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Phil Jarratt unveils the Duke's past in "That Summer at Boomerang"





Book Updates

Acclaimed surf author releases new Duke Kahanamoku story

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 15 April, 2014 - A century ago a young Sydney schoolgirl goes to the beach near her home and sees a tall, dark and handsome stranger carry a plank of wood down to the water and paddle it out into the churning waves. Then, wonder of wonders, he turns around and launches the plank and himself onto a huge wave and rides majestically to shore.  

Within a couple of weeks, 15-year-old Isabel Letham is riding to shore in the arms of the world's most exotic athlete, the full-blood Hawaiian swimming and surfing champion Duke Kahanamoku, in front of huge crowds of disbelieving onlookers. Her life will never be the same.

Veteran author and journalist Phil Jarratt has written about surfing for most of his career, and has penned best-selling histories of the sport and industry as well as biographies of surfing legends Kelly Slater and Jeff Hakman. But the surf story that intrigues him most has more to do with manners, morals, love, loyalty and the birth of leisure on the eve of the war to end all wars, than it does the act of riding waves.

Taking Duke Kahanamoku's tour of Australia and New Zealand in the first summer of the Great War as his canvas, Jarratt has painted a detailed and fascinating picture of the intersecting worlds of sport, business and politics in Australia and Hawaii at a seminal moment in history, "when fun was young."

When the fun-loving, ukulele-strumming Waikiki beach boy arrived in Australia, the beach was still to most a daunting place where only a handful of years earlier surf bathing had been punishable by law. After his visit surfing became a national obsession. But many of those Duke introduced to wave riding would never return from the shores of Galipolli or the fields of France. This is the poignancy of That Summer At Boomerang.

Wednesday, April 16th, 7:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Free admission. Seating is limited.   

That Summer at Boomerang

Paperback, 304 pages. $35


"The real magic of this book lies in the loving, atmospheric detail with which surf historian Phil Jarratt recreates the lives and worlds of Kahanamoku, Letham and the idiosyncratic characters who came together that summer, 100 years ago... Jarratt has gone beyond clichés of nationhood... or stereotypes about the beach boys of Waikiki, and has given us the feel for life as it was lived."

-- Sydney Morning Herald

"Phil Jarratt has worked a miracle and resurrected Duke Kahanamoku, bringing him to life with great research, wit and storytelling, and above all love for all of surfing's characters."

-- Bob McTavish, surfing legend, author

"Duke and Isabel are entrenched as iconic figures in the world of surfing. This is a wonderfully romanticised account of what 'really' happened in the summer of 1914."

-- Layne Beachley, 7x world surfing champion

"I'm halfway through, it's a great read! A must for students of our surf culture!"

--Peter Townend, world champ, legend

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