Author(s): Andy Martin
A gripping story of a tragic bitter rivalry between two legends of the surfing world.
It is winter in the mid-eighties and two surfers are battling for supremacy at Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Hawaii, surfing's spiritual home, where some of the biggest, most awesome waves in the world crash onto the shore.
Ken Bradshaw has been around the longest, he's an old-school surfer, some say, too old. This muscular Texan veteran came to Hawaii in the early 1970s and fast became the island's hottest surfer. He has a fearsome reputation on the waves and didn't suffer fools gladly. Anyone who cut him up or got in his way had to deal with Bradshaw's temper - he was known to take bites out of other surfer's boards.
Then along came the new kid on the block - Mark Foo. An icon of the next generation, this slim, good-looking Chinese American began wowing the crowds with his lightning repertoire of cool moves. Always with an eye for the magazine scoop and commercial endorsement, Foo represented everything Bradshaw hated about modern surfing - its commercialisation and lack of respect for the waves. What was worse was that Foo was good, and on one memorable afternoon in 1979, Foo cut in front of Bradshaw whilst surfing a wave, and a personal and professional feud was born that would ultimately end in tragedy.
Stealing the Wave is not just the story of a legendary sporting rivalry: it goes to the core of what it is to compete. It examines what happens when competitions goes too far and becomes obsessional, portraying a love-hate mix of recklessness, bravado, machismo and stubbornness.
Andy Martin was born in London and teaches in Cambridge and New York. He learned to surf on the west coast of Australia. He is the author of Walking On Water, and has written about God, Napoleon and Brigitte Bardot and reported on surfing for the Independent and The Times.