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Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave Paperback – Jul 13 2010


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Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave + Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea + Fit to Surf: The Surfer's Guide to Strength and Conditioning
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (July 13 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743294203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294201
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CoastalBCSurfer on Nov. 2 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved this book from the moment I picked it up! If you're a person who loves the ocean, the coast, or if you're a surfer... you'll love this book. Reading it actually made me reflect on my life and the "lack" of adventure I incorporate into my daily life. Being a surfer of two years (meaning I'm still learning and falling in love with it everyday) this book perfectly described certain moments that I really think only true surfers can appreciate... the magical moments when you are out on the water. I could tell Peter was writing straight from experience and truly from his heart and as I continued reading on I found myself smiling as I thought of similar experiences I too have gone through.

If this book doesn't inspire you to quit your job, buy a crappy station wagon, and travel the coast looking for the perfect way... nothing will.

I give it 5 stars, and as for the "other review" stating it was overly desciptive, I think perhaps you could just not compare because you have never had such immense passion for such an activity... sitting out in the water waiting for a set to roll in may sound boring... but it can be one of the most peaceful and beautiful moments of your entire life.

Enjoy the book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. LeBlond on Sept. 27 2010
Format: Paperback
Kook was a fun and enjoyable read and I am definitely happy I picked it up. It kept me entertained, and although sometimes I found that the author's writing style got a little overly descriptive for nothing, I would definitely recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 71 reviews
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Still a Kook Aug. 4 2010
By Soul Rebel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In some ways, I feel that Peter Heller is still a kook. You would think that someone who started surfing in his late forties would show a little more respect for art. Early in the book, he wrote that the California surf culture doesn't have the Aloha spirit that has stereotyped surfing for decades. He described it as more of a testosterone fueled aggressive sport. The problem is that he didn't take the time to appreciate the diversity in surfers, locations and overall attitudes. I have surfed in Southern California for 16 years and can say that although there are the aggressive competitive beaches and surfers, there are plenty of generous life loving surfers who have adopted the overall aloha lifestyle. The thing that really bothered me was an incident in which he kooked out and ran into a young girl whose father was teaching her to surf. Rather than apologize for damaging her board, he got into a pissing contest with the dad . . . in front of the girl. Although he realized that he was wrong, he never acknowledged it to the father or the girl. He seems to be the guy that he despises . . . another yuppie trying to steal an identity and understanding that in truth, takes years to develop.

That being said . . . it was a good read and interesting story.
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Readable, entertaining, not just for 'kooks'. July 25 2010
By C. Solares - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is my first review ever, and I'm only writing it because there were none, so I figured it would be helpful to prospective purchasers to have something here other then professional reviews.

I'll start by saying this book is an easy read, entertaining and well worth the price of admission, even to non-surfers. Heller, as a self desribed kook (or beginner), takes us slowly into surfing culture and lingo at a pace where we can easily understand certain aspects of surfing without actually being a surfer. There is a good feel for the complexity and commitment that it takes to become proficient at surfing and I thought the author was able to get the emotions and spirituality of the surfing experience across to a wider audience. As a surfing lifestyle book, I think it is a sucess.

The other themes of the book are secondary: Ocean Conservation and Relationships. It is obvious Heller's passion is the ocean and there is a conservationist message sprinkled throughout that is mostly well integrated, but at times seemed a bit forced. If you are a right wing ultra conservative (or Japanese) you may find the message off putting, but if you fall into that camp you probably wouldn't be out surfing or reading this book.

The only reason I didn't give the book a full five stars is because I wasn't convinced Heller learned the relationship advice he was giving himself as he grew throughout the book. Towards the end of the book, he doesn't seem to be any more understanding of his girlfriend/wife's difficulties, and even if he understands, he doesn't seem to actually *do* anything about it, he just goes surfing and leaves her behind or whines about having to wait for her, even though he knows its selfish. As a relationship book, I think this fails. Heller seems proud of the fact that he finally realizes he is being a selfish jerk, but he doesn't seem to improve his behaiviour. Why?

Finally, it seems towards the end of his book he has become good at surfing, but bad at having a good surfing attitude. He seems to have become the guy he complains about in the beginning of the book, snaking (stealing) waves from lesser surfers and acting out aggressively at the slightest provocation. I may have gotten this wrong since towards the last few chapters Heller is no longer surfing 'beginner' waves and the opportunity to be polite to kooks doesn't present itself as often, but if his self described behaviour in his last true beginner's wave ('Old Man's' in Cabo or Acapulquito) is any indication, his attitude has become one where his superiority allows him to break the rules of courtesy he had such a hard time learning in the first few chapters.

I may be overly sensitive to the subject since I was just there (Acapulquito) last week: There was a gringo in a longboard that kept paddling around me to the peak, when it was obviuos it was my wave. Several times. Then he did it several times to my son. Some sort of turtle-ish tatoo on his left bicep. He wasn't even that good! Heller, was that you? :) Interestingly, the locals were more than polite and never snaked. They knew where to be at the right time for the right wave, so they didn't have to.

In conclusion, Heller's book is good. It is entertaining, which is what every good book should strive to be, and the writing is adjective rich and descriptive- almost too much so at times. The message is there and the topics are timely, and I came away with the feeling that although Heller is not the guy I want to run into at the lineup of my home break in Puerto Rico (or dating my daughter, for that matter), he IS the guy I want out there writing about whales and sea turtles, and hopefully making a difference.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
fab author and well written April 7 2014
By J. Elizabeth Dousson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
if you like surfing, the sea, and good travel writing Peter Heller puts together a good compelling & often heartwrenching stories about what is going on in our oceans...i'm onto Whale Warriors now
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Kind of odd July 1 2013
By Delaware Surfer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found myself being annoyed by this book eventually. At some point this learning surfer gets a pro surfer acquaintance to fly in and boost his learning curve. Kind of strange...actually proves the title correct, but not in a positive way.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good surf info - not so much about relationships Dec 6 2010
By Eric Logan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
what he learned about relationships? The book had a lot of good surf info - but he seemed to let the wave change him. He lost persepective. His wife is soo game, he's right. He should really seek therapy and learn about being in a relationship and treating a partner the way he'd like to be treated himself. It was frustrating to read this and think he was "learning" about love. He is late 40's, and acts like a selfish teen. Punishes his other by marrying her. Oh well. This comes from a meatheaded guy in his mid thirties who has a hard time himself! Good mexico info - but this guy should stick to writing travel guides.

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