Surfing Brilliant Corners

Surfing Brilliant Corners
Launched July 2010
Alison Hodge Publishers

Photographs by J. S. Callahan

View book on Amazon

Tim Kevan

Andy Martin/The Independent

Matthew Branton

Drift Magazine

My first book, Surfing Brilliant Corners, details a decade of extreme global surf travel, illustrated by the exquisite photographs of John Callahan. I journey from the living vodou of Haiti, through vibrant African highlife, to a serene Buddhist oasis in communist China. Amongst other adventures, I look deep into the jet black eye of a surfacing shark in Kenya and face a stacked set of foaming lips during storm surf in South Korea with bemused lifeguards waving me and my companions in from the beach to point out that surfing is banned.

Framing surfing through metaphors of jazz, the book celebrates genius bop pianist Thelonious Monk’s 1950’s album Brilliant Corners. Monk’s album was famed for its outrageous, groundbreaking compositional originality, and I explore how talented surfers think like great jazz musicians, using invention, complex rhythm, timing and spontaneity to turn impossible wave scenarios into beautiful but challenging music.

About Sam Bleakley

I am a freelance writer and professional surfer from Sennen, West Cornwall, in the UK. I specialise in surf exploration projects with renowned surfEXPLORE photographer John Callahan. I have undertaken groundbreaking trips to the likes of Algeria, Liberia, Kenya, Oman, South Korea, Hainan, Palawan and the Maluku Islands. Surf writing has led me to visit sixty countries. My roots, however, remain in Penwith, where I live with my family above Gwenver beach, close to Land's End, the westernmost tip of Britain - next stop Novia Scotia. I have an MA in Geography from Pembroke College, the University of Cambridge, and I am currently researching a part time PhD in Travel Writing with Falmouth University. I am the author of two illustrated surf travel books, Surfing Brilliant Corners and Surfing Tropical Beats (Alison Hodge Publisher, Penzance). I have been a multiple European and British Longboard surfing Champion, and former competitor on the ASP World Longboard Tour. I am widely published and featured in international magazines and newspapers ranging from Resurgence to Action Asia to The Cornishman, and a regular contributor to The Surfer's Path. I have studied and taught travel writing courses and guest lecture on aspects of surfing, travel, writing and geogrphy in further and higher education. I edited The Surfing Tribe: a history of surfing in Britain, and have edited Longboarding supplements and specials for Carve and Wavelength magazines. My first book, Surfing Brilliant Corners, details a decade of extreme global surf travel, illustrated by John Callahan. Surfing, jazz, geography, ecology and cultural studies mix as I journey to Mauritania, locked in political strife, where landmines litter access to some of the best waves on the planet; and Haiti, which captures my heart and makes it race as if falling in love. My second book, Surfing Tropical Beats, follows our surfEXPLORE team on a rollercoaster ride from Haiti to Gabon, through Algeria, India, Vietnam, China and back to Haiti.
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