Portugal has a massive open secret... Follow Matt Button to discover what is going down.

...in the age of the programmable hand. San Diego's Josh Hall explains why he has chosen to tread the well-worn path of hand-shaping, in conversation with Andy Smith. Photos: Garrett Highhouse, T. Colla, Ryan Tatar

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

Flitting between awesome waves at Aileens and Nelscott Reef is all in a week's work for Ireland's big-wave master Al Mennie. Words: Al Mennie Photos: Al Mennie, Gary McCall, Larry Jansky, Richard Hallman

Joe Curren is the surfing equivalent of old growth, his style in the water and behind a lens is deeply rooted, contemplative and quietly powerful. Jair Bortoleto caught up with Joe to talk about family, travel, and shooting analogue in the digital age. Words: Jair Bortoleto Photos: Joe Curren

A worthy addition to European surfing culture, the surfilmfestibal festival attempts to connect the global surfing community through moving picture, art and education. Words: Howard Swanwick. Photos: surfilmfestibal

Drift tracked down Mark Jeremias and Jason Baffa, directors of ‘Singlefin: Yellow’, to talk about their new project, ‘One California Day’, and find out their thoughts on surf culture and tradition from Crescent City to Imperial Beach. Words: Jamie Bott

The alaia has become something of a shining star in recent years. Mark Sankey shares a photo essay of Cornish alaia riders. Photos: Lionel Duffau, taken at Crantock and Bundoran.

Self-confessed board hoarder Chris Preston expounds the delights to be found within his tardis-like garden shed, and explains how he came to favour the quiver approach to surfing. Photos by Jamie Bott [except no.3].

Dreamt up over 20 years ago by Renaud and Thomas Cardinal, two French brothers with a passion for board making, UWL has grown to become one of the biggest factories in Europe, while building a reputation based on performance and quality. Rui Ribeiro talks with Renaud about the past, present and future of UWL...

Follow cameraman Mike Lacey as he takes on Hawaii. An amazing collection of photos from the spiritual home of surfing. www.mikelaceyphotography.co.uk


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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3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  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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