High Surf: The world's most inspiring surfers
Book Review by Captain Paul Watson
Waveriding as a way of life
The ocean as teacher
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Tim Baker is perhaps the best surf writer in the world and his book High Surf is a testament to his incredible insight into the world of surfing. What Baker has done in High Surf is to interview surfers around the world looking for what inspires them, motivates them and shapes their experience into meaningful action in their own lives.
Two of the world's top surfers are Sea Shepherd supporters. Kelly Slater and Dave Rastovich. Kelly is an eight time world champion surfer and considered to be the greatest surfer of all time. He is also the youngest and the oldest world champion surfer in the history of surfing. Dave is the world's leading free surfer and one hell of an activist. Recently he led a team of dolphin defenders to Taiji to confront the Japanese dolphin killers and he designed a surfboard fin that carries the Sea Shepherd pirate logo.
And the book also features an interview with me as I was once a surfer in my own right although remotely removed from the same league as Slater and Rastovich.
But the book is more about the philosophy of surfers than about surfing techniques and competition and in this area both the amateur and the professional surfer have a great deal in common.
In an excerpt from High Surf, Baker writes:
It's his background as a surfer, he says, that allows him to place himself and his crew in such radical situations and maintain composure. "I think what's most important about surfing is it makes you feel comfortable with the ocean," he says. "Just being able to get entangled with a big wave and being wiped out, and not panicking when you don't know top from bottom. It teaches you to let yourself go and not fight it, move with the flow of the water. I think moving with the flow of the water is really a good strategic way of approaching any situation. I've found over the years that I go into situations that have no way out, and miraculously I come out of them... Also I think surfing's the most active form of meditation there is!" ------ Tim Baker interviewing Captain Paul Watson in High Surf
Also interviewed in the book is Peter Singer, the author of Animal Liberation who is also a surfer. And of course there is Tim Baker, a great surfer and the author of the book.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has had a long association with surfers. In 1993 Sea Shepherd activist Peter Brown filmed and produced Blue Rage with Captain Paul Watson working with surfer legends Laird Hamilton and Jerry Lopez to expose and oppose the destructive use of pelagic drift nets. Sea Shepherd has always had close ties with both the surfing and the diving communities.
In his interview with Dave Rastovich, Baker writes:
Tube riding, that much revered peak surfing experience, offers something else which Dave says remains beyond description or definition. "Surfers all talk about time expanding in the tube and marvel at its extraordinary powers to inspire feelings of euphoria and transcendence, an almost sexual ecstasy. It's trippy. I think it's one of those things where it's always that which can't be named. I don't think you could ever find a surfer who could accurately describe a tube ride. What's going on really? It's something that's not of the mind so there's no way the mind can describe it. That's how it feels to me." ------ Tim Baker interviewing Dave Rastovich in High Surf
Dave's love of the ocean has led him to risk his life and freedom to defend the dolphins in Japan and to support efforts to save the world's whales. After all, dolphins, whales and seals are the greatest of all surfers and many a surfer has seen dolphins riding the same waves just off the beach.
High Surf published by Harper Sports
ISBN 978 0 7322 8486 2