Surf Rage Book Report
Surf Rage: A Surfer’s Guide to Turning Negatives into
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:
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
(guilty of "raging" a few times and not proud of it)