stealing the wave: the epic struggle between ken bradshaw and mark foo


i wandered into dymocks yesterday to pick up some books, and i recognised it as soon as i spied it on the shelf of surf titles. THIS is the book that I have been trying to find for the past few months. Here’s the synopsis I got from the Allen and Unwin site (hint for Anna to order it…please…).

Description : A gripping story of a tragic bitter rivalry between two legends of the surfing world.

It is winter in the mid-eighties and two surfers are battling for supremacy at Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Hawaii, surfing’s spiritual home, where some of the biggest, most awesome waves in the world crash onto the shore. Ken Bradshaw has been around the longest, he’s an old-school surfer, some say, too old. This muscular Texan veteran came to Hawaii in the early 1970s and fast became the island’s hottest surfer. He has a fearsome reputation on the waves and didn’t suffer fools gladly. Anyone who cut him up or got in his way had to deal with Bradshaw’s temper – he was known to take bites out of other surfer’s boards. Then along came the new kid on the block – Mark Foo. An icon of the next generation, this slim, good-looking Chinese American began wowing the crowds with his lightning repertoire of cool moves. Always with an eye for the magazine scoop and commercial endorsement, Foo represented everything Bradshaw hated about modern surfing – its commercialisation and lack of respect for the waves. What was worse was that Foo was good, and on one memorable afternoon in 1979, Foo cut in front of Bradshaw whilst surfing a wave, and a personal and professional feud was born that would ultimately end in tragedy.

Stealing the Wave is not just the story of a legendary sporting rivalry: it goes to the core of what it is to compete. It examines what happens when competitions goes too far and becomes obsessional, portraying a love-hate mix of recklessness, bravado, machismo and stubbornness.

About the Author : Andy Martin is the author of the all-time classic surfing book Walking On Water published in 1990. He is a Fellow in Modern Languages at Cambridge University.


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