Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Nor’East Swell by Aaron Topp. Pub. OneTree House, 2022

Nor’East Swell by Aaron Topp. Pub. OneTree House, 2022

February 12, 2022

This excellent novel for High school and young adult readers is a combination of surfing and Maori myth and legend. It is complex and deep and elevates surfing to the status of a religion while linking it to the Maori spirit of Wairua.

Aaron Topp is a surfing guru, I first read his early novel on surfing titled Single Finn where he analyses the surfing culture but this novel goes well beyond that.

Witi is a year 13 student, a guitar player, a surfer and a loner. He has a friend in Alana who also surfs and he would like to take the relationship further. Witi lives with his mother and they both mourn the disappearance of his father 8 years earlier. But has he disappeared for good, where has he been and will he return? That is one of the novels mysteries.

Onto the scene from Australia comes a stud surfer called Jordy who on his first day a school wades into a fight with the first 15 who are giving Witi a hiding. It seems a spur of the moment thing but is their something more sinister about him? Another mystery.

The novel is divided into four parts. Part 1 we learn of Witi’s background and of that of his father who was a rock’n roll legend in NZ. Part 2 is more poetic as it tells more of the mystical side of Witi’s father’s background and disappearance and has Jordy meddling with the relationship between Witi and Alana. It also discusses Wairua and the Maori spirit world.

Part 3 has Witi and Jordy investigating Witi’s father’s legend and finding a code that suggests a secret surfing beach with magical powers. Part 4 brings it all together with major action as we learn that Witi’s father has left a door open in the waves that leads to the place where Wairua leave for the after life and that Witi has a role to play in closing this doorway between worlds.

To confuse matters a major international company has found out about a power source in the secret bay and they know of Witi’s power. Guess who is the leader of this company?

Plenty of action and a lot of surreal happenings occur but you can find that out for yourself. Very Complex and culturally respectful.

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