Andy Martin (3 stars)

Stealing The Wave (Bloomsbury)


For a surfer, life’s major battle is mainly between board and wave, body and gravity. But often it’s one surfer against another. In the 1980s the biggest surfing battle was between two men: Mark Foo and Ken Bradshaw. Foo was young, sleek, sophisticated and among the first to understand the commercial possibilities of surfing beyond the beach hut. Bradshaw was resolutely old school, a staunch, immovable force, carved from Texan granite. The pair met head on among the waves of Hawaii, and one of the greatest rivalries the sport has ever known was born.

Andy Martin was more than just a casual observer. Given the intimate, testosterone-charged nature of pro surfing he had access to both men as they vied for supremacy. This book bubbles with passion for the art of catching a wave, and while it’s intrinsically nerdy, it celebrates two incredible, if flawed athletes, who, inevitably, would have been lesser men were it not for the other.

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