Keep Australia On Your Left
Keep Australia On Your Left, Eric Stiller
A little while back I found myself in the rare situation of not having any new books in my queue – I usually have a cache of books piled up next to the bed. So I went hunting around on our bookself and found this gem tucked away on one of the shelves and opened it up one night…
Keep Australia On Your Left is the tale of two unlikely companions – one a high-flying Australian model and the other a second generation kayak salesman from Manhattan – as they set out to be the first unassisted kayakers to circumnavigate Australia. Stiller – the second generation kayak store owner from Manhattan – weaves his tale from the beginning of the journey when he meets Tony in his store in Manhattan. From their training in the Hudson River the story jumps to Australia as the two begin their ambitious journey along the surf-ridden east coast of Australia. It’s quite an amazing journey, probably made all the more enjoyable for me due tot he fact that Lisa and I visited almost all of the same spots discussed in the book during our journey around Oz in 2009/2010. Stiller does a commendable job of storytelling, I was wincing at some of the physical challenges these guys put their bodies through on the trip.
Publisher’s Weekly: Idea meets action in this remarkable, though overlong, story of an attempt to paddle around Australia in a two-man kayak. Although ostensibly incompatible teammates, professional New York fitness trainer Stiller and his Australian companion, fashion model Tony Brown, seize the challenge of moving from dream to reality and discover the vertiginous abyss that often separates the two. In their grueling expedition around what many consider one of the most beautiful and treacherous coastlines on the planet, Stiller and Brown are blasted by 12-foot waves, pelted and waterlogged by heavy rain, roasted by the glaring and ubiquitous sun, assailed by sharks, blown off course and benumbed by dank, frigid temperatures. Loneliness, exhaustion, frustration and bickering are finally compounded by the ultimate realization that no amount of rigorous training could have prepared them for this endeavor. Stiller and Brown undergo the most demanding emotional and physical experience of their lives. More than 20 years of kayaking experience shine through in Stiller’s myriad detailed, technical descriptions of the physical and mental priming needed for the journey and of the unpredictable imbroglios that arise when maneuvering a two-man kayak on rough seas. However, at times Stiller’s hyped descriptions of pinnacle moments and near-calamitous situations fall short of their intended impact.