Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$6.68
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

On a Wave: A Surfer Boyhood Hardcover – May, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$5.00 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Generally speaking, surfers don't write. They spend their formative years riding waves, smoking joints and chasing girls. Ziolkowski did all that, but somehow managed to avoid the Jeff Spicoli syndrome, becoming instead a poet (and director of Pratt Institute's writing program) whose talent and mastery of the language have allowed him to write this enjoyable memoir, equal parts surfer tale and bildungsroman. After his parents' divorce, Ziolkowski recalls, he moved with his mother and stepfather to Florida's Atlantic coast. He discovered the joys of surfing: the clothes, the camaraderie, the drugs (he first smoked pot at age 10 and was already "over" it by 15). Ziolkowski surfed almost daily, before school, after school and at night. Once he surfed so much that the glare from the water caused him to go temporarily blind; another time he hit the beach in the middle of a hurricane all in pursuit of the perfect wave. Although there's a lot of surf talk here, it's really a book about family: the wicked stepfather, the feral brother, the compassionate mother and the tragedies that ultimately tear them apart. Underneath the surfer veneer is a story about the disintegration of the author's family and growing up in a time (the mid '70s) when all the old rules no longer seemed to apply. Ziolkowski writes that he aspired to go pro but never quite made it a few trophies for local competitions was the closest he got, and a move to Kansas during high school prompted him to give up his quest for good. Better for readers that he did, for now they have this touching, poetic book.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This engaging memoir of Ziolkowski's coming of age under the sun and in the sea ultimately defines a surfer's childhood struggle between the harsh reality of land and the idyllic serenity of the water. Eventually, the two combined to thrust Ziolkowski, at age eight, to the shoreline of Florida, where he became a surfer in the 1960s. The author's prose reflects the relaxed, bohemian way of life, perfectly capturing the surfer culture of the era. Ziolkowski's own life mirrors a storm swell: his parents' divorce, his move from home, his stepfather's uneven hand, and the ultimate understanding of an underlying sadness that surrounded his childhood make for a perfect ride on a rough wave. The sea becomes a particular sort of aquatic nirvana for Ziolkowski, who finds that surfing not only holds athletic and sexual appeal in the culture but emotional cleansing properties for him as well. This memoir makes one ache for the sea's ebb and flow, while his stirring account of an unconventional, oceanborne life reconfirms, for those who are landlocked, fantasies about the power and beauty of open water. This belongs with other true accounts of surfing life and culture, such as Daniel Duane's Caught Inside and Matt Warshaw's Maverick's. For all large sports collections. Rachel Collins, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087113845X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871138453
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,941,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On a Wave is a wonderful memoir that has less to do with surfing than 70's American life as seen through the eyes of a sensitive(and poetic) young boy. Remember Tang, Pam, Pop-Tarts and the music of "Won't You Marry Me, Bill?" The book's honesty and candor and almost total lack of self-pity make On a Wave a touching and memorable story. If you take it to the beach, be sure to bring a couple of tissues.
1 Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so sorry this book is over. It was a pleasure to read. Thad Ziolkowski is such a wonderful writer. His story is witty, eloquent, and moving. I have never had much interest in surfing, but that didn't change my enjoyment of the story. I particularly relished the parent-child dialogues and the amusing, self-deprecating recollections of childhood cognitions.
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on July 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it provided me with insight into a time and place that I often wondered about. I took special interest in this book as I was born and raised in Melbourne Beach, attended the same elementary, junior high, and high school as the author, and even lived on Avenue A for several years. However, what really drew me in was my love of surfing, and of my father (who was one of the characters in the book). Although I was but a twinkle in my father's eye during the time of the novel, the vivid descriptions of the surfing and of the characters were impressive. I too found myself longing to return to surfing, as I have long since traded in my wetsuit for a business suit. The author's description of the lure of the ocean, and his love of surfing, really hit home for me. There is a certain innocence in adolence that we often fail to appreciate until it has passed. Although I agree with the character Stan Dryden's recommendation to Thad that he focus on school and get a stable job in a corporation, I also think that it would be a mistake to completely walk away from Thad's first love . . . surfing. Upon finishing this book, I was left with mixed emotions . . . a sort of sadness and hope at the same time. It reminded me that my childhood days were truly over, but that the child in us is always there.
Comment 3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It has a special closeness for me because I live in South Melbourne Beach- not far from Surf Road and Sebastian Inlet, where much of the book takes place. It was touching to read Thad's experiences here, as mine have been much the same- learning to ride alone on the deserted beach, the wildness and strangeness of a very special place.. he captured it perfectly, and I'm glad to report that it still has the same magic. A great book that will bring a tear to your eye more than once.
Comment 3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on January 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a surfer, never even thought about surfing much, but once I started this book I couldn't stop thinking about it. Ziolkowski's book is a very deftly written story about coming to know the world through a focus on one thing -- the wave, in all its shifting, complicated, living grace. By studying that one thing with all his heart, the writer finds a way through the ordinary struggles of coming of age, but through some extraordinary ones, too. ON A WAVE artfully evokes a time and a place, and also a time of life. It's one of the best new memoirs I've read for a while. It really does share some of the strength and character of Frank Conroy's STOP TIME, which is serious praise indeed.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on June 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Excellently written, "On A Wave" effectively evokes the angst of growing up and searching for identity. To classify Thad Ziolkowski's memoire a book about surfing is an injustice. It is much more. A rich and rewarding read.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on May 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Gorgeous prose kept me spellbound and swept me into
another time and place. The author is a talented
writer of great sensitivity and wit who has written
an outstanding coming of age memoir. A must read!
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on June 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was one of the best books I have ever read. The descriptions and prose were perfect. The writer brings you into his world in a way that anyone, especially someone of his era, can understand. I wish there was more! I was an avid surfer in Southern California, as a kid. But then came college, a job, life in a big city, marriage, kids, and soon you just forget about the surfing lifestyle, how it feels, what it means. I was hooked on this book from the prologue. And if that was all this book was about, then it wood have been a very enjoyable, good read. However, this book is so much more. It not only brought back the emotions of surfing, but also the emotions of childhood and growing up. I am so stoked to have found this book, and will pass it on to all my friends and family. I think I pull my board down from the rafters of my garage and clean it off this weekend. Who knows what could happen!
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: texas history books