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Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast
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Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  395 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A wondrous, uproarious, and surprisingly informative account of a year spend surfing, Caught Inside marks the arrival of an exuberant new voice of the outdoors. This remarkable narrative of Daniel Duane's life on the water is enhanced by good-humored explanations of the physics of wave dynamics, the intricate art of surfboard design, and lyrical, sharp-eyed descriptions of ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 10th 1997 by North Point Press (first published 1996)
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Liquid Comfort - A Surf Story by Cheryl Lee PetroCaught Inside by Daniel DuaneTapping the Source by Kem NunnIn Search of Captain Zero by Allan WeisbeckerEddie Would Go by Stuart Holmes Coleman
Best Books on Surfing for Surfers
2nd out of 70 books — 52 voters
All for a Few Perfect Waves by David RensinA Perfect Wave by John RaffertyCalifornios by Jeff McElroySurf Is Where You Find It by Gerry LopezThe Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow
Surfing Fiction/Memoir
8th out of 11 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

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How did it happen? Sure, I thought the sport was cool. Yes, I wanted to get good at it. But how did it take over? And why am I 30 years old and only working part-time just so I can go to the beach everyday? These are questions that many surfers find themselves asking at one time or another. Daniel Duane does more than answer them in Caught Inside. He does so with the impeccable observations of a poet and nature-writer. Perhaps I’m biased because Dan happens to be writing about my favorite stretc ...more
Apr 16, 2007 JT rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Self searchers
A great read about a writer who gives it all up for a year just to surf in Northern California.

The book is great about just leaving it all behind and doing what you love. It is well written, both in the writer talking about surfing and in relating his life and the amazing sense of balance he gains. Great, great book!
Mr. Kasicki
Oct 22, 2009 Mr. Kasicki rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like non-fiction
Shelves: non-fiction
This story is the real story (non-fiction) of a successful businessman who chooses to quit his job and learn to surf. Over the course of his year outside "normal" society, he comes in conflict with other surfers, nature, and his lack of knowledge about this difficult sport. The author moves to Santa Barbara, California and joins a small surfing community that initially tries to keep him out but over time allows him in.

The story is told through a series of surfing adventures. He encounte
This was the EXACT surf book I was looking for. I knew it existed, just took awhile to discover it. Am hooked 12 pages in.

"And those friends mostly nodded with forced enthusiasm when I declared my intention to move to the water; the kind of move that everyone acknowleges sounds great, but in a way that makes you know that they would never make such a mistake themselves."

"But this book isn't about how I returned to conquer the big waves - a meaningless project to begin with - it's about an impul
Aug 22, 2007 Keith rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who surfs
I thought this was a great book, especially if you've ever surfed in or near Santa Cruz. I've read a few comments about how Duane's "in depth descriptive" gets a bit much - I actually enjoyed it. It brought me back. One of the things I remember most (aside from the great surf and cold water) is the beautiful landscape, and the great smells in the air. There's just no way you can write about your experiences in that area without adding that narrative - it just goes with the territory (I'm in NYC ...more
i loved the authors writting style! it was a very descriptive style capturing all of his surroundings, both in and out of the water. although the title is misleading. the author does spend a year on the coast, but only the santa cruz area which is a very small part of the california coast. i would have loved to read his interactions on other parts of the coast.
An incredible, engaging story of becoming a member of a community and culture I hold near and dear to my being. That is of the Surfer.

An enigma to those who aren't inside this culture, yet deeply enthralling to all who observe the magic of gliding across the water.

I highly recommend to anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to be a surfer.
Sharon Watkins
Dan Duane spent a year surfing in Santa Cruz, and this book looks at his experience season by season. At his best, he prose is poetic, with a voice that reminds me of Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. But at other times, the book is overwritten and digressive. On balance, it is ok, but not great.
Pretty stellar writing about the NorCal surfing experience. Duane tries to make accessible for non-surfers, but I have a feeling this resonates much louder to those who've spent the time cruising the coast up there. Very cool. Glad i finally got around to reading this one.
This was great, I have never surfed in my life but loved Duane's lyrical descriptions of the sea and its denizens as he searches for the perfect wave. I am moving to Santa Cruz and looking forward to experiencing some of the beauty he obviously loves.
I have surfed for 57 years in mostly the SoCal environment. Have had a place in Mexico for 15 years and now currently 4 in Baja Sur. But what a surprise to read Duane's book of NorCal secret spots and winter water. Oh yeah, big difference between sand beaches and lonely reef places known mostly to locals. Plus, Northern California is more of a shark place than the southern realms.

I loved the Zen like journey of a person almost totally committed to an alternative lifestyle and the friends he made
I bought this at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. I relate to it because he pulled a modern day Thoreau "live deliberately" move and became a surf bum. Kinda like me in this ski town. Extremely well written.
This is California. This book makes me long for the line-up everytime. I can feel the post nasal drip now. Duane paints an excellent picture of the real California coast, rugged, agrarian, beautiful.
Marye odom
Nature writing, surf history, memoir. Duane's writing is beautiful and will take you on the California surf trip if you're landlocked. Any lover of nature writing will love this too.
Not just a surfer's must read, but also anyone who can appreciate the quiet life on the Pacific Coast. Santa Cruz exposed. The Walden of surf fiction.
Jeff Bennett
By far my favorite book on surfing. Wonderfully well written and engaging, I'd recommend to anyone who surfs or has interest in it.
Oct 14, 2006 graham rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: surf
nice to read about a guy making it through the crowds in Santa Cruz. there's still hope for California surfing
The timing for reading this one was eerily, and perfectly appropriate.
i really enjoyed this one..must be the fantasies of dropping out.
In an alternate universe, I am a surfer and wrote a book like this.
One of the best written pieces of surf literature.
Feb 21, 2008 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: Dewey Decimal number 797.32092
Shelves: surfing
I want to be a surfer when I grow up. Always have.
This book took me a long time to read. I mean a really long time. It sat on my bookshelf for nearly 16 years, and then when I finally picked it up to read, it took me almost 2 1/2 months to read. It's mainly because the book drove me crazy. I thought it would be interesting reading about a surfer living in Monterey and delving into the life of a surfer and all that entails. There's the constant search for the perfect waves, understanding the pecking order of local surfers, and immersing into the ...more
This is a book that seeks to explain the passion of surfing. Duane leaves his dead end job and for a year commits to surfing every day. During this year he learns about reading the waves and surf culture from older experienced surfers. He gets to know how they came to the life choices that defied society's conventions. The author also recounts many quiet moments astride his surfboard, observing the wildlife and beauty of the central California coast.
Julie Barrett
Caught Inside by Daniel Duane
A Surfer spends a year In Santa Cruz, CA coast surfing. Local wildlife and how surfing works, water dynamics and the board itself.
Real life stories of when he is on the board, in the ocean and what creatures approach.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
Mike Lischke
This caputres the essence of being a surfer, great read, pick it up and open it.
The appeal of "extreme" sports is in its metaphysical necessity. By putting your life so constantly on the brink of death, you become acutely aware of survival. Duane's quietly passionate search for the perfect wave profoundly elucidates why anyone would go through the humiliation of competing or even trying to work with nature: it's a transcendental experience where seven times out of ten, you'll get your ass handed to you (and that's when nature even cooperates), but the other three will be so ...more
Great read for those that surf the California coast.
Christine D
Not for me. I love the documentary "step into liquid" but this is more a like Walden by Thoreau for surfer fans. Like I said, probably not bad, just not my taste.
Said Aspen
Pretty nice, but by no means a masterpiece:)
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“I thought how, with the peeling wave as an ideal of perfection, the surfer's object of passion becomes the very essence of ephemerality-not a thing to be owned or a goal to be attained but rather a fleeting state to inhabit. So much more of my time, after all, passed in the dreaming and searching than in the actual riding of waves; so much more time spent driving the coast and floating between sets. Of a whole year of devotion, probably no more than a day was spent truly on my feet and surfing, so I couldn't view such a moment as this without an ardent, frustrated desire, a near-religious craving for wholeness. Unlike so many other passions: while on might, I suppose, wish for a bloom to remain in blossom, for a ripening grape to hang always on the vine-yearnings John Keats made his own, for fleeting beauty and youth, the understandably hopeless hope that we might freeze our world's better moments-the wave's plenitude is rather in the peeling of the petal, the very motion of the falling fruit." Page 99” 7 likes
“I thought again about throwing language all over a scene, wondered if the emotional mystery of one's response to place doesn't lie in the inchoate play of possible words, of felt meanings and poetries, of the sublime, the romantic, the picturesque, Zen; even, perhaps, something new. And perhaps that twinge of disappointment one always feels at the words chosen - and thus also at the glorious scene-comes from the dream that in that instant of indecision and all-decision before your mind clarified its response to beauty, you just might have held within you language finally saturated with all the earth's meaning." Page 211” 3 likes
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