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.'
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 widely published and featured in international magazines, including Resurgence 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.
You can read an interview with Sam in Drift Surfing, and watch a video in The Independent, or find out more about him on his website.
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 tropicalpix.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!