Surfing Brilliant Corners

Sam Bleakley, pho­tos by John Cal­la­han

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners cov­er

Surfing Brilliant Corners cover image

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners book pages

Surfing Brilliant Corners book pages image

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners: S Korea © <span class=

Surfing Brilliant Corners: Sam Bleakley © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners: Maur­it­ania © <span class=

Surfing Brilliant Corners: Mauritania © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners: Bar­ba­dos © <span class=

Surfing Brilliant Corners: Barbados © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners: Haiti © <span class=

Surfing Brilliant Corners: Haiti © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners: Phil­ip­pines © <span class=“caps”>JS</span> Cal­la­han

Surfing Brilliant Corners: Philippines © JS Callahan photo

Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners details a dec­ade of extreme glob­al surf travel by pro­fes­sion­al long­boarder Sam Bleakley, illus­trated with stun­ning pho­to­graphs by John Cal­la­han. It takes surf­ing bey­ond the waves and pack­aged surf tour­ism to a wider sense of place and cul­tur­al iden­tity. Sam travels from his birth­place in West Corn­wall to Indone­sia and the Phil­ip­pines; through vibrant West Afric­an high­life in Ghana, to war-dam­aged Liber­ia; to Maur­it­ania, where land­mines lit­ter access to some of the best waves on the plan­et; to a serene Buddhist oas­is in Com­mun­ist China; to Ecuador, Oman and Haiti, whose com­plex cul­ture seeps into his psyche and cap­tures his heart. He looks deep into the jet-black eye of a sur­fa­cing shark in Kenya, and faces a stacked set of foam­ing lips dur­ing typhoon surf in South Korea.

Cel­eb­rat­ing Thel­o­ni­ous Monk’s 1950s album Bril­liant Corners, Sam explores how, like great jazz musi­cians, tal­en­ted surfers use inven­tion, com­plex rhythm, tim­ing and spon­taneity to turn impossible waves into beau­ti­ful and chal­len­ging music. ‘Surf­ing,’ he says, ‘has opened me up, split my skin, widened my hori­zons, and closed me down, because any obses­sion restricts your involve­ment in oth­er aspects of life.’

You can use Google Book Search to look inside this book here.

Sam Bleakley is a writer and pro­fes­sion­al surfer. He has been a mul­tiple European, Brit­ish and Eng­lish Long­board Surf­ing Cham­pi­on, and a reg­u­lar com­pet­it­or on the Oxbow World Long­board Tour. He has an MA in Geo­graphy from Pem­broke Col­lege, Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge. He is author of  Surf­ing Trop­ical Beats, and is widely pub­lished and fea­tured in inter­na­tion­al magazines, includ­ing Resur­gence, Action Asia and The Surfer’s Path, and has con­trib­uted to numer­ous surf and travel books, as well as edit­ing The Surf­ing Tribe: A His­tory of Surf­ing in Bri­tain.

John Cal­la­han is one of the most widely pub­lished surf­ing pho­to­graph­ers in the world. Raised in Hawaii and based in Singa­pore, he has a BA in Design from the Col­lege of Fine Arts, UCLA in Los Angeles. After work­ing for icon­ic Amer­ic­an magazines Surf­ing and Surfer, John went freel­ance and has pro­duced ground­break­ing pho­to­graph­ic edit­or­i­al pro­jects on unex­plored waters and per­il­ous coasts. He is Com­pany Dir­ect­or of trop​ic​alpix​.com.

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 Set­ting the Pace
  • 2 Haitian Fight Song
  • 3 The Birth of Cool
  • 4 No Brains, No Head­aches
  • 5 Tak­ing the Tube to Work
  • 6 Manila Dawn
  • 7 Stay­ing Tuned in Kenya
  • 8 Panamania
  • 9 Buddha on Board
  • 10 Con­front­ing the Kim­chi
  • 11 Desert Blues
  • 12 Surf­ing Away from a Sink­ing Ship
  • 13 West Afric­an High Life… Let Free­dom Ring
  • 14 Kick-out Coda

ISBN: 9780906720806
1st edi­tion
192 pages
110 col­our pho­to­graphs
220 x 170mm
Dis­trib­uted in Aus­tralia and New Zea­l­and by Wood­slane.

a beau­ti­fully writ­ten book … accom­pan­ied by some stun­ning pho­tos … packs in some incred­ible trips which are well off the beaten track … A great read and a won­der­ful con­tri­bu­tion to the increas­ingly rich lib­rary of lit­er­at­ure by Brit­ish surfers’ (Tim Kevan, The Bar­ris­ter Blog, 29.06.10. You can read the full review here.)

A book worth read­ing if you’re look­ing for a one-man jazz-infused tip-toe along the road of life. … Sam simply shares his past, his present and his fre­quen­cies with us, which is worth shar­ing. He’s well trav­elled, a Cam­bridge alumni, and speaks with soft tones.’ (Drift, 22.06.10. You can read the full review here.)

a jazz-inspired song of surf­ing…
‘Bleakley argues per­suas­ively that surf­ing, and there­fore life gen­er­ally, con­sists of impart­ing some new syn­co­pated swerve to an old stand­ard and impro­vising amid the mael­strom, “between chaos and con­trol”.’ (Andy Mar­tin, The Inde­pend­ent, 09.07.10. You can read the full review here.)

un piace­volissimo mix di surf-report, avven­tura (quella in cui qual­cosa va neces­sar­i­a­mente storto) e raffinata let­ter­atura di viaggio, resa palp­abile dalle imma­gini di Cal­la­han.’ (SurfNews, June 2010)

Bleakley is part of a grow­ing group of cre­at­ive writers determ­ined to push the bound­ar­ies … “and write with a jazz tim­ing that cap­tures the essence of travel and sports … and enable a wider read­er­ship to take surf­ing and surf travel more ser­i­ously.” …
Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners is unlike any­thing else in the surf writ­ing genre – and all the bet­ter for it.’ (Corn­wall Today, August 2010)

Sam is a cut above when it comes to travel writ­ing … he has made a name for him­self in all the best surf­ing pub­lic­a­tions world wide. … the insights into some of the more remote quad­rants of the surf­ing world are inspir­a­tion­al … The pho­tos are excel­lent, the words per­fect’ (Wavelength, 194, August 2010)

a highly enter­tain­ing surf-travel book … Writ­ten with the same eleg­ance with which he rides a board.’ (The Cornish­man, 29.07.10. You can read the full review here.)

It’s a vibrant col­lec­tion of writ­ing you’ll want to spend time with, one you can really sink your teeth into and get your brain work­ing. And John Callahan’s pho­tos are fant­ast­ic as always – cul­ture and surf.
‘The road less trav­elled is nev­er easy, but can be extremely reward­ing. With Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners, it’s a pleas­ure to have a sol­id gold dose of surf­ing lit­er­at­ure from some of the world’s waverid­ing fron­ti­ers.’ (Pacific Long­boarder, 15 August 2010. You can read the full review here.)

Book greeted by excel­lent sales and superb reviews’ (Glob­al Surf News, 05.08.10).

Um amor incon­di­cion­al pelo surf, pelo mundo e pela grande aven­tura humana.
‘As imagens deslum­brantes de John Cal­la­han fornecem o apelo visu­al ideal para ilus­trar as palav­ras de Bleakley, neste que é um dos grandes liv­ros de surf atu­al­mente disponí­veis no mer­cado.’ (Surf Por­tugal, Agosto 2010)

There’s rhythm and fun… Bleakley has, in the surf­ing genre and bey­ond, rare writ­ing skills and sens­it­ive powers of obser­va­tion. He also has pas­sion and a dex­ter­ous ima­gin­a­tion.’ (The Surfer’s Path, Septem­ber 2010)

it is Bleakley’s lyr­ic­al styl­ings that set the tone, col­oured by John Callahan’s pho­to­graphy that fleshes out the life­style entailed in the search for waves in the planet’s fur­thest-flung corners.’ (Action Asia, September/​October 2010)

Ever respect­ful and humbled by the places he vis­its, the people he meets and the breaks he surfs, this is an inspir­ing travel journ­al… . Stir in bold and expans­ive pho­to­graphy by JS Cal­la­han and you’ve got your­self a win­ner.’ (Cool­er, Octo­ber 2010)

an atyp­ic­al surf book delving into the deep­er mean­ing of surf travel and its path to self-dis­cov­ery’ (Surf Caribe, Octo­ber 2010)

Sam Bleakley has con­ver­ted 10 years of world trav­el­ing into 190 pages of lyr­ic­al anec­dotes and vivid pho­to­graphs by J.S. Cal­la­han’ (Surfer Magazine, Novem­ber 2010)

the pages con­jure up a life­style far removed from that of your aver­age week­end surfer, and show how, when you are lucky enough to be as tal­en­ted as the author, the sport can take you places you had nev­er dreamed of vis­it­ing. …
‘The pho­to­graphs by John Cal­la­han are, simply, gor­geous. In full col­our, they bring far-flung corners of the world and its people vividly to life. ’ (Tav­is­tock Times Gaz­ette, 04.11.10)

sizz­ling pho­to­graphy … Bleakley’s a thought­ful, extremely well traveled chron­icler, and Corners is a fine intro­duc­tion to his world.’ (The Surfer’s Journ­al, vol 19, no. 6, 2010)

voll geladen mit inspir­i­er­enden Geschicht­en und traum­haften Fotos. Sam blickt in sein­en Geschicht­en hinter den typis­chen Surf-Tour­is­mus und zeigt faszini­er­ende Menschen, Kul­turen und Aben­teuer, bringt ein­en aber durch seine krit­ische Sicht auf die Dinge auch immer wieder selbst zum Nachden­ken. Für jeden Wel­ten­bummler eine Pflichtlektüre!’ (Surfers, August/​September 2010)

This book is not the norm… there is poetry and there is earn­est­ness. The divide between  pho­to­graphy and journ­al­ism, just got smal­ler… it was a serendip­it­ous dis­cov­ery indeed.’ (Spin­al Surfer blog, 24.11.10. You can read the whole review here.)

an out­stand­ing book… loads of long­board­ing pho­tos in amaz­ing surf spots… a great read.’ (Aus­trali­an Long­board­ing, no. 72, November/​December 2010)

A col­our­ful glossy col­lec­tion of a decade’s worth of the glob­al surf adven­tures (to some of the world’s most off­beat des­tin­a­tions) under­taken by the surfer/​shooter team of Sam Bleakley and John S. Cal­la­han.’ (Slide, no. 17, Janu­ary 2011)

O liv­ro Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners, escrito pelo long­boarder profis­sion­al Sam Bleakley e ilus­trado com fotos de John Cal­la­han, relata via­gens aos can­tos mais remo­tos do plan­eta em busca de ondas per­feitas.’ (Hard­core, Mar 2011)

Red Group Retail, a lead­ing books, sta­tion­ery and enter­tain­ment retail­er in Aus­tralia, New Zea­l­and and Singa­pore, chose Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners for spe­cial pro­mo­tion in its 2010 Christ­mas cata­logue.

John Callahan’s pho­to­graphy is so breath­tak­ing it makes you want to vis­it the rich places fea­tured…  an incred­ible jour­ney…  The descrip­tions of place and people make you feel right there, in the moment. This is a must for any­one keen on travel writ­ing…’ (SurfTravel­Books, 09.04.12)

immers­ing him­self in the rel­ev­ant cul­tures, … weav­ing them all into the writ­ten mix. … he’s found an unlikely muse — 1950’s jazz — Surf­ing Bril­liant Corners, the title is adap­ted from a 1957 album by Thel­o­ni­ous Monk, fea­tures reg­u­lar jazz ref­er­ences. … through essays with titles such as Haitian Fight Song, Manila Dawn, West Afric­an High­life, and the Birth of Cool.’ (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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