The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) will host the U.S. launch of Mike Ritter’s and Jack McCoy’s book “GRAJAGAN – Surfing in the Tiger’s Lair: 1872-1984,” with a free book-signing event, 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18.
The event coincides with Australia-based Cyclops Productions’ introduction of its ocean- and surfing-related titles to U.S. audiences. Attendees will be able to meet and talk with Ritter and publisher John Ogden; and both will be available to sign copies of their books.
“’GRAJAGAN – Surfing in the Tiger’s Lair: 1872-1984′ has been a long time in the making,” Ogden said. “Co-authors Mike Ritter [author of ‘Thai Stick’] and filmmaker Jack McCoy have researched and documented the early days of discovery at Grajagan, one of the crown jewels of surfing and the site of the world’s first surf camp.
“As well as their own eye-witness accounts, they conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with those who were there … and who survived to tell the story. Many of the main players in this incredible story are Americans … Grajagan is more than just a record of Indonesia’s motley crew of surfing pioneers.
“It lifts the lid on the prehistory and mystery of a magical part of East Java, a place where Western surfers found their Shangri-La and were bewitched by the jungle spirits and wild animals harbored there,” Ogden said.
“ ‘Grajagan – Surfing in the Tiger’s Lair’ unravels the mystique of east Java’s jungle-fringed, fantasy wave,” writes Luke Kennedy in Tracks magazine.
Ogden is a writer, publisher, educator, cinematographer and photographer based in Sydney, Australia, who began his career as a photojournalist in Southeast Asia during the early ’70s before freelancing for magazines.
He established Cyclops Press in 1999 as a vehicle to publish books that promote the work of Australian authors and photographers, many who strive to promote awareness of First Nations culture.
In recent years the company has also focused on a surf series of books, including “Whitewash,” “Unearthed,” “Cactus,” “Saltwater People of the Broken Bays,” “Salt Water People of the Fatal Shore,” and “Waterproof,” several of which were honored by the Australian Association for Maritime History.
“Grajagan” is the most recent title in the series.
Ritter began smuggling hash and marijuana in 1968 and continued for 18 years. After serving time at the federal prison camp in Florence, Colorado, in 2007, he enrolled in the University of Hawaii and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics and mathematics.
His book “Lifted” traces his life from a troubled adolescence, prison, and college to success, early retirement, and a new career as an author. In 2013 he also co-wrote “Thai Stick – Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade,” with Peter Maguire.
McCoy spent his early days in Los Angeles as the son of a radio and TV show host. He began surfing when the family moved to Hawaii in the 1950s and took up still photography after relocating to Australia in 1970. Teaming up with Dick Hoole, he shifted to cinematography to produce his first surf movie, “Tubular Swells,” in 1976.
Over the following four decades, he has established himself as one of the sport’s leading cinematographers and storytellers.
For more, visit sbmm.org or call 805-962-8404.