The Voodoo Wave: Inside a Season of Triumph and Tumult at Maverick's

Mark Kreidler, Author
Mark Kreidler. Norton, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-06535-0
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-393-08237-1
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-393-34240-6
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Sports writer and columnist Kreidler narrates the fraught history of the Maverick's Surf Contest through the 2010 season in this uneven read. Located near Half Moon Bay, Calif., the surf point known as Maverick's produces one of the most dangerous and compelling, waves in the world. The legend of Maverick's has drawn big wave riders for decades, producing legendary rides and equally legendary wipeouts. Inevitably, Maverick's has also attracted corporate interest, and the partnership in the late 1990s between Maverick's legend Jeff Clark and entrepreneur Keir Beadling exposed the divide between surfing purists and the increasingly commercialized surf industry. For a book about chasing big waves, this actually has surprisingly few descriptions of actual surfing. Kreidler focuses instead on the rise of Maverick's from an obscure spot on a cold and foggy coast to an essential challenge for all big wave surfers. He also details the increasingly tense relationship between Clark and Beadling as Beadling struggles to make the Maverick's Surf Contest pay. Kreidler's descriptions of the surfers tend toward the generic and abounds with sentences like "He was committed to chasing the biggest waves he could, wherever in the world the search might take him." Yet when the 2010 contest finally takes off, Kreidler deftly communicates the thrill that make surfers risk their lives for little more than the ride itself. Photos. (Sept.)
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