CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007
In a place where kids take to water like fish and surfing is a way of life, Ben is a poor swimmer and afraid of tackling the waves. His fear stems from his parents’ denigration of the sport and the wisdom of his grandfather’s words – words rendered even more reverent since he passed away the previous spring:
In Lawrencetown Beach, NS, if you’re not a surfer, you’re a nobody. Even Ben’s name is a nobody’s name. It isn’t cool like Genghis, Gorbie and Weed. These guys own the beach and the waves. Ben doesn’t even own a wet suit or a surfboard. School is out for the summer, and Ben’s father has gotten him a job working alongside him at the box-making plant. That isn’t Ben’s idea of an eventful summer; he is determined to teach himself how to surf.
His first nerve-shattering experience leaves him with a bloody nose and a black eye. Oh great! Just what he needs to attract beautiful, graceful surfer Tara. While nursing his swollen nose and ogling the skilled surfers tackling the waves that almost drowned him, Ben meets an aging American surfer whose skills were renowned on the small screen and in print in the 60’s. At 75, Ray Clung has come to the quiet beaches of Nova Scotia in search of one final wave. It is Ray who teaches Ben how to become a “wave warrior,” with enough skill and confidence to compete in the junior men’s division of the mid-summer competition. Even Ray’s Zen teachings extend to losing, something that Ben is convinced he will do: “If you’re gonna lose, lose big-time. Have some fun with it. Show ‘em all you can take it.” And in losing big, Ben makes Ray proud and leaves the spectators laughing.
No one is laughing, however, when a tropical wave hits Lawrencetown Beach Point, and the surfers’ mettle is put to the ultimate test. And Ben is not laughing, either, when he discovers the real reason Ray has come to the Maritimes from Santa Barbara:
This coming-of-age story is condensed into a brief, engaging tale of a 16-year-old boy who challenges himself and comes out a winner. Part of the “Orca Currents” series for reluctant readers, it will appeal to young teens who enjoy stories involving water sports and budding romances. The surfing lingo is prominent here and is a testament to the author who lives and surfs at Lawrencetown Beach in Nova Scotia.
Carole Marion is the Customer Service Manager of the Forest Lawn Branch of Calgary Public Library. Prior to this, she worked as a librarian serving youth and caregivers for over twenty years.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.