Surf Nation: In Search of the Fast Rights and Hollow Lefts of Britain and Ireland

Surf Nation: In Search of the Fast Rights and Hollow Lefts of Britain and Ireland

We might be lacking the palm trees and the year round sunshine but Britain has more than its fair share of golden sandy beaches and rocky bays with some terrific waves. There aren’t too many opportunities to hit the surf in a pair of shorts. In fact you may have to go out in a wetsuit with gloves, boots and even a hood but there is still some great fun to be had surfing around this craggy island and that’s the subject of Alex Wade’s book Surf Nation.

The book is full of interesting anecdotes and colourful characters to be found in the chilly waters around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Wade travels around the country trying to meet the main players in each local surfing scene. He samples the surf himself and describes where you can expect to find some of the best waves. The people he meets are interesting and they offer candid opinions on what is right and wrong with the sport today. Some are competition regulars, some run businesses associated with their passion and others just love to surf.

Alex Wade is a freelance journalist who lives in Cornwall and he writes a weekly column for The Times. Surf Nation: In Search of the Fast Rights and Hollow Lefts of Britain and Ireland is his first book and it deservedly received great reviews. He is obviously a keen surfer and his passion really comes through in his writing. The book remains accessible though, it is not elitist, and there is even a glossary at the back for people unfamiliar with surfing terms. While this will obviously be of greatest interest to surfers it is a very readable book and could be enjoyed by anyone.

If you’ve ever driven past a bay and been surprised to see a few surfers bobbing up and down in the chilly water then you’ll be even more surprised to find there is a thriving scene in this country. Surfing has been getting more and more popular and while it is not often reported on in the mainstream there are many people living their lives according to the ebb and flow of the sea.

Surfing offers an escape from modern life. It is a way for people to enjoy some of the greatest scenery the country has to offer and get a thrill which you simply cannot find anywhere else. Wade captures the spirit of surfing in this country and he also touches on the tension between the old guard and the people just finding surfing for the first time. There is also an obvious tension between surfing purely for joy and the huge amounts of cash it generates for related businesses.

This is a fascinating insight into a world that few people ever explore and it is very well written. This is an epic surfing trip which can hardly fail to stir up your desire to pick up a board and go off in search of a good session yourself. You can find out a bit more at the official Surf Nation website.