It’s coming to that time of year – summer is ending, the temperature weather keeps changing from boiling hot to bitterly cold, everyone’s miserable, you have to start saving for Christmas shopping and new jumpers.

So it’s exactly the time of year I like to grab my copy of STEALING THE WAVE by Andy Martin and pretend I’m in Hawaii…

STEALING THE WAVE is a work of non-fiction that’s part philosophy, part soap opera, part tragedy and all awesome. Set in the 80’s and 90’s it tells the story of two surfers – Ken Bradshaw, a veteran surfer and friend to the legendary Eddie Aikau who had the respect of the whole island, and Mark Foo, a talented, beautiful young upstart who had the love of the media. When Foo cut across Bradshaw one day on Sunset beach, stealing the perfect wave and riding it all the way to the shore, Bradshaw paddled calmly back to the beach, knocked Foo off his board, and bit a huge chunk of wood out of the edge. Thus begins a story of rivalry and resentment that leads all the way to Foo’s untimely death at Mavericks in California.

Although I’m a big sports fan (despite two left feet and the physique of a rugby player who has let himself go), this book is a real departure from my normal reading habits (mainly due to an absence of dragons and swords), but it hooks me every time I read it. It’s a gripping story, and the relationship between Foo and Bradshaw is fascinating, but it’s the way that Martin manages to enshrine the mythology that surrounds the Hawaiian surf culture, and its heroes, which brings me back to read it time and again. It’s rich in sun, sand, surfing, booze, warfare against passion against the backdrop of a Hawaiian paradise. Though it hasn’t stopped me from face-planting into the sand off tiny fibreglass rent-a-boards every time I try to stand up…

Paul S

Paul Stark has worked for Orion for five years and has been involved with Orion Audio for nearly two years after a childhood reading Terry Pratchett and Anne McCaffrey books. He fell into publishing after a Christmas selling books and eighteen months working in stripes in an American themed restaurant, so he also knows how to make balloon animals. He lives in Greenwich, where time was invented. His favourite authors are Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Téa Obreht.
  • Simon

    Goes on my ‘to buy’ pile.