With grit, poetry, and humor, Peter Heller, acclaimed author of The River and The Whale Warriors recounts his remarkable journey of discovery—of surfing, an entirely new challenge; of the ocean’s beauty and power; of the strange surf subculture; of love; and, most of all, of how to seek adventure while crafting a meaningful life.
Author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Dog Stars
Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for Literature
Having resolved to master a big-hollow wave—that is, to go from kook (surfese for beginner) to shredder—in a single year, Heller travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico in the company of his girlfriend and the eccentric surfers they meet. Exuberant and fearless, Heller explores the technique and science of surfing the secrets of its culture, and the environmental ravages to the stunning coastline he visits.
As Heller plumbs the working of his own heart and finds joy in both love and surfing, he affords readers vivid insight into this fascinating world, with all of its perils and pleasures, its absurdity and wonder. Exhilarating, entertaining, and moving, Kook is a love story between a man and his surfboard, a man and his girlfriend, a not-so-old man and the sea.
Journalist Heller s gripping memoir of finding the value of life while shooting the curl off Baja starts off as a disappointing middle-aged man s lament about the lack of love and meaning in his life. Just back from an exhausting assignment in Tibet, he gets a phone call from an old friend in California who wants Heller to come out so they can take surfing lessons together. Reluctant at first to leave Denver and his girlfriend, Kim, he follows the call to this new adventure. At Huntington Beach, Heller violates every rule of surfing etiquette, and other surfers vilify him as a kook, a beginning surfer. Initially, Heller is embarrassed, but he soon becomes so consumed by surfing that he brings Kim to California with him so that she can take lessons; soon, the two are traveling to various surfing locales in California and Mexico as Heller follows the waves. People admire surfers so much, he argues, because they have bowed to a force greater than themselves the wave and have transformed themselves into beings who can respond to such power with grace, humility, and beauty. By the end of this powerful memoir, Heller has learned that surfing is not simply about staying up on your board; it s about love: of a woman, of living, of the sea.
Move over kook I'm looking to return.
Ten ok maybe 16 years ago I lived in Cardiff by the Sea, now I'm in Boulder and the itch is back. I have two small children I take to the Cape during the summer but light boogie boarding is all they can do, yet. It's end of sept and 80 degrees time to think snowboarding but this book makes me want to jump in VW camper and hit the PCHighway to tour the surf breaks. Fun read, thanks.
Long story short
Took a challenge to surf in 6 months, took a trip around Mexico to surf, caught some waves, got into some fights, tried to save some dolphins, tried to make everyone aware of the environment and the dying reefs, fell in love, caught the perfect wave, got stitches on his head. The end.
Inspired me to try surfing! Really a great book!