A profile of shaper Chris Jones: If you surf sooner or later you’ll end up at Chris Jones’ door. Who else can offer you fifty years of shaping experience? Who else was there at the beginning? CJ, legendary shaper/surfer, rugby fanatic, pasty connoisseur is this morning sanding down a vintage Tiki for restoration.

Quietly considered and eloquent, you might know of Nathan Oldfield through his films 'Lines From A Poem' and 'Seaworthy'. Surf Screen's Christiaan Bailey popped him a few duly thoughtful questions about creative motivations and the surf film industry. Photos: Nathan Oldfield

In early 2008, longtime buddies Billy Hume, Jeff Myers, Joey Carter and Ben McBrien got together for a trip off the beaten track trip in search of waves and adventure. They headed for the icy waters of Alaska... Words: Jeff Myers Photos: Nick LaVecchia

Chris Preston chats to longboard maestro Steve Walden about his disappointment with the lack of recognition for the longboarding scene, what makes the Magic model magic, and working with GSI. Photos: Jamie Bott

When the ‘Apocalypse Now’ film crew packed up and left the Philippine coastal town of Baler, they left one important item behind – a surfboard. More than 30 years on and this quiet backwater is home to a stoked crew of welcoming locals. Words: Mark Sankey Photos: Alexa Poppe

From Gerry Lopez to machine shaping and the retro scene, Tim Stafford chews the fat with UK surf veteran - and mighty leader of the Foam Asylum - Nigel Semmens

Cyrus Sutton made an impression on the international film circuit with his 2003 breakthrough movie 'Riding Waves'. Now the EMMY award-winning documentary maker has turned his attention to the divergent surf scenes of Australia's Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Courtesy of Cyrus Sutton

Chris Preston interviews Sydney's Matt Chojnacki. His surfing may be heavily influenced by the glories of the past, but to tag him as just another retro dude is missing the mark. Words: Chris Preston. Photos: Matt Johnson / thesealife.com.au

This isn't a shameless plug. This is an encounter with a British company doing something special with surfboards. While the industry is focused on the multi-buck movers and shakers parading their eco-wares, let's not forget our homegrown talent. Words: Howard Swanwick Photos: John Morgan and Jamie Bott

During December 1970 and January 1971, my father, my brother Duncan and I designed the first Bonzer. It was the beginning of an amazing journey. Words: Malcolm Campbell. Photos: Miguel Barreira

Hidden away in a Falmouth boatyard among the classic lines of traditional timber ships is an unusual surfboard factory: one in which the boards are finished with wood and natural oils. Here tradition meets modernism. This is Glass Tiger. Words: Mark Sankey Action photos: Kirstin Prisk Other photos & design: Alexa Poppe


Surfing Brilliant Corners


June 22, 2010 | Words By: Howard

surfing_brilliant_corners A book worth reading if you’re looking for a one-man jazz-infused tip-toe along the road of life.


Sam Bleakley breaks the mould. I’ve never met him or spoken to him, but I think I’d like the fella. Sent to us a couple of weeks ago, his new book ‘Surfing Brilliant Corners’ dropped through the internal mail, and landed on my desk at Drift. I don’t know what drew me to the book, but I’ve been reading it over the last few weeks and it’s genuinely interesting.

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. 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.

Unexpectedly he uses his interest in jazz as a vehicle, sometimes a metaphor for surfing and his relationship to it, the title drawing on Thelonious Monk’s 1956 LP ‘Brilliant Corners’. “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.”

I could go on, but I enjoyed it and I think anyone reading Drift probably would too. Some things are best left unspoken, just go get yourself a copy and see what you think.

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2 Comments


  1. Sam is one of the best voices in UK surfing, a talented and considered individual. I can’t wait to read this.

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  2. Surfing Brilliant Corners is a beautifully written book by Cambridge-educated multiple European, British and English longboard surfing champion Sam Bleakley . It follows his surf travels in the last ten years and is accompanied by some stunning photos from top surf photographer John Callahan. It also uses the metaphor of jazz both for surfing and ultimately I guess, life itself.

    It packs in some incredible trips which are well off the beaten track from the likes of Oman and Haiti to to China and Liberia. A great read and a wonderful contribution to the increasingly rich library of literature by British surfers from Andy Martin’s Stealing the Wave and Walking on Water to Tom Anderson’s Riding the Magic Carpet, Grey Skies, Green Waves and Chasing Dean and Alex Wade’s Surf Nation.

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  1. Surfing Brilliant Corners | Sam Bleakley – News 19 08 10
  2. Surfing Brilliant Corners | 24 08 10
  3. Surfing Brilliant Corners reviews | 25 08 10

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