It's about life - not "lifestyle"
a surfer's road trip beyond the end of the road
Allan C. Weisbecker
IN SEARCH OF CAPTAIN ZERO, the second novel by Allan Weisbecker, isn't a novel at all. It's a memoir, an account of times past and present to the author which read so wild, insane, historic, criminal, and ridiculous that I had a hard time remembering it's all supposed to be true.

The thing is, anybody who was around as an adult for the 1970's onward will have known enough different people and had enough experiences to believe virtually all of it. Some people just go for a little more than the majority. For those who've read my condemnation of the surf media for having covered up so much of the drug scene of those ears, an enthusiastic endorsement of this book as a "must-read" may seem outwardly like hypocrisy, but it isn't. My personal beef with the surf media on this account has to do with them not acknowledging the drug world at all, with not reporting the actual costs incurred by people who made certain choices - all of which choices were financial when you get right down to it.

Many top surfers and many more who nobody ever heard of have spents years of their lives in jails and prisons, and some have actually lost their lives, over groveling for drug money. You wouldn't have known it from reading the bibles of our little sport.

The costs, however, were quite real then and remain quite real now, although the drugs of choice have changed. The times have grown more hostile than the 70's also.
Captain Zero gives an excellent look at then and now both in the surfing world and the drug smuggling, and consuming, culture. It also looks with a great deal of success at the psychic toll living "the life" can collect. It provides accounts of astounding adventure, appalling stupidity, personal inventory, and surfing. It's a Ripping Yarn from start to finish, entertaining and illuminating, dealing with a real outlaw existence without leaving the reader with guilty envy - something which is hard to pull off.

It's still in hardback at this point, and available at bookstores and through Weisbecker's web site
( A film is going to be made by Sean Penn, which might be ready for the summer of 2003, so you have some time. But don't just wait for the movie - Weisbecker is a good writer and this is a good read.

Nels Norene
Surf Media
Text copyright (C) 2002. All rights reserved.