As far as surf books go, “In Search of Captain Zero A Surfer’s Road Trip beyond the End of the Road” has something for everyone. Written by Allan Weisbecker (a former “Miami Vice” writer) the book revolves around the author’s real-life quest to find his old friend and surfing buddy, who has disappeared without a trace. The quest takes the author from New York to southeastern Costa Rica, describing every worthwhile surf break along the way. Thrown in for good measure are rollicking true tales of the author’s days as an international drug runner in the 1970s.
Part travelogue and part memoir and part technical surfing manual, “In Search of Captain Zero” will appeal to hard-core surfers, travel buffs, and rebels with a lawless streak. Weisbecker’s detailed descriptions of land formations, physics, and mechanics of numerous surf breaks from Hawaii to Central America to Africa reveal the depth of his knowledge of the sport. The journey itself is every surfer’s dream: a leisurely, overland trip through Mexico and Central America in a truck with a camper shell, a faithful dog, and a surf board for occasion.
In addition to the mechanics of surfing, the book examines the mechanics of a decades-old friendship. The passage of time has changed the relationship between the author and his quarry, but the connection between them remains. In the end, the search for a lost friend who turns out to be a lost soul is complicated and bittersweet, just like the journey itself.
The book has been optioned by Sean Penn to be made into a movie. If they make it right, the movie will have a shot of “Apocalypse Now,” a dash of “Easy Rider,” a sprinkling of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and of course, a big slice of “Endless Summer.”