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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power to the surf chick..
Wilma Johnson after spending a decade as an earth mother decides to up sticks with her family and move to the coast of France, where they don't speak the language. Determined to become a surf chick she starts to follow her motto of "out of the kitchen and into the surf."

This was a brilliant read. Wilma's self-deprecating humour throughout this memoir...
Published 5 months ago by Zoe

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for waves .............!
Light reading,which was sometimes interesting but short on detail and purpose. We learned little of her success or otherwise in her life as an artist. This could have been developed significantly with less time and effort focused on waiting for waves in the cold Atlantic which must be hugely boring.
Published 4 months ago by Joe OReilly


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power to the surf chick.., 19 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
Wilma Johnson after spending a decade as an earth mother decides to up sticks with her family and move to the coast of France, where they don't speak the language. Determined to become a surf chick she starts to follow her motto of "out of the kitchen and into the surf."

This was a brilliant read. Wilma's self-deprecating humour throughout this memoir is fantastic. There's just enough of it.

I love Wilma, I loved how she told her story from surf widow to surf mama. The best parts of the book is when she's out there on the surf, especially battling it out with the men - which seems to not be the done thing.

She doesn't hold back, she doesn't cover her flaws, she just lets it all out and that I find inspiring. She doesn't make out that the moment she hit the waves she was a professional surfer, her broken bones, bruises, aches and pains give fact to that.

It's made me want to grab a wetsuit, a surf board and learn how to surf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girls - read this book!, 8 Jun. 2014
I so enjoyed this book. Middle aged mother got up and got it together. Most impressive is that she went surfing, how cool is that... Wilma is an inspiration to all of us mamas and more importantly our daughters. Read this book and share it with those who need to see that, like Wilma, we should have adventures - and also have choices...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge inspiring fun, 7 Jun. 2014
A book that you can actually thank the person who gave it to you - bright, bold and the perfect summer read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fab motivational read, 1 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
Fab summer read, I am feeling empowered to pick up a surfboard and give it a go, or pick up anything and give it a go!
A tsunami of bitter sweet emotions, a tidal wave of humour full of self deprecation, determination, female friendship and lots and lots of mousse.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Memoir set in Biarritz (a town with a 'surf-oriented ley line'), 4 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
Wilma Johnson is living on the West Coast of Ireland with her husband and 3 small children. She is an artist and homemaker, whilst her husband takes to the waves and enjoys the surf. After 10 years and an increasingly wobbly marriage, the whole family decamps to Olatua, Biarritz in search of the Endless Summer Dream. Her surfing life at the age of 44 is just about to begin and she determines to learn to stand on a piece of fibreglass in the Bay of Biscay. Not for her any length of time on a boogie board - (otherwise known as a turtle rooter, speed bump or sponger) - which is surfed lying down, no, she is going for the full blown experience. It's do or die (and dying is quite a real possibility as she goes on to describe), surfing to her mind is 'deeply courageous', the rip tides, the wipeouts, the eskimo rolls and the tubes. Not to mention the weather, which is a capricious factor in the surfer's life: Biarritz seems to fluctuate between 'tropical paradise and Bay of Biscay sea shanty'.

She talks to Phil Grace, who has surfed the world and now shapes individual boards in Hossegor, Biarritz. Johanna, partner of Christophe Reinhardt (surf star, whose Father 'invented' surfing on the West Coast of France) is a driver behind the Mamas Surf Club - which started out as Desperate Housewives meets Baywatch, through the Boobs and Tubes surf club (remember a tube is where the wave is hollow where it's breaking. For some surfers it's the be all of surfing. It's sometimes called a barrel, keg, or pit..); to the The Nanas Surf Club (Nana means hot chick in French) to its final incarnation of the Mamas Surf Club (Mama in French means a sexually attractive, usually mature woman. Perfect!). So for this group of women it's out with the sex wax (you need it for the board so you stay on it) and the neoprene.

And what do you need to learn to surf and be very core and very cool? Good abs? So to start she learns to do the 'little press-up" - and as Christophe muses, surfing is 99% in your head and the other 1% requires complete fitness (plus a bit of inner goddess).

Now separated from her husband, and renting The Addams Family Mansion, as she calls her home, she has plenty of time to practise, all the while painting. It did occur to me that there was not a huge amount of overwhelming angst about her painting career, which is often the case for artists trying to sustain a living. But it transpires that in fact she used to hang out with Grayson Perry, the New Romantics, and goes on eventually to have a show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and then it's off to Tate Modern.... so not too many worries on that score I would think.

This is a memoir full of determination and a life affirming attitude, bonkers in parts it has to be said, but I am left with a sneaking admiration for the author's determination to become a female surfer - in a very male world - in the first decade of the 21st century. I enjoyed this memoir, it's a vignette into the surfing world, written with candour and style. Would I like to try surfing? I think I might stick in the foam (the tiny waves that roll on the to the beach!) with my boogie board.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and heartwarming, 2 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
An engaging account of the ups and downs of life - the author's wry humour shines through the trials and tribulations of family life, the weather, and other "slings and arrows"...
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a forty something female surfer (& fine art graduate) & I really enjoyed this book, 23 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
I'm a forty something female surfer (& fine art graduate) & I really enjoyed this book. It starts in the Kingdom of Kerry (last time I surfed there I broke my nose). And travels to Biarritz (last time I surfed there I had a prolapsed disc).
Her journey from earth mother (whose husband surfs) to surf mama is a really fun read. So much rings true too. Sometimes you sit out back in the line up & go "Oh god I'm the only woman." & sometimes you sit out back & go "Whey hey I'm the only woman!"
I also liked the bit where she thinks about finding a boyfriend. He'd have to be a surfer, but not better than her, but not a beginner either. Can I also add, that a long boarder/ short boarder mix is not ideal either!
As she gains more experience her passion for surfing grows. And as many of the reviews show here, if you are not already a surfer, you will want to become one!
It's refreshing to read a book by a woman who surfs that's not about competitions, or huge waves or how to be bionic.
I look forward to a book about her future adventures surfing around the world...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect company for a summer dip...., 7 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
Funny and fabulous - Wilma's journey to a magical place against all odds will inspire you, whether the sun shines or not!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a great present, 6 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
I keep buying more copies to give as presents - , it's a great story written with wit and affection with something for everyone - women and men, young and old, every friend has been delighted with it and have gone out of their way to thank me for it once they've started to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously Frolicking Good Read, 10 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave (Paperback)
This is a triumph of a book. It delivers everything you could want from a good read. Bite sized tasty morsels of erudite, witty, creative, visually resplendent chapters all combining into a fabulous feast - a frolicking good read. It is truly a wonderful book!
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