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Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast Paperback – April 10, 1997


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Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast + In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road + Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (April 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865475091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475090
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tossing aside a mundane and meaningless job, Daniel Duane went to Santa Cruz, California, to surf for year. The book he wrote about it, Caught Inside is something of a Walden of our times. It's wonderfully written, weaving wave wisdom with literary and historical references. And it's not for surfers only: even readers who have never seen the surf will find themselves taken up in the book's rhythms.

Duane sought the peace that surfing offers, and his impressions of surfing characters, sea life (otters, seals, and the great white shark everyone fears is right under you as you paddle your board), and the seasons by the sea are evocative and soothing to read.

From Publishers Weekly

Surfing enthusiast Duane quit his unfulfilling retail job in Berkeley, Calif., and moved to Santa Cruz, where he spent the better part of a recent year riding waves, exploring the coastline, researching the history of surfing and befriending and philosophizing with various locals who have arranged their lives around the quest for the perfect wave. The results of these pursuits are recorded here in quietly meditative prose that simultaneously deglamorizes the sport and seeks to imbue it with a kind of metaphysical profundity. Dedicated surfers, Duane discovers, tend to feel a measure of guilt about their willingness to give their favorite pastime precedence over career ambitions and family responsibilities. At the same time, surfing yields unique and valuable opportunities for appreciation of and communication with nature. Duane is clearly anxious to justify an ostensibly hedonistic lifestyle, and his arguments on its behalf are not always convincing, but the deftly rendered observations and epiphanies make his own experience seem decidedly worthwhile.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I think I disliked the book overall because I just didn't like the author.
sherri
Anyway, it's been 5 years since I read this book last and yet I find myself thinking about it even now.
Chad Bartlett
Duane's writing is brilliant - literary, wistful, romantic, imaginative - excellent.
Andrew Mannion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific book. The reviewers who complained about the history and the overly- descriptive prose are really just reflecting the mind-set they brought to the book, because he does both of those well. I mean, that's the book he set out to write. Also, there is not a story here - rather it is a collection of essays, like that from a journal. Approach this for what it is: a bang-on personal report about what it's like to live a surfer's life revolving around the beach, wind, swells and tides. It's extremely accurate.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chad Bartlett on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't swim, not really anyway. I can doggy paddle, I can float for a little while, I can even go from one side of a pool to the other if I have to (width not length). But after a couple minutes in the water I start to feel this weight on my chest, like the pressure of the entire ocean is pushing on me. Out of breath, I panic and realize the enormity of what surrounds me, the depth beneath me and the power that moves me. Reading Daniel Duane's "Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast" made me feel that way too, minus the panic. Mixing equal parts memoir, trail guide and history lesson Duane concocts a recipe that might not be for everyone and yet for those who have a taste for such things, what he has written will leave you changed. It's about surfing but it's really about being alive and noticing the world around you. It's about understanding the world as both science and art. It's about leaving home and finding something more.
If you're looking for cover to cover eloquence in prose it isn't here. If you're looking for a pure surf story it isn't here either. I think that what we have in this book is an honest reflection of a year from a guy that's read some books and seen some movies, a guy who can think about masturbating and physics and pop culture and relationships. The book is full of quietly poignant moments about things like tide pools or teenagers staring at a bottle of beer and if that makes Duane a "wanker" like one fellow Amazon reviewer suggested, I think we should all strive to be wankers too.
Anyway, it's been 5 years since I read this book last and yet I find myself thinking about it even now. As one person said to the author about the setting of the sun, it's just not the kind of thing you can look at once and say, "huh, I get it."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jaimal Yogis on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
How did it happen? Sure, I thought the sport was cool. Yes, I wanted to get good at it. But how did it take over? And why am I 30 years old and only working part-time just so I can go to the beach everyday? These are questions that many surfers find themselves asking at one time or another. Daniel Duane does more than answer them in Caught Inside. He does so with the impeccable observations of a poet and nature-writer. Perhaps I'm biased because Dan happens to be writing about my favorite stretch of coastline in California - the one between Santa Cruz and San Francisco - but I think Caught Inside is one of the best surfing books ever written. He certainly inspired me to write Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evan Douglas Dwin on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Daniel Duane succeeds at many moments in this book at expressing what every surfer who wasn't born on a board and isn't quite yet a pot-bellied longboarder thinks and feels on a daily basis. There are times when Duane manages to sum up a whole month's worth of solutions to surfing problems in a single sentence. He nailed the difficulty of explaining surfing to non-surfers, the hard to accept but obvious reason why the most crowded breaks are so crowded (perfect waves), the heartbreaking inconsistency of the ocean, and the way a surfer finds it difficult to think of anything else. The only problem is Duane chose an impossible task. He seemed at times to be filling pages with the thoughts a mind generates sitting on a board during a long lull or sitting around your house waiting for swell. While an important part of the life, those tend to be boring times, and not always worth reading about. The history lessons and wildlife observations are interesting and occaisionally poetic, but cannot mask the truth. All surfers try to keep conversations about surfing alive with the peripheral elements to interest non-surfers. It doesn't work though, because each surfer, no matter what their attitude, knows in his/her heart there is a single meaning to why they surf; the feeling of riding a great wave. Everything else is just a means to get there as comfortably and nobly as possible. I'm sorry Daniel, try as we might, they'll never understand. Caught Inside is a valiant effort full of inspiration. Unfortunatelty it can't quite bridge the gap between surfing's reality and that of the rest of the world. The Philadelphia Enquirer says the book, "Looms on the horizon like a hurricane in a summer without waves." What else needs to be said ? They just don't get it. Maybe they're not meant to.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
I was eager to read tis book when I got it as a gift, but found it to be hard to read more than a few pages at a time. The author uses so many references to other works that I felt I should have read them instead. Also he seems to get lost in very wordy discription of quite trivial things that have little to do with the story, which by the way was very weak at best.
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