on 30 November 2012
Seriously big coffee-table book. Documents the epic journey of US climber / surfers Jeff Johnson and Chris Malloy, who trek from California to Chile and attempt to climb a forgotten peak, Cerro Corcovado. They are in turn retracing the epic journey of two US climber / surfers from the sixties (Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins) who did the journey 40 years earlier in a beat-up Ford campervan. This book accompanies the film of the same name and both are fabulous productions. The book is stuffed with superb photos, interviews and stories. Chouinard and Tompkins are both multi-millionaire businessmen now who probably travel around in Lear jets but they have to be applauded for their environmental credentials, especially down in Patagonia where they are trying to preserve the wilderness they first encountered in the sixties. Pricey book but worth getting if you liked the film.
on 30 May 2014
First, it's inspiring to see a sport like surfing move away from an image-obssessed, marketing driven approach towards issues of real substance. Moreover, in people like the Malloys and Jeff Johnson, you have people who don't simply espouse a lifestyle but live their lives according to these tenets. Then you have the central characters of the narrative, Tomkins and Chouinard, two down-to-earth multi-millionaires who are achieving some good while remaining true to some very solid values. All of these ethically sound underpinnings are, of course, set across the backdrop of a stunning beautiful and tragically endangered land and seascape. If the surface activities of surfing, sailing and climbing are, as Chouinard claims, essentially 'useless', the idea of saving wild places from being 'used' is just as important a part of this film. Aesthetically, it shares much with the earlier Woodshed movies, 'A Brokedown Melody', 'Shelter' and 'Thicker than Water' but, in the book you get a stronger sense of the underlying environmentalism of the project than in the film. It's perhaps not perfectly formatted for Kindle, particularly on the iPad, but for the saving on the hardback version, I can live with it.