Life of Brine, A Surfer’s Journal (Hardie Grant Books), by Phil Jarratt
In the four hours it takes to fly from Sydney to Port Moresby on flight PX001, you’ll be well into this easy-to-read memoir by Australian journalist and surfer Phil Jarratt. Jarratt, 66, and living in Noosa, is one of Australia’s most prolific chroniclers of surfing culture.
He is the author of 35 books and a former editor of the irreverent Aussie surfing publication Tracks.
He is brutally honest in Life of Brine as he reveals his excesses and wild times growing up as a surfer in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
In one chapter, he meets up with the American writer Hunter S Thompson, who was well known for his own excesses, and there are endless encounters with surfing legends and stars, among them Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, Bill Murray and Pamela Anderson.
Much of the book is about Jarratt’s career as a journalist, his work in the surf industry, as well as his travels. He surfs everywhere from Bali to Biarritz, and even briefly journeys to PNG on a writing assignment.
But Life of Brine isn’t just about Jarratt growing up to be a Noosa grandfather, it’s a nostalgia trip that shows how surfing has grown from the simplicity of the 1960s into a billion-dollar sport and industry.
If you don’t finish the book on the plane, it’s a handy addition to the hammock in between surfing sessions in PNG.