Riding the Magic Carpet - by Tom Anderson
This book is a great read. Tom Anderson grips you from the beginning as he heads on a surfing journey that he hopes will lead him to his dream wave: J-Bay.
The book will appeal to anyone with even the remotest interest in surfing as well as experienced surfers (who will already know well the pot of wave-based emotions and aspirations that Tom's writing is scooped from). The simplest and best thing to glean from this book is how to surf properly. What I mean by that is that Tom is not an irresponsible surfer: he doesn't rush straight to J-Bay after chapter one. That would be the wrong way to go about it. That would not only ruin a good book but would also not be good surfing practice. The path of progression of a surfer should be curved like a wave - we should aspire to make our way naturally to the critical section. Tom describes how the journey to them becomes part of the experience of the waves you discover.
As a new surfer I identified more with Tom's girlfriend, who learns to surf from scratch during the book, and I was delighted to find her quickly progressing and becoming a good surfer by the end. The book is about Tom's journey though, all the way from turning away from football at school to become a surfer, through running away from an exchange family to get to Hossegor and then fighting the coral and almost some unfriendly 'surf fascists' in Sri Lanka, before arriving at the final chapter.
This book also gave me a much greater, deeper, understanding of surfing: from the character of different waves to the character of different surfers. It also holds an emotional and moral depth as well as humour, fun, a bit of politics all while making sure it's retains it's grip on being a non-self-indulgent interesting surf story. If you haven't read this book - read it!