Book Review: Confessions of a Wave Warrior (Eric Soares)

By JOHN WILDE

If you are the kind of paddler whose interests lie in the dangerous zone between the open sea and the safety of the shore this is the book for you.

Eric Soares has obviously always had an adventurous streak in his character and much of his life has been devoted to pushing himself and his friends to the limits: off beaches, cliff lines and points, mainly along his native coast of California. He has gone on regular jaunts to isolated and exotic spots in far flung places. In order to ride huge waves and paddle the features of steep cliffs and gauntlets, Eric and his crew of ‘Tsunami Rangers’ have developed a lot of their own gear. They have designed their own craft and they have finally settled on a sit-on top vessel, both single and double. Apart from being generally very versatile, these are particularly quick to remount in a capsize, something that Eric and his mates seem to do regularly, which is not surprisingly given the conditions that they love.

Not only does this avoid some of the messy rescues that members of the NSW Sea Kayak Club have on occasion been involved in i.e. removing water from a capsized kayak whilst in surf or gauntlet zones then trying to unite paddler and equipment. Scrambling back onto a sit-on top and paddling yourself back out of the danger zone seems to be a much easier task.

As Eric Soares says himself it is only 0.001 % of the population who will be keen to surf into rocky caves and gulches, regularly damaging delicate fibre glass boats, and calling it fun.

He lists the skills required as being a strong paddler, being able to roll and self rescue, a good long distance rough water swimmer, and possessing a hardy body and mind. Together with a spirit of adventure and the proper mix of curiosity and courage this tiny percentage of paddlers would be fit to be ranked as ‘Tsunami Rangers’.

Further details about the book may be found at www.tsunamirangers.com

Editor’s note: sadly Eric Soares passed away on on February 1, 2012
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