Chris Vick, author of ‘Kook’: Surfing with dolphins

KookChris Vick’s debut, ‘Kook’, is a gorgeous summer adventure about Sam who moves to the coast from the big city. He quickly falls for Jade, a surfer girl tinged with darkness and on a deadly mission…

Surfing and the mysteries of the ocean aren’t restricted to Chris’s fictional worlds, however. They’re a part of his daily life!

I’m very lucky. In my job, working for WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation – I’ve seen many whales and dolphins up close. In Mexico from a row boat, dwarfed by the grey whales we were studying. Killer whales in Canada, so close I could see their black marble eyes staring at me.

But this was always from the safety of a research boat. It’s different when you’re in the water.


I was surfing in Cornwall, down at my favourite spot, Gwenvor; a small bay of granite rocks and azure water.

I’d seen dolphins there lots of time, but usually far off, as they chase fish across the bay. This time, the first glimpse was of a grey bullet of dolphin, headed straight at me.

I wasn’t afraid exactly, but it was unnerving. Male UK Bottlenose dolphins are ten foot long and they move at speed. It surfaced again, followed by the arcing backs and exploding phoosh breaths of its pod, or family group. How many were there. Four, five? More?

Before I even gasped they were under and around me. For a heart stopping second I thought one was going to knock me off my board. But it dived, whooshed under me, turned and looked. Sussing me out as much as I was staring – in awe – at it.


As we sat on our boards, gob-smacked by the display, myself and the three other surfers out there, forgot all about riding waves But the dolphins didn’t. Two of them got in an out –back wave and rode in the heart of it. Lifted for daring seconds above the sea surface in the wall of blue, riding and playing the waves’ energy. Just like surfers do.

They rode a few waves, and made it look easy, swooping and carving, rushing and diving. True acrobats. Up, down, in and out of the water. Total masters of the same waves, we clumsily, and desperately, work to try and glide on. Just so we can do for a few seconds what they can do any time they please. As far as I could tell, they did it for the same reason we do. The heart thrilling rush of it.

We’re not jealous. Nope, not at all. 

Grab your copy of ‘Kook’ here!

Have you ever seen whales and dolphins in the wild? Make us even more jealous and tell us about it @maximumpopbooks! 

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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