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Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave

di Peter Heller

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928299,534 (3.74)2
With grit, poetry, and humor, Peter Heller, acclaimed author of The Whale Warriors, recounts his remarkable journey of discovery-of surfing, an entirely new challenge; of the ocean's beauty and power; of the strange surf subculture; of love; and, most of all, of how to seek adventure while crafting a meaningful life. Having resolved to master a big-hollow wave-that is, to go from kook (surfese for beginner) to shredder-in a single year, Heller travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico in the company of his girlfriend and the eccentric surfers they meet. Exuberant and fearless, Heller explores the technique and science of surfing the secrets of its culture, and the environmental ravages to the stunning coastline he visits. As Heller plumbs the working of his own heart and finds joy in both love and surfing, he affords listeners vivid insight into this fascinating world, with all of its perils and pleasures, its absurdity and wonder. Exhilarating, entertaining, and moving, Kook is a love story between a man and his surfboard, a man and his girlfriend, a not-so-old man and the sea.… (altro)
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I really enjoy Peter Heller's writing. Earlier this year I read his fiction book The Painter and now this memoir about his adventures in Baja trying to learn how to surf at age 48.

I learned quite a bit about the plight of the oceans, the history of surfing in Southern California and Mexico, and about Heller's own personality. Is there anything particularly amazing about this book? Not really but there are passages that really made me feel like I was out on the water with him. There were scenes from his marriage that illustrate some things that probably everyone can recognize in their own behavior - and those things aren't always nice.

Some of the surfing stuff is too technical for me, even at the end of the book, but this wasn't really about the technicalities of catching waves it was about the lifestyle of the surfers and the wonder and might of the sea.

I have two more of Heller's books (one fiction one non) and I'm sure I'll read them in the coming year. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Quite possibly the best book I could have picked for sitting around for two days on jury duty. It is so easy to get lost in Heller's adventures--I laughed and cried (AWKWARD WHEN IT HAPPENS IN THE JURY WAITING ROOM) throughout the whole thing. There were times I found him quite a bit of a jerkface towards his girlfriend/wife, even more so than the moments he actually acknowledged it, but she was also clearly fine putting up with it. Despite that, I loved all the heroes and asswipes they met along their journey down Mexico's Pacific coast and how he slowly began to pick up on surfing tips. I loved his environmental vignettes, no matter how horrifying they were, and it has certainly piqued my curiosity to learn even more about sea life and what I can do to help (I may have to put my craving for fish on hiatus for a while). It's hard not to find poetry in the ocean, and Heller takes it with gusto. Excuse me while I lose myself in youtube videos of the Mexican Pipeline.... ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This book really nails the brief... keeps the surfing dream alive for all of us that just want to pack up the bags, hit the beach and learn how to surf. ( )
  kenno82 | Jun 25, 2018 |
This is a beautifully told story of the author (and his girlfriend/wife) spending six months learning to surf, mostly in Mexico.

The author paints a vivid picture of each of the places they go and of the people they meet. It reminded me of the books written by Theodore Roosevelt about his adventures in the Bad Lands of Wyoming.

You don't need to be a surfing fanatic to enjoy this book (I'm not). It does help to be a little familiar with the sport and the "lingo". ( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
The back of the book says it all. This is a story of a mid forties man learning about Love. His love for his girlfriend, who becomes his wife, and the changes he needs to make of himself. It is also a love story of the outdoors, in this case a love of the Ocean. Finally it is a story of a man who takes up surfing at this late stage and how it becomes an obsession. WARNING!!! If you love animals especially Whales and Dolphins, then be prepared to become OUTRAGED by what is described in the chapter called THE COVE. I loved this book. ( )
  zmagic69 | Mar 25, 2012 |
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With grit, poetry, and humor, Peter Heller, acclaimed author of The Whale Warriors, recounts his remarkable journey of discovery-of surfing, an entirely new challenge; of the ocean's beauty and power; of the strange surf subculture; of love; and, most of all, of how to seek adventure while crafting a meaningful life. Having resolved to master a big-hollow wave-that is, to go from kook (surfese for beginner) to shredder-in a single year, Heller travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico in the company of his girlfriend and the eccentric surfers they meet. Exuberant and fearless, Heller explores the technique and science of surfing the secrets of its culture, and the environmental ravages to the stunning coastline he visits. As Heller plumbs the working of his own heart and finds joy in both love and surfing, he affords listeners vivid insight into this fascinating world, with all of its perils and pleasures, its absurdity and wonder. Exhilarating, entertaining, and moving, Kook is a love story between a man and his surfboard, a man and his girlfriend, a not-so-old man and the sea.

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