Chris Bertish is a man who needs no introduction. He is the holder of multiple world records, a famed big wave surfer and the winner of the 2010 Mavericks Invitational, but what is it that drives him and makes him tick? This is something I was hoping to find out, when I had the opportunity to read and review his new book Stoked just weeks before it’s official release to the world.
Keen to read about Chris and his driven determination to become one of the best big wave surfers in the world, I approached Chris to ask when his book would be released as I was hoping to be able to read while relaxing on a sun bed on my honeymoon. Being the gentleman he is, Chris said that although the book was a few weeks away from release, as a gift to a fellow wave rider and a fellow wedded brother, he would send me a copy of Stoked for me to read whilst on holiday. Stoked!
Knowing that Chris also works as a motivational speaker, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the book be purely a collection of motivational quotes and pointers on how to be successful in life or would it be an autobiographical look at his life and the journey to how he became the Mavericks winner in 2010? What became apparent very quickly as I worked my way through the chapters, is that we are very lucky to be able to read about Chris’ life and the adventures he has had. By rights he could have lost his life many times over, from the scrapes he got himself into growing up in South Africa as a boy to the many beatings and hold downs he has endured at the mercy of some of the worlds most feared waves.
From the first chapter of Stoked, I found the book to be a real page turner, one I didn’t want to put down and found it all consuming. Even to the point, that Mrs C was feeling a bit neglected, as I found myself glued to the pages, keen to chase the next adventure with Chris.
Stoked is extremely well written and easy to read, with moments of extreme highs and lows. One moment I would be sniggering out loud, the next moment nearly in tears and at times I sat there absolutely terrified. There is no way, not for one moment I can claim to be a big wave surfer, but over the years I have found myself in some waves of consequence, panicked and scared, but nothing even comes close to the wipeouts, poundings and waves that Chris has encountered over the years on his way to achieve his goals.
From three wave hold downs at Mavericks, to being pinned in an underwater cave at Backdoor, or from being stranded on a deserted island in Fuerteventura, the rise to becoming the winner at Mavericks was certainly not easy or straight forward in any shape or form. No matter what problems, obstacles or raw deal that presented themselves to Chris, with a positive mental attitude, rigorous training and planning he managed to overcome them. Even when the 2010 Mavericks Invitational was officially called on, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong and Chris was lucky in the end to even be able to paddle out into the lineup with his fellow competitors.
Stoked is a true story of triumph, stubborn determination and gritty hard work and proof that anything is achievable with the right attitude and outlook. Stoked is not just a book for the wave riding community or adrenaline junkies. Anyone who has ever had a dream to achieve something, anyone looking for inspiration to push themselves into the unknown or anyone who wonders what it would be like to ride a wave the size of a building will enjoy this exhilarating read.
Stoked is now available for download on the Amazon bookstore, where you can also pre-order the paperback for delivery, and it is worth mentioning that the physical copy of the book has the addition of some really smart “flick book animation” of Chris paddling into and tucking into the wave of his life! So get downloading and pre-ordering, I cannot recommend the book highly enough and I promise it will leave you truly Stoked!