Early in the book, Finnegan examines how the pull of waves is intimately connected to their lethal nature: “Surfing always had this horizon, this fear line, that made it different from other things … Everything out there was disturbingly interlaced with everything else. urfing appears to get you nowhere. Nobody needs to surf. Today, Finnegan’s surfing life is undiminished. Title: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Format: Hardcover Product dimensions: 464 pages, 9.52 X 6.3 X 1.47 in Shipping dimensions: 464 pages, 9.52 X 6.3 X 1.47 in Published: July 21, 2015 Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group Language: English. At that point, surfing changed, and shorter boards and lighter boards made tube rides and shorter-radius turns possible. Often it was a pleasant melancholy. It left Apia at dawn.”, Finnegan’s descriptions of riding waves are filled both with the magical argot of his craft and the clean-hewn simile with which his writing on other subjects is distinguished. After a spell in Australia, he writes: “I felt unmoored from all possible explanations for this trip. You may unsubscribe at any time. It was certainly no longer a vacation. Sign up to get exclusive offers, the best in books & more. Offer valid for new subscribers only.† Conditions apply. Photograph: Ron Dahlquist/Corbis. † Conditions apply. When he finds a job teaching black children in apartheid South Africa, it is the start of another journey: to find the stories in the world with the most power and pull. Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art. The sessions last hours; the rides, seconds. “The big white boulders underneath the water were stationary, or even inching slightly backward. There, McTavish took on the waves with a shorter, more maneuverable board that made him seem able to defy the laws of physics. There, McTavish took on the waves with a shorter, more maneuverable board that made him seem able to defy the laws of physics. You may unsubscribe at any time. We boarded the ship, not sober, at midnight. Surfing was part of the zeitgeist, or the spirit of the age, and many surfers dodged the draft in Vietnam and became antiwar. And yet his wife’s reaction seems to be one of the utmost understanding. The lesson started on cliffs overlooking Cowells Beach, a typical beginners spot with an easy longboard wave. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. For instance, they decide to travel to Tonga, rather than Tahiti, because of a “chance encounter in a waterfront bar with the Australian purser on a freighter bound for Nuku’alofa, the Tongan capital. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. You paddle out, you sprint for a wave, you ride it shorewards … and repeat. This, I know from experience, is not an uncomplicated proposition in a marriage. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Finnegan is particularly good on the aftermath of a great session in the water: “It was physical, this postsurf mood, but it had a distinct emotionality too. Details & Specs. Across the nation, a revolution was occurring in which youth were questioning authority, and surfing had its own kind of uprising.