Follow Alexandra Gossink as she uncovers the true Morocco. www.ilovetheseaside.com Photo credits: Geert-Jan Middelkoop, Martijn Lansdaal & Alexandra Gossink

The annual Fish Fry on Australia's Gold Coast gives shapers a non-commercial, non-competitive opportunity to come together and share ideas in a shameless celebration of the fabulous fish. Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Jamie Bott

James Bowden kissed goodbye to Blighty and set off for Tasmania's wild in January this year. He shares some of his findings along the way with his own distinctive style.

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

Mat Arney hooks up with some old friends to go feral on the Arabian Peninsula and hunt down some truly isolated swell. Words & photos: Mat Arney

Mark Leary's latest work deviates sharply from the usual surf photography portfolio, celebrating as it does the commonplace, everyday aspects of surfing instead of monster swells and awesome barrels. Chris Preston chats to him about moments captured.

Mark Sankey discusses the merits and faults of EPS with two of Britain's finest craftsmen, Mark Dickinson and Rob Lion, both of whom have been shaping the stuff with style for a good few years now... [photos by Ollie Banks]

When his career as a pro surfer was ended by cancer, Richie Lovett forged a new career in the manufacturing industry. Now he's singing the praises of machine-shaping technology. Words: Chris Preston Photos: Jamie Bott

Sean Mattison has a reputation as a designer, a coach, and a businessman. His competitive experience, retail background and knowledge acquired from testing hundreds of surfboards made him one of the most versatile surfers in California. Words: Rui Ribeiro.

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...

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].


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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