Mixed Plate
Surf Rage Book Report

Surf Rage: A Surfer’s Guide to Turning Negatives into Positives
Introduced by Nat Young

This book review began, oddly enough before I even purchased the book. This is a post I sent to alt.surfing on April 6, 2001:

While shopping at Costco this weekend, I decided to buy the new book by Nat Young entitled Surf Rage. The checkout lady noticed the book and inquired what the book was all about. Apparently, she had a taste of surf rage herself.

She said that one time at Queens (Waikiki), she was accosted by this man in the lineup. She did not mention what lead to the confrontation, but this guy started mouthing off big time at her.

Suddenly he shot the board out at her, hitting her in the stomach. She was in pain, but when the realization of the offense hit home, she got pissed off and punched the guy in the face. Broke his nose! It was his first time surfing.

But that's not the worse of it. Several days later, she went to the hospital with some cramps. Unbeknownst to her, she was pregnant but had suffered a miscarriage.

Whether the board spearing was the cause, we'll never know. However, she was traumatized from the whole thing. All this explained to me while scanning my goods and making change.

Looking forward to reading the book, but I don't know if it'll come close to this.

sponge (Costco member since 1990)

I finally got a chance to read the book (27 Aug 01) and here's my take:

Although the byline for the book says Nat Young, most of the stories were written by other surfers, mostly Australians. It’s truly ironic that Nat “the Animal” Young is the one condemning “surf rage” since he’s the very surfer who embodied surf aggression in and out of the water throughout his life. It’s akin to a high school dropout trying to tell children to stay in school. But I digress.

On March 16, 2000, Nat got into a fight in the lineup and copped a serious beating (see picture below). It was this incident that prompted him to write and compile this book.

Refreshingly, the book isn’t about only surf rage (the equivalent to driving’s road rage). Each author had very enlightening incidents to share and analyzed the how’s and possibly why’s they occurred.

Things that are discussed included: localism, territorialism, respect, surf media intervention, the laughability of “secret” spots, surf tourism, professionalism, other waveriding vehicles, women, recent incidents in the news, Zorba of Oxnard, the Ranch, and the infamous Saltbush in Southern Australia. The very end has some silly conflict resolution and anger management tips, along with a wrap-up by Nat on things that can be done to reduce surf rage (like making artificial waves and more surf breaks).

I personally enjoyed the book. The writing delves deep into analysis and meaning of subtle surfing nuances that only a surfer will truly appreciate (very similar to the kind of dialog that occurs on the alt.surfing newsgroup). Being published in Australia, it is amusingly full of Aussie-speak and spelling, something that this Hawaii boy is not totally familiar with but still enjoyed (seemed to add a bit more authenticity and flavor). Some of the writers are stronger than others, but the overall quality of penmanship is high. The Saltbush incident is like the Mad Max of surfing.

One of the best nuggets in the book was a picture of the “Tribal Laws”, a surfing poster installed at Margaret River, Western Australia. There are good drawings on the poster describing the laws. The words are worth repeating for all surfers, beginners to advanced:

Tribal Law: Surfriders Code of Ethics

  • Right of Way: (1) Furthest out (or waiting longest), (2) Furthest inside (closest to peak), (3) First to feet or on wave, (4) Call: communicate (left or right)
  • Do Not: (1) Drop in, (2) Snake
  • Paddle wide, using rip
  • Caught inside, stay in the whitewater
  • Danger: Do not throw board (in danger of others)
  • Respect the beach, the ocean and others
  • Give respect to gain respect
  • We are very lucky to be surfers--share the water

stickman (guilty of "raging" a few times and not proud of it)

More Reviews
Amazon Books