Skip to main content

Jacket Copy

As the writer Bernardo Atxaga says: «We’re made for paradise, the way birds are made for the air.” The Hawaiians had been catching waves for centuries, until the white man came and transformed surfing within a matter of decades. Now, we have better boards, wetsuits, surf predictions, cars, and even flights to remote islands. In return, we’ve drowned countless coastlines in cement, the beaches have filled up with surfers, and we haven’t become any happier than the native Hawaiians. That’s the question at the heart of this book, which is as easy to read as it is hard to classify: are we moving progressively closer to, or farther away from paradise? Balance is key, whether in surfing or anything else in life. It keeps us from falling and allows us to prolong the enjoyment. In other words, it allows us to come closer to paradise.


In the book, Indigo Urdinaga focuses on the dizzying changes that have overwhelmed surfing, and our society, in the past few decades (from 1966 to now). He links personal experiences with events in surf history, and tells stories of known and unknown surfers around the world. He draws parallels between what he went through as a young man in his hometown, and what is happening to surfing all over the world today.

There used to be an amazing left-breaking wave in the mouth of the Oria River, where Indigo grew up. But in 1995,when he was 21, they built The Fucking Wall (the Putomuro), which ruined their wave and ruined their lives.

The very same culture of money that Indigo and his friends experienced first-hand is now wreaking havoc on the quality of surfing worldwide through hyper-commercialization and overcrowding. How do we find happiness in a society like this? Because, at the end of the day, we’re all surfers in search of paradise.

Salbera, in Basque, means greater weever (Trachinus draco), also known as weeverfish or weever. It is a fish with poisonous spines that lives half-buried in sandy bottoms. Weever stings causes pain and inflammation, and can even bring about fever, respiratory failure and seizures.

These alterations are temporary, but their memory can last a lifetime.