As any surfer might tell you, a highlight of any surf trip is often the post-session feasting which will typically transpire after a long surf, the result of which being a ravenous appetite. One of the joys of surfing is arguably experiencing the richness of cultures of the surf destination, and that experience is often characterized by the cuisine of that spot.
Surfer Jim Kempton has a CV resplendent in surfing, travel and cookery. The California restauranteur, one-time Editor of the illustrious Surfer Magazine and Director of Media for Billabong, and, if the book is anything to go by, quite simply just a surfer with a simple taste for delicious, uncomplicated cuisine, recently published First We Surf, Then We Eat: Recipes From a Lifetime of Surf Travel, which marries together surf and cooking in a way surfer’s know so well. Sharing rich anecdotes that only someone with a lifetime of surf travel would have alongside each recipe, interspersed by photographs courtesy of famed surf photographer Jeff Divine, First We Surf, Then We Eat isn’t just a killer cookery book, but reads as an incredibly personal, near biographical look at surfing and some of it’s most celebrated personalities over the years.
As we can see from Jim’s extensive travels through regions including Central and South America, Hawaii, The Pays Basque and Indonesia, the beauty of the cooking of many of these naturally flavourful regions’s larders (fresh fish, herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits) is in it’s simplicity. And when you find out that some of the recipes come from infamous legends from surfing folklore including Donald Takayama, who’s Teriyaki sauce you have access to in First We Surf, Then We Eat, and a banana bread from Tavaua Island, Fiji, which was apparently inhaled in one such was it’s tastiness by World Tour surfer Jordy Smith in front of Jim. Want to know Kelly Slater’s Bajan surf-mum’s homemade Caribbean seasoning recipe, wolfed up by the likes of Kelly on his many trips to Barbados (at one of his favourite breaks, Soupbowl)? Renowned charger Bethany Hamillton (of Soul Surfer fame)’s papaya nut smoothie? The best steak in the world, divulged to Jim by Maui firefighters and cowboys? Enclosed within the pages of First We Surf, Then We Eat, hungry friends.
The gastronomic global tour of First We Surf, Then We Eat is artfully punctuated by the story-telling behind the scenes of each recipe. Surfers and non-surfers alike will love the variety of recipes which aren’t overly complex: the beauty in it is the unfussy combination of the fresh ingredients
Jim has shared a few of his favourite recipes below, including poke bowls and Mai Tais!