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Stealing the Wave

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Touching the Void takes to the water as two rivals fight to the end Published to great interest and praise A surfing classic

About the Author

Andy Martin was born in London and teaches in Cambridge and New York. He learned to surf on the west coast of Australia. He is the author of Walking on Water, and has written about God, Napoleon and Brigitte Bardot and reported on surfing for the Independent and The Times.


In a tale set mainly in the Hawaiian Islands, London-born Martin (Walking on Water) narrates the decade-long conflict between two of the world's best known "big wave" surfers: Ken Bradshaw and Mark Foo. A large, irascible Texan, Bradshaw considered himself lord of Oahu's Waimea Bay in the 1980s and had a habit of biting chunks out of the boards of any surfers who dared to trespass on his domain. While Bradshaw was an old-school purist, the younger, Chinese-American Foo was alive to surfing's commercial potential and had a feel for the spotlight. The rivalry endured through one board-chomping and numerous monster waves. Yet as media attention and technological advances such as Jet Skis raised the stakes in big-wave surfing, the two men developed a grudging respect for one another. Their budding partnership was cut short in 1994, however, when Foo drowned while surfing with Bradshaw at Maverick's, south of San Francisco. A scene insider and surfing journalist, Martin knew both men well and is at his best writing about the lure of the waves. In the end, Martin tells a gripping story of not only the intrapersonal competition between the two men but the real struggle each faced against the ocean. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'A classic tale of sporting rivalry' Observer 'The tales are gripping, Foo's vainglorious final expedition among them. Surfing emerges as a dangerous, solitary and potential fatal obsession' Daily Telegraph 'Martin brilliantly utilises the conflict between an old-school Texan and a cocky young Chinese-American to explore everything from the commercialisation of pro-surfing to a foolproof strategy for seducing Brazilian women' Arena 'Martin's fluid prose perfectly befits his subject ... sweeps the reader along like one of the awesome incoming walls of water at Waimea Bay ... a fascinating glimpse into obsession' Independent

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