Surfing Tropical Beats

Sam Bleakley, pho­tos by John Cal­la­han

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats cov­er

Surfing Tropical Beats cover image

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats book pages

Surfing Tropical Beats book pages image

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 1

Surfing Tropical Beats Haiti © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 2

Surfing Tropical Beats Haiti © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 3

Surfing Tropical Beats Haiti © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 4

Surfing Tropical Beats Haiti © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 5

Surfing Tropical Beats ©-JS-Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 6

Surfing Tropical Beats Vietnam © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats 7

Surfing Tropical Beats Hainan China © JS Callahan photo

In this much anti­cip­ated sequel to Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners, Sam Bleakley and the surf­EX­PLORE team take us on a roller­coast­er ride through Gabon, India, Viet­nam, Alger­ia, China and Haiti, drum­ming up a trop­ic­al beat. Com­bin­ing ‘Deep Travel’, John Callahan’s incred­ible pho­to­graphy and Sam’s per­form­ance writ­ing, they cap­ture the spir­it of these tur­bu­lent coast­s­capes, blood racing, run­ning on salt­water fuel. The wide belt around the Equat­or – the trop­ics – has become an allur­ing path for travel, but a region often steeped in war and envir­on­ment­al dis­asters. Sam and surf­EX­PLORE go off the reg­u­lar route, carving a niche, col­lab­or­at­ing with loc­als, doc­u­ment­ing the occa­sion poet­ic­ally and with pre­ci­sion. Where ‘waves trans­form from green glass to white foam, the surf­board is the frozen double of that trans­ition – a rain­bow bridge that allows you to step in the blink of an eye from iner­tia to adren­aline-fuelled ecstasy to the fear of the water-wrest­ling hold-down.’ The para­dox­ic­al red hot and cool blue of surf­ing, and the often icy logic of pre­par­a­tion for chal­len­ging travel, form a mat­rix from which springs a dis­tinct­ive kind of writ­ing as per­form­ance. By turns, surf­EX­PLORE gath­er their wits at the cross­roads where ‘lov­ers part and souls get taken by the lost high­way, lured down the wrong route.’

Sam Bleakley is a pro­fes­sion­al surfer, writer and explorer. He has been a mul­tiple European, Brit­ish and Eng­lish long­board surf­ing cham­pi­on, and is sponsored by Bio­mi­met­ics Health Indus­tries UK. He has an MA in Geo­graphy from Pem­broke Col­lege, Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge and is cur­rently research­ing a PhD in Travel Writ­ing at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Fal­mouth. He is author of Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners, and is widely pub­lished and fea­tured in inter­na­tion­al magazines, includ­ing The Surfer’s Path, Wend, SurfNews and Pacific Long­boarder. Sam lives with his fam­ily above Gwen­ver Beach, Sennen, Corn­wall.

John Cal­la­han is a freel­ance adven­ture pho­to­graph­er, cel­eb­rated for his vivid fram­ing, vibrant col­ours and flair for cap­tur­ing the char­ac­ter of coast­s­capes. He is one of the most widely pub­lished surf­ing pho­to­graph­ers in the world. His images appear reg­u­larly in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Adven­ture, Lonely Plan­et Magazine, and Surf Trip Journ­al Japan. John lives in the trop­ic­al city-state of Singa­pore, and is the pho­to­grapher for Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners.

Sam and John have a com­bined work eth­ic that eclipses any sense that surf travel is an easy liv­ing. When they go to work, they go to work!

  • 1 surf­EX­PLORE
  • 2 Get­ting Trac­tion in Haiti
  • 3 Gabon to the Point
  • 4 India Mul­tikulti
  • 5 Viet­nam Hot and Cool
  • 6 Alger­ia Under the Rain­bow
  • 7 China Cat Sun­flower
  • 8 Haiti Post Quake
  • 9 Haiti Apo­ca­lypso
  • 10 Infu­sion Surf­ing
ISBN: 9780906720851
1st edi­tion
192 pages
143 col­our pho­to­graphs
220 x 170mm
Dis­trib­uted in Aus­tralia and New Zea­l­and by Wood­slane. Man­dar­in-lan­guage edi­tion (see below) pub­lished in China by Hain­an Pub­lish­ing House, Haikou, ISBN  9787544340298

Surfing Tropical Beats Chinese edition front cover image

Best yet in Surf Travel Writ­ing
… a vivid sense of place, …  a refresh­ing and word-class style of con­tem­por­ary travel writ­ing. Surf­ing is the lens to explore, but the heart of the story is people and place in areas usu­ally rep­res­en­ted as dis­aster zones. I have recently read books about Haiti, and none seem to cap­ture the energy evoked in Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats. …  should appeal to all read­ers inter­ested in adven­ture, travel and explor­a­tion.’ (SurfTravel­Books, 09.04.12)

incred­ible pho­to­graphy’ (Carve Surf­ing Magazine, issue 132, 12.04.12)

Alger­ia in par­tic­u­lar is a real eye-open­er.’ (Wavelength Surf Magazine, on their ‘Most Wanted’ page, issue 214, 05.12)

a really incred­ible new book… It’s about travel, it’s about the envir­on­ment and it’s most def­in­itely about waves. But above all it’s about the human con­di­tion and in par­tic­u­lar how the jour­neys to the highest moun­tains (or in this case the remotest waves) always take you through the deep­est val­leys. … A fant­ast­ic book which jour­neys into the heart of dark­ness where the music, the waves and above all the people give us hope.’ (Tim Kevan, The Bar­ris­ter Blog, 02–05-12)

… lots of shots of Holly Beck and Bay­bay Niu, so def­in­itely some surf girl style too.’ (Surf Girl, issue 37, June 2012)

En inglés, con fotos y reportajes sobre los remo­tos enclaves sur­fer­os… Com­bin­ando explora­ción con aven­tura al ritmo trop­ic­al.’ (3Sesenta, no. 156, June 2012)

Im SURFERS haben wir ja schon viele ihr­er immer wieder ungewöhn­lichen Reise­berichte ver­öf­fent­licht, und wer sie gelesen hat, weiß, dass es hier um mehr geht als nur ums Surfern selbst. Für jeden Reise-Freak unter euch ist dies mit Sich­er­heit eine spannende Lektüre!’ (Surfers, issue no. 90, June 2012)

Sam Bleakley has once again teamed up with John Cal­la­han, taker of really quite awe­some pho­to­graphs. … [They] got stuck into some “deep travel” … with their route read­ing a little like a war/​environmental dis­aster correspondent’s to do list. The res­ult is an authen­t­ic account of some of the less fabled new fron­ti­ers in surf travel. Def­in­itely a recom­men­ded read.’ (Cool­er, issue no. 37, June/​July 2012)

Though surf­ing is the vehicle, they are more than idle pas­sen­gers, ser­i­ous about get­ting under the skin of places… read Bleakley’s text for a dense, philo­soph­ic­al delving into the nature of what they do, or skim through to oggle John Callahan’s surf and travel pho­to­graphy. Both jour­neys are worth mak­ing.’ (Action Asia, May/​June 2012)

One … travel writer worth seek­ing out for some rather left­field angles would be the surf writer Sam Bleakley. He’s done two books of sort of surf-jazz-travel essays, which are excel­lent, and he has a very inter­est­ing styl­ist­ic approach …  They come with pretty fine pho­tos too…’ (Tim Han­nigan, Response to Alis­on Flood, Guard­i­an, 10.08.12)

O jor­nalista Sam Bleakley lançou o liv­ro Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats, com o regis­tro de surftrips que fez em lugares exóti­cos, como Gabão, Haiti e Viet­nã. As fotos foram tira­das por John Cal­la­han.’ (Hard­core Brasil, issue 275, August 2012)

Sam Bleakley is a unique char­ac­ter in the surf world… Surf­ing Trop­ic­al Beats is his second com­pen­di­um of travel writ­ing… it’s not just about the search for waves in coun­tries like Haiti, Alger­ia, Gabon, China and Viet­nam. It is also a med­it­a­tion on “oth­er­ness” and what can be learned from it. Sam’s key writ­ing motif is jazz and surf­ing as inter­change­able forms of expres­sion, the wave dance mir­ror­ing the spon­taneity of free­form jazz… to any­one inter­ested in a wide-angle view of the surf world, and espe­cially its col­our­ful mar­gins, this book offers real food for thought and pages of inspir­a­tion.’ (The Surfer’s Path, Issue 93, Nov/​Dec 2012)

former Euro and UK cham­pi­on long­boarder Sam is a highly tal­en­ted writer… whose travels are pho­to­graphed superbly by Singa­pore-based John Cal­la­han … In this book the group [surf­EX­PLORE] returns to places vis­ited in the last one – Haiti and China – and makes start­ling dis­cov­er­ies in new places like Gabon and Alger­ia. Their adven­tures in these places, so far removed from stand­ard surf travel loc­ales, make great read­ing. … it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.’ (Pacific Long­boarder, vol. 16, no. 2, 2012)

ten essays that show the qual­it­ies of a matur­ing writer.’ (Swell­net, 06.11.12)

John Cal­la­han est là pour pren­dre des pho­tos, avec une approche con­cep­tuelle. Son objec­tif est de cristal­liser la vie humaine, le vil­lage, les pêch­eurs… Sam Bleakley… est là pour capter ces petites choses de l’atmosphère et de l’ambiance, elles peuvent être eth­niques, eth­no­graph­iques, environ­nementales, etc. Nous pub­li­ons ses textes à tra­vers des livres (Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners et Surf­ing Trop­ical Beats)’ (L’Equipe adren­aline, 2015). Read the full art­icle here.


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