Believe it or not, in Britain and Ireland on the Atlantic, North Sea and English Channel coastline, there is a surf culture as embedded as that of Hawaii, California, South Africa and Australia.
Not only is there a rich and vibrant surfing history, but now people are flocking to the sport in record numbers, often defying the unforgiving British climate to make the best of what can be some world-class waves. The UK might be on the fringe of Europe, but it’s a credible Surf Nation.
But is it all just surf dudes in VW camper vans heading down for a week’s hell-raising in Newquay? Or is the sport attracting a wider range of addicts, often eschewing the established beaches in pursuit of a more solitary, and sometimes more dangerous, goal…
In Surf Nation, Alex Wade travels the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland from Cornwall to Porthcawl, Sligo to Jersey, all the way to the Orkney and Shetland Isles to take the pulse of these islands’ surfing credentials.
He finds a growing army of devotees as well as some stunning locations. A witty, engaging and superbly written mix of travelogue, reportage and guide to where to find the best breaks, Surf Nation reveals Britain and Ireland to be not just a growing hotbed of surfers but a surf destination of real credibility.
The book is a brilliantly evocative and comprehensive look at our growing love affair with surfing — not just who’s doing it and what makes them tick, but where the best waves are to be found in the Britain and Ireland.
As a freelance journalist Alex Wade contributes to The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and a host of other newspapers and magazines. He writes a weekly column on law, as well as an eclectic daily blog on surfing, for www.timesonline.co.uk. Alex contributes regularly to Huck magazine on surfing, Flush magazine on poker and the Independent on Sunday on travel. Alex lives in the far west in Cornwall, where he pursues a lifelong passion for the ocean and is currently teaching his kids how to surf.