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Steve wants to be a surfer - one of those demi-gods who walk on water. But for a kid from the San Fernando Valley who's scared of the ocean this is no easy task. Through his encounters with tough Malibu locals, haole-hating Hawaiians, uptight surf stars, shady surfboard designers, sex-hungry surf groupies and stoned big-wave riders, Steve learns the humorous as well as the darker side of surfing. With finely honed irony and a lightness of touch, Kevin McAleer tells a story of friendship, coming of age in the 1970s, and the fascination of surfing - while also imparting a wealth of knowledge that can compete with any how-to book on the sport (including an extensive surf glossary as appendix).

Voices about Kevin McAleer and Surferboy

"Surferboy is a cleverly arranged bildungsroman and the story of a subculture's decline and fall. Told from the standpoint of a neophyte who wants to join the surfing ranks, the narrator-voice combines the crazed obsession of the insider with the ironic distance of the outsider."

– Berliner Tagesspiegel

"Perhaps the saying is true - that happiness makes you stupid. Maybe surfers are so happy that they should start writing about surfing only after they've stopped. Kevin McAleer, who grew up in California, has given us an autobiographical novel well worth reading."

– Mare

"McAleer introduces us to a brand new world and makes it accessible, for in his autobiographical novel Surferboy he writes of surfing with such passion and precision that even nonpracticioners will at once take to the sport."


"Surferboy is one of those novels where after just two sentences you're so deep into it that you'd swear you've got sand in your undies."

– Radio Fritz

"As author, McAleer isn't just riding a wave, rather his book dives deep - and entertainingly so - beneath the surface of the practice."

"Surferboy is a novel about growing up and initiation rites. Kevin McAleer, who in his youth was a surfer, conveys why surfing is so addictive but he doesn't gloss over the malaise, the emptiness that follows the ecstasy. American Grafitti for waveriders."

– Zitty

"Surferboy is both a superb novel about growing up and a cultural history of surfing rendered with atmospheric precision."
– Tide

"The evolution of surfing in Southern California in the 1970s is grippingly told. It is through a precise description of those social conventions which surfers put beginners through that the author shows his intimate knowledge of the subject. Whether you're a kook, pro or non-surfer, you'll like this book."

– Surfers

"As Surferboy takes us on a ride up and down the waves, we experience both the ups and downs of the surfing life, with the author making short work of that romanticized image of good vibrations and beach babes. Yet nevertheless, by book's end, we still have a wistful yearning for it all."


"A wonderful summer book, above all for ex-surfers, but also for those who have always wanted to be initiated into the secrets of this sport."

– Norddeutscher Rundfunk

"Kevin McAleer has written the first pure surf novel - the portrait of a subculture with roots in Hawaii, its boom during the 1960s, through to the 1970s with Surf Punks and New Wavers and the scene's utter commercialization. Though written in suitably laid-back prose, this bildungsroman also functions as a surfing primer."


"Surferboy is an absolute must-read."


Further Information

Author Kevin McAleer

Reading sample


Youtube: Reading

Additional product information

Softcover with flaps
21 x 12,5 cm