SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS.
The author, recovering from an operation to fit him with a titanium hip joint, sets out to catch a tube. This is no London Underground train, but rather that evanescent space, inside the unfolding wave, of which the surfer's dreams are made. The ultimate experience for the surfer is to ride inside a tube as it closes behind them. Most rides last between five and fifteen seconds; the record is thirty. In twelve years of surfing, Iain Gately has never caught a tube, but, before he gets old, he yearns to do so.
The Secret Surfer is an alternative travel book; an exploration of an activity that attracts loners, obsessives and eccentrics; a lyrical evocation of places in Cornwall, Galicia, Portugal, Andalucía, Morocco and Ireland; and a rousing call to all of us not to give up too soon. Gately's quest, whether it ends in triumph or in failure, will offer a similar mixture of introspection and adventure, of a search for self-knowledge and of physical endeavour.