Sunday, July 08, 2012

"The Voodoo Wave" by Mark Kreidler

Written by ESPN writer and San Francisco area radio host Mark Kreidler, The Voodoo Wave was an entertaining book on Maverick's in all its forms... an extreme surf spot off the coast of Half Moon Bay, CA, collection of elite surfers who ride its waves and business venture.

Big wave surfing as a subject was very much in line with one of my favorite books from 2010, The Wave by Susan Casey, and while I thought the writing from Casey perhaps a bit more lyrical, Kreidler seems to have put in solid journalist legwork and provides a very interesting read.

The content about the surfing and surfers themselves was pretty riveting and included depictions of Maverick's surfing godfather Jeff Clark who first rode and then made known its waves, Grant Washburn and Chris Bertish. The business end of Maverick's was perhaps equally interesting with the tale of Keir Beadling, CEO of Mavericks Surf Ventures, and his efforts to create a profitable consumer brand out of the intended to be annual big wave surf contest.

While certainly not as inspiring as the surfers themselves, Beadling comes across in the book as a somewhat sympathetic character with his efforts to make a business while working with the dualities provided by the other people involved. As a direct partner with Beadling, there was Jeff Clark himself... who seemed a solid guy, but who wanted to both get paid and run things completely his way. To this end, Kreidler mentions Clark feeling a bit snubbed by the money and accolades accorded some involved in the excellent surfing documentary movie Riding Giants that he was heavily featured in. Additionally, there was the talent provided by the surfers actually competing in the contest, many of whom didn't mind the idea of making a living at it, but were focused on the love of big wave surfing and not necessarily winning (or even competing in if too corporate and not enjoyable) a big wave contest one day a year.

Definitely fascinating topics that Kreidler did a good job of covering both wide and narrow and quoted a few times in the book as someone else that's covered and published about Maverick's was San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins.