THE BOOK: Becoming Westerly: Surf Legend Peter Drouyn’s Transformation into Westerly Windina.
PUBLISHED IN: 2014.
THE AUTHOR: Jamie Brisick
THE EDITOR: Jane Palfreyman/Jon Roemer
THE PUBLISHER: Allen and Unwin/Outpost19
SUMMARY: In the sixties and seventies, Australian Peter Drouyn was one of the world’s greatest surfers. He pioneered an aggressive approach called “power surfing,” introduced the man-on-man competition format, and charged giant waves in Hawaii. A Zelig figure, he took on many roles―method actor, surf resort owner, modeling school founder, and lawyer to name but a few. For nearly the past decade, Peter has been living as a woman, Westerly Windina, a complex, aspiring entertainer. Beginning with her 2012 trip to Bangkok for gender reassignment surgery, BECOMING WESTERLY traces Peter Drouyn’s odyssey from teenage Queensland hopeful to 1960s surf champion to embittered has-been who struggles to rise again as the glamorous, sixty-four-year-old Westerly. Surf journalist Jamie Brisick provides an intimate exploration of global surf culture―a nuanced portrait of Peter/Westerly and the world that shaped her evolving identity.
THE BACK STORY: In 2009 I traveled to Australia to write a profile of Westerly Windina, formerly Peter Drouyn. As a lifelong surfer, and a longtime chronicler of surf culture, I liked that this story kicked against the stereotypes. I was really happy to get behind Westerly. I have a soft spot for outsiders. We hit it off. The profile turned into a documentary — and a book. We went on a long ride together.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It’s a trans-story, and it’s set in an often narrow-minded milieu: surfing.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “BECOMING WESTERLY is much more than a book about a celebrated surfer who becomes a woman — in this case, a dude who becomes a diva. Brisick presents us with a case study of narcissism, of the pathology of celebrity, and a detailed look at the complex world of competitive surfing. It is a funny and painful book, too, and one I greatly enjoyed.” – Paul Theroux.
“You’ve never read anything like BECOMING WESTERLY. Peter Drouyn is a character beyond the capacities of almost any novelist to imagine — and then he turns into someone else. Jamie Brisick traces the emergence of Westerly Windina with so much empathy, eloquence, and patience. His book is dazzling, devastating, funny and surpassingly strange.” – William Finnegan.
“Caitlyn Jenner is dinnertime conversation in households across America. We are learning a brand-new language. . . Jamie Brisick’s ‘Becoming Westerly’ is an excellent place to start. . .” – Los Angeles Times
AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up surfing in Los Angeles, became a pro surfer, very fortunately got to travel the world on the ASP Tour. When my career abruptly ended I started writing about surfing — and other subjects. My work has been published in The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker online.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I was fascinated by Westerly above all else, thus this is more a portrait of a complex person than a study of a trans person. I probably put my foot in my mouth on more than one occasion. But I wrote from the heart.
LOCAL OUTLETS: n/a
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.jamiebrisick.com