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About the Author

Daniel Duane was born in 1967 and is the author of Looking for Mo and Lighting Out: A Vision of California and the Mountains. He lives and surfs in Santa Cruz, California.


Surfing enthusiast Duane quit his unfulfilling retail job in Berkeley, Calif., and moved to Santa Cruz, where he spent the better part of a recent year riding waves, exploring the coastline, researching the history of surfing and befriending and philosophizing with various locals who have arranged their lives around the quest for the perfect wave. The results of these pursuits are recorded here in quietly meditative prose that simultaneously deglamorizes the sport and seeks to imbue it with a kind of metaphysical profundity. Dedicated surfers, Duane discovers, tend to feel a measure of guilt about their willingness to give their favorite pastime precedence over career ambitions and family responsibilities. At the same time, surfing yields unique and valuable opportunities for appreciation of and communication with nature. Duane is clearly anxious to justify an ostensibly hedonistic lifestyle, and his arguments on its behalf are not always convincing, but the deftly rendered observations and epiphanies make his own experience seem decidedly worthwhile. (June)

"Wonderful . . . [Duane is] an ontologist of dudedom, Henry David Thoreau doing aerials on a fiberglass board." --Will Blythe, Esquire "Enthralling. Duane has an honest take on surf culture, seeing both the romance and the irony . . . Best of all are his evocative, compelling observations about nature: fresh and thrilling descriptions of scenery and life on the coast." --David Sheff, Los Angeles Times

Duane's well-received debut, Lighting Out (LJ 3/1/94), told of the author's obsession with rock climbing. Here, he records a year spent on the California coast immersed in the cult of surfing. As much a natural history of Northern California's ocean wildlife‘otters, whales, sea lions, and (inevitably) sharks‘Duane's account is so well written that readers may find themselves shaking their heads during the book's first chapters; this is, after all, heavy treatment for a sport that conjures images of lazy, tow-headed beach bums and their bikinied admirers. Yet Duane neatly justifies the laid-back surfer lifestyle while laying to rest many popular misconceptions. His daily companions include Vince, a math lecturer at a local university who "failed to deliver a final exam once because of a good surf session," and Skinny, who works summers and then spends the rest of the year surfing. "I'd love to get a career going," Skinny levels, "but the problem is...I'm really busy surfing." Almost anti-Gidget in its honest portrayal of an often ascetic lifestyle, this is a fabulously written account that will interest literary athletes and natural history buffs alike. Highly recommended.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"

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