Stealing the Wave by Andy Martin Summary
Like Norman Mailer's The Fight, this gripping page-turner from journalist Andy Martin chronicles a classic duel between two phenomenal and sharply contrasting athletes. In the mid-1980s, Ken Bradshaw and Mark Foo took big-wave surfing's spiritual home, Waimea Bay on Hawaii's legendary North Shore, and turned it into an arena of personal combat. Bradshaw was in pole-position. The muscular, square-jawed Texan already commanded respect through a combination of strength, gritty determination, and infamous temper - he was known to bite chunks out of fellow surfers' boards whenever he felt disrespected in the water. Mark Foo was the new kid on the block, and his polar opposite. The icon of the next generation, openly challenging the old guard, this slim Chinese-American wowed Waimea's winter crowds with his prowess, speed, moves, looks, and thirst for the biggest waves. But Foo's talent for self-marketing was anathema to surfing veterans and purists, and above all to Bradshaw. Foo was driving surfing in a new, commercial direction, while Bradshaw saw himself as the heir and guardian of a great tradition. And then one fine day Foo stole a wave from right under Bradshaw's nose, arousing his wrath, and firing up a feud that would span a decade. Their unforgiving rivalry would ultimately evolve into a grudging mutual admiration which was, however, doomed to end in death on a giant swell at Maverick's, just south of San Francisco, on Christmas Eve of 1994. Stealing the Wave is the intimate history of the conflict between two remarkable men that gets to the heart of what it means to compete, and examines what happens when competition, passion and belief go too far.