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4.4 out of 5 stars
31
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 1999
I am not a surfer, I probably never will be a surfer. But this book captured me, not because it's about surfing, but because it's about one person's attempt to feel, experience, and then communicate his total communion with a rare piece of our Earth --- the Pacific Coast of California where the waves wash up on the Point. It's nature writing at its most profound....an attempt to take one little piece of the globe and get across what it's all about. I read this, wierdly enough, while camping at Tahoe, and it transformed my whole camping experience,as I tried to appreciate and then replicate the detailed beauty of view Duane brought to the Santa Cruz coast up in the mountains I was wandering, and then tried to feel hiking/tramping/backpacking the way he obviously feels surfing. Read it to appreciate surfing, to learn the ocean,to feel a piece of real peace. Sweet stuff!
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on 16 July 2002
I am a non-surfer but was totally absorbed by Duane's writing. In contrast to much sports writing, the great achievements are a subtext - it sounds cliché, but what underpins the book is Duane's choice to make a total change of lifestyle to achieve a dream and live more truly. Duane writes with a sensitive awareness of self and the environment that surrounds him. Sufficiently mature to be aware of when in a moment of anger he had become that which he hated and apologise for it, balanced by enough childlike humour to describe an otter 'backstroking' past him. His observation of the Californian coast is eagle eyed, from the mustard flowers and worn Cyprus trees to the seals, otters, birds and big cats that inhabit the world he shares. And then there's the surfing...! All in all a great book, if you liked El Capitan you will find this similar but much more fluid.
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on 1 April 2002
Daniel Duane has captured what is undoubtedly the feelings of new and not so new surfers the world over. This is an honest account of what happens to you after you've ridden your first wave. That is that your life will never be the same again. And Duane comes as close to explaining why as anyone since Jerry Lopez. It has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with how surfing makes you feel and understand your place in the world. It has nothing to do with competing with others and everything to do with competing with yourself. This book has soul and it has it because its straightforward honesty allows you to escape into another dimension. It won't tell you how to perform a cutback or a floater but it will give you an insight into why, when you attempt a cutback or a floater you come closer to understanding yourself than ever before. Buy this book if you like surfing, the ocean, nature or you just love well written voyages of discovery.
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on 1 July 1998
Duane captures the need that compels surfers to travel great distances and give up most other pleasures and pastimes in the pursuit of waves. The insight into the mature and commercial world that is much of Californian surfing is balanced by the wider natural, universal attractions that make surfing the global addiction it is. As an amateur surfer of 10 years it reminds me of those goals I will always seek, and makes me thankful for the non-commercial reality that surfing in a less idylic locale (Britain)can give. It may be that 'only a surfer knows the feeling', but this book goes a long way to explaining it to the uninitiated.
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on 30 May 2007
I read this while living and working in California for 3 years, it's was fun trying to work out where some of the "secret spots" were, and his depiction of Santa Cruz and the mixed bag of characters who reside there was fantastic. I know I surfed with a few of his characters while exploring the point breaks and reefs around SC. A great read for non surfers and surfers alike, gives you some insight into what drives us into the freezing water in November, braving the shark infested breaks all year round and luxuriating in the stoke of a dawn patrol or suset session on the most beatiful costline in the world. If this dosen't make you want to take a trip to the home of modern surfing then nothing will.
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on 26 February 1999
While entertaining, I found it read like a Creative Writing 101 project. He goes on and on (and on and on and on) describing the natural beauty, after a while I'd say "enough! How about the surfing?" The "poetic" parts were repetetive and frankly not all that inspiring.
Don't get me wrong, being a surfer myself, I found it lovingly researched, and very interesting at parts, especially the history. Sadly, most of it reads like an article in "Surfer" or "Outside" magazine.
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on 27 September 2006
I bought this book based on other reviews and really enjoyed it as the author does manage to convey much of what if feels and what drives you to surf. It's not outstanding literature but it is a good read and probably one to pass to your girlfriend/boyfriend to give them some understanding of why you do what you do, although be prepared for them to dump you afterwards!
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on 7 April 1999
This book offers the side of surfing that no one ever talks about; The "spiritual commune with nature". There is a powerful comradiere one experiences when you are surfing. The power of nature in all its forms can challenge you, but also reminds you of how alive you really are. The No-Cal surfing experience is simply awesome. Daniel Duane has put into words an experience that we all feel in a moment; when the sun is setting, the winds are off-shore, the wildlife is all around you and a beautiful wave, which has travelled for thousands of miles, has come for you. This book reminds us verbally of what we all feel in our heart. Read this book and then go back to where it all began for you...
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on 29 November 2001
A great book for surfers and non-surfers alike.
I read this book after visiting California last year. Duane recaptures the atmosphere of surfing and also that of turning off Highway 1, stopping the car and taking a walk. You can almost smell the fresh air and taste the salt water. I'm from N. Devon and a surfer when I can get to the beach.
It's not as good as being in CA or in the water - but the it's the next best thing !
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on 29 December 2005
This book is well worth owning. It is amusing, self-depreciating, and extremely well written avoiding most of the cliches and painting a beautiful picture of the Californian coast. The best surf autobiography I have read since "Walking on water" by Andy Martin
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