A Surfing LifeBook - 2015
Smell the ocean (California, ca. 1956-65)
The shock of the new (California, 1968)
'Scuse me while I kiss the sky (Maui, 1971)
The search (The South Pacific, 1978)
The lucky country (Australia, 1978-79)
Choosing Ethiopia (Asia, Africa, 1979-81)
Against dereliction (San Francisco, 1983-86)
Basso profundo (Madeira, 1994-2003)
The mountains fall into the heart of the sea (New York City, 2002-15)
From the critics
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This is a memoir of Finnegan's middle school years through his middle age years. He describes the intricacies of surfing, reading the waves -- their shapes, colors, movements, textures, sounds, starting and ending points, etc. -- and responding to them. He describes his responses in terms of his body's, his mind's, his heart's, his soul's reactions and adjustments. He spent several years traveling the world looking for excellent waves, all the while learning and respecting the local personalities and cultures. Surfing was everything. His attention to the smallest detail conveys how important those details were, and makes for fascinating reading. I was reminded of The Boys in the Boat and, to a lesser extent of H is for Hawk, both of which I liked very much.
After his round the world surfing stopped, the book dragged a bit -- most of life is not as interesting and surfing (because it's not? or because we don't focus on the details?). But it won me over again when he reconciled his new "old guy" approach to surfing with his regular life.
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