking time off from academia to surf and hang out with surfers, in this case on California's northern coast.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
An account of the authors winter season on the North Shore of Hawaii. During the year of Martin Potter's brief reign at the top of the ASP ratings, Andy Martin travels to Hawaii to both cover the penultimate contests of the ASP tour and to delve deeper into the surfing lifestyle of Oahu's surfing community, which embodies the traditional surfing lifestyle. As someone who has surfed in Hawaii, (though never in substantial surf) I found this book truely enjoyable. Martin has the ability to capture not only the various characters that make up the north shore surfing fraternity but also capture the very soul of the sport. In short: a little masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Just read this book - its fantastic. An account of how the author delved into the surfing culture in Hawaii, met the big names, surfed some of the classic breaks and lived the life. The descriptions are very accurate, this is a book that makes you just want to get in the car and go. I cant comment from a non surfer perspective, but from a surfing angle its definately the best book of its ilk printed so far.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty and intelligent insight to the world of surfing 15 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, it left me wanting much more. A well researched and descriptive look at the bizare world of big wave surfers. Particularly suited to those who have not and have no intention of surfing big waves themselves, but would like to get inside the head of the people who do.

It has a travelogue style, I think it would appeal to readers of Eric Newby or even books like "A year in Provence".

His other book "Coming down the Mountain", takes a similar approach, but to World cup Down Hill skiing. Again a good read, but for me not quite so riveting as this one.

Give it a try.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty and inteligent insight into the world of surfing 2 Feb 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, it left me wanting much more. A well researched and descriptive look at the bizare world of big wave surfers. Particularly suited to those who have not and have no intention of surfing big waves themselves, but would like to get inside the head of the people who do. It has a travelogue style, I think it would appeal to readers of Eric Newby or even books like "A year in Provence". His other book "Coming down the Mountain", takes a similar approach, but to World cup Down Hill skiing. Again a good read, but for me not quite so riveting as this one. Give it a try
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book 3 Oct 2011
By Dr. Rima A. Morrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
very well-written, as one would expect from a Professor at Cambridge University. He helps make the world of surfing in Hawaii 'come alive.' As someone with a Ph.D in Hawaiian culture, there are some mistakes in his interpretations, particularly about Captain Cook, but this is pretty much expected in books about Hawaii, and overall his writing style and subject makes this a very worthwhile read, for those of you who want to learn more about surfing, more about Hawaii or simply read a great book to take you away from wherever you are right now, for the time it takes you to read it at least.

The sequel 'Stealing the Wave', which focuses on a fight, is not as good IMO, and neither of them are - of course - as good as days in person on the North Shore, and the freedom to be there, or wherever you want to be, whenever you want. A little Huna here (apols. I have been learning about Huna for Q some time). It reminds us of the importance of focusing on what you want, define the result you want, then go for it. As long as we are in alignment with God's will (implicit in the title, but not discussed in the book) we will get it. If we do not get what we want, then obviously it is a sign to realign the result you REALLY TRUELY want, not to mention the method. This book is largely Oahu-centred, but Andy Martin does mention Kauai. I am reminded of the recent, tragic, accidental death of Kauai surfer Andy Irons of Hanalei near Princeville, and the 'Circle in the Sea' his friends and the boards made for him to commemmorate his accidental passing.

To sum up, the title of this book illuminates the possibilities of surfing for us in its birthplace, the Hawaiian islands. This book should really be read in conjuction with a true study of Huna, as it was practised in ancient times, to illuminate further. Sadly there are none of those studies now available.
4.0 out of 5 stars Winter time on the North Shore 4 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Andy Martin wrote a vey nice book, by interviewing all the world tour pros, you get more knowledge of what goes on On the North Shore of Oahu. I was stoked to see there also was a movie about it. Jeroen Mutsaars
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK RATES AS HIGH AS THE BARRELS ANDY WRITES ABOUT. 21 July 1998
By CRAIG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A great book about surfing, people, travel and polynesian history. It's both laid back and pumping at the same time and any kind of surfer would get a good feeling from reading it.
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