All For a Few Perfect Waves, by David Rensin

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The Independent Culture

Miki "Da Cat" Dora was a Malibu surfing legend. He was also a petty thief, jailbird, scrounger and unreliable lover, who never held down a regular job in his life. Leaving California in the Sixties, disgusted by what he regarded as the over-commercialisation of the surf scene there, he moved restlessly around the world in search of uncrowded waves, his travels often funded by credit-card scams which eventually caught up with him, before returning home to die in 2002 at the age of 67.

David Rensin talked to over 300 of Dora's family, friends and enemies, and such is his skill in weaving the strands together that any suspicion the subject matter might be too inconsequential to justify 475 close-packed pages is soon rejected in favour of a desire to know what happened next. And just when you feel you have half-understood this complex character, a final twist reveals how little you do know him. In Rensin's own words, Dora's story is "all about surfing, and not about surfing at all".

Published by Yellow Jersey in large-format paperback, £12.99