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Waves of Warning

12:07 9th May 2007 by

By Glenn R. Hening

Surfing Your Ocean Publication


Waves of Warning

A prodigious blockbuster of a surf novel by
Oxnard, California surfer Glenn Hening,
Waves of Warning is an epic tale weaving
together a full quiver of modern surf
themes, dovetailing them into the set-and-setting of a neardistant
21st century and spinning them out towards some
illuminating and profoundly frightening logical conclusions …
with a few surprising twists along the way.

Co-founder of the Surfrider Foundation in 1984 and founder
of the Groundswell Society in 2001, Hening was uniquely
qualified for this immense undertaking, and immense it was.
Subtitled “A novel about Polynesia, Wall Street and the future of surfing,” his
powerful understanding of the mechanics of the surfing world is
clearly reflected at all levels, as his characterizations of
contemporary surf culture move his story forward.

When first published in 2004, Waves of Warning ran a
double-volume total of 780 pages. Advised to tighten his story
and smoosh it into a single pair of covers, Hening worked
three months/ten hours a day to produce the current 525-page
edition, which was published by his own Surfing Your Ocean
Publications in 2005.

Lost in the translation, he says, was a large chunk of
Antarctic stuff, a San Diego trade show (we still get a Florida
one), all the diaries of the “Alba_Sword” crew members, and
other bits here and there. “To me,” he says, “the difference
between the two ends up being similar to the difference
between really good Malibu with a light south wind and
excellent Rincon with a slight offshore.”

Alba_Swords are the craft of choice for the book’s Order
of Southern Ocean Mariners, an élite group of sailor/scientist/
adventurers whose annual race through the Roaring Forties
happens to coincide with an unprecedented series of katabatic
windstorms triggered by global warming, and which may signal
the end of life on earth as we know it. But these immense and
sudden winds create some VERY LARGE waves!

Alba_Swords, says Hening, are what you get by “using the
broadbill swordfish to design a round-the-world ocean racing
maxi-yacht, and then morph the result through the prisms of the
SR-71 spy plane and traditional Polynesia wayfinder trimarans.”
Alba_Swords ride waves.

The surf mariners are destined to converge with the book’s
other plotlines (one of addiction, greed, and localism played out
in the world of corporate surfing, the other of primal escapism,
romance, and virtue played out in a South Pacific Shangri-La) at
the world’s best (and just discovered) surf spot.

Although Hening’s writing style tends to be a tad creaky,
and although this self-published volume is peppered with
typographical errors (one of the woes of self-publishing),
and while his continuing reiteration of characters’ full names
almost drove me crazy at first (i.e., “David Helmares was
quick with a rejoinder” … after “David Helmares” has already
been mentioned 25 times on the page), the author’s vision
is so grand and his human observations so erudite, I found
myself forgiving him as I became increasingly absorbed in this
exciting page-turner.

While the principles seem thinly-veiled allusions to iconic
institutions like Quiksilver and Laird Hamilton, Hening claims
this ain’t so.

“ I didn’t write Primary Colors, the take-off on the Clintons
written by Joe Kline,” he explains. “His story was, by design,
quite transparent and that in itself was part of the story. For
Waves of Warning, however, appearances are not reality if people
take the time to think things through. Every novel needs some
basis in fact woven into it when the near future of a culture is
the subject of speculative fiction. However, when one reviewer
called my story a stab in the back of Quik – as if I’d somehow
skewered them personally or something – well, all I can say
is, the battle is far from over when it comes to educating the
victims of our soundbite world!

“However,” he adds, “there is one characterization that
I tried to portray almost verbatim given my understanding
of thug life on the North Shore. I called my bad guys ‘da Tui’
since ‘tui’ is the word for leadership in Fijian. I’m sure careful
readers will appreciate the irony. And you can quote me.”
– Drew Kampion