“Walking on Water” by Andy Martin

Ever since Roger Cox @outdoorscots introduced me to Andy Martin’s @andymartinink books by donating “Stealing the Wave” (2007) to the Sea Library, I HAD to find and buy and add to the shelves Martin’s “Walking on Water” from 1991 too. They have arrived with a splash…

This book is about waves. It is the story of an obsession, a journey through heaven and hell, the clumsy initiation of an outsider, the author himself, into a cult and a culture. It is also an oblique history of the world, a human comedy on waves, that will find an echo in anyone who has fallen prey to the spell of the ocean. Surfing is less a sport than a state of mind, an adventure in mythology, a religion with its own high priests and ritual sacrifices.

The North Shore on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is a strip of beach and a microcosmos of the world: the adobe of terror and ecstasy, innocence and experience, a mecca and coliseum for surfers. Andy Martin, Cambridge don and would-be waterman, joins the surreal afficionados of a sport that is also a religion, a compound of myth, miracle and masochism, with its high priests and ritual sacrifices.

I bought paperback and hardback copies for the Sea Library, because I wanted to have both beautiful covers here. Walking on Water by Andy Martin is published in hardback by John Murray in 1991 and in paperback by Minerva in 1992.

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