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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: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,781 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 It's wonderfully written, weaving wave wisdom with literary and historical references.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

Reading this book was like reliving my youth.
William B. Hopping
Anyway, it's been 5 years since I read this book last and yet I find myself thinking about it even now.
Chad Bartlett
The retelling of his first-hand experiences are sometimes confusing and always verbose.
J. Mendoza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had just finished weisbckers In Search of Captain Zero, and he spoke of this book in it, so I figured Id give it a read. It was a wise decision, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Duane plays the whole escapist card in a different fashion then Weisbecker, resulting in an interesting tale of his travels. I didnt really see a general overlying story to the book, but rather duane's anecdotes of his days spend surfing and living did reflect on the whole natural world theme. If anyone in your family doestn surf, I feel like if they read this work, they may better undersatnd the surfer perspective and why we do the thigns we do. Overall well versed book that is worth the price and time to read it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Xoe Li Lu VINE VOICE on January 9, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To sit in freezing water with even colder air temperatures for hours waiting for a good wave is an exercise in discipline, although a lot of people would say that discipline is precisely what the quintessential surfer lacks. Author Dan Duane exhibits discipline and several other honorable traits in "Caught Inside," his thoughtful memoir of a year spent following a dream and accomplishing a goal. While some may scoff at what can be called the "surfer mentality," Duane goes deep beneath the surface and dredges up a lot of emotion and introspective philosophical sentiments about why he surfs (and why he does anything worth doing). Duane is well-read, intelligent and expressive, and the book is interesting, beautifully written and thought provoking. I would imagine that Duane's musings would be valuable, meaningful and applicable even to those who have never even seen the ocean, much less ridden a wave.
PS to reviewer Christopher Seal - women surf too!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am not a surfer, I probably never will be a surfer. But this book captured me, not because it's about surfing, but because it's about one person's attempt to feel, experience, and then communicate his total communion with a rare piece of our Earth --- the Pacific Coast of California where the waves wash up on the Point. It's nature writing at its most profound....an attempt to take one little piece of the globe and get across what it's all about. I read this, wierdly enough, while camping at Tahoe, and it transformed my whole camping experience,as I tried to appreciate and then replicate the detailed beauty of view Duane brought to the Santa Cruz coast up in the mountains I was wandering, and then tried to feel hiking/tramping/backpacking the way he obviously feels surfing. Read it to appreciate surfing, to learn the ocean,to feel a piece of real peace. Sweet stuff!
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