It's the golden era of surf writing!
We live in a golden era of surf writing and I think it is impossible to argue otherwise. William Finnegan won a Pulitzer Prize for his surf book Barbarian Days. Matt Warshaw has refined his Encyclopedia of Surfing entries into art. Derek Rielly dances in a delicious, singular literary style so delicious as to taste like dessert. Nick Carroll, seasoned and prolific. James Bickerton, able to turn the most subtle phrase into high-brow laughs. Wiggolly’s Paddling Style, able to turn the most subtle phrase into fine Australian art…
…I could go on all day but my list of golden era surf writers will always end with one of the most important.
The one-time professional surfer loves the craft of writing more than anyone I know. I’ve had the privilege of sitting with him on a few occasions now, talking about writing, talking about writers, talking about style, voice, tone, mashing words together, thoughts… all of it. Jamie is a writer’s writer and his new non-fiction collection Dazzling Blue is some of his finest work to date.
I read it on a PDF on my computer, the worst way to read anything but testament to how good it actually is. Taste this paragraph with me.
Short, bow-legged, blond silky hair and a blond thick moustache, Mickey Rat rode a yellow single fin, awing pintail caked with thick beads of dirty wax. Like many surfers of the era, he drove a van with a mural on the side—a Monument Valley-looking scene with a howling coyote atop a rocky peak. Mickey Rat wore powder blue boardshorts. His shoulders were broad; his upper chest hairy and dotted with freckles. He had a terrific tan. He did not walk from the Malibu parking lot to the top of Third Point, he trotted. If the surf was really good he ran. At water’s edge he set his board down on the sand and went through a quick calisthenics routine—jumping jacks, toe touches, windmill arms, karate kicks. Then he slipped out of his boardshorts, tied ‘em around his neck , strapped on his leash, and paddled out.