Take Off: Impact Zone, Get Tubed


Impact Zone: The most dangerous part of the wave. You gotta beat it...or you'll eat it.
Kai is stoked when he gets to Sun Haven. He hasn't been on a board in a while. And SH has some primo waves.
Screamers is the spot where you can regularly get tubed. Only it's patrolled by locals who keep it to themselves. They'll only let Kai into the lineup if he competes against one of them. This is everything Kai hates about surfing — the competition, the...

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Impact Zone: The most dangerous part of the wave. You gotta beat it...or you'll eat it.
Kai is stoked when he gets to Sun Haven. He hasn't been on a board in a while. And SH has some primo waves.
Screamers is the spot where you can regularly get tubed. Only it's patrolled by locals who keep it to themselves. They'll only let Kai into the lineup if he competes against one of them. This is everything Kai hates about surfing — the competition, the commercialism. He's a free surfer at heart. But if he doesn't take the challenge, he'll lose what he lives for: da kine waves.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-These books follow a summer in the life of Kai, a 15-year-old who has been forced to live with his con-artist father and dim-witted stepbrother ever since his mother died in a car accident. In Take Off, Kai arrives in the coastal town of Sun Haven (near New York City), where his father plans to set up yet another T-shirt store to scam tourists. He is immediately drawn to the ocean, which brings back memories, both pleasant and painful, of his surfing experiences in Hawaii, where he lived with his mom. He is eager to hit the waves, but quickly discovers that the best spot in town is off-limits to everyone but the wealthy and arrogant Lucas Frank and his friends. Kai is not only determined to surf Screamers, but to open it up to everyone. In Cut Back, Kai once again stands up to Lucas and his gang by helping his new friend, a teen with Tourette's Syndrome, surf in a local competition. While the abundant surfing lingo and descriptions make these books most appealing to enthusiasts of the sport, there's enough going on to hold the interest of a general audience. The plots are a bit far-fetched, but most of the teen characters are well drawn, while others, like Kai's father and stepbrother, are completely one-dimensional. Buy where surfing books or titles by this author are popular.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689870293
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Series: Impact Zone Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 836,185
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.32 (w) x 6.94 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Todd Strasser has written many critically acclaimed novels for adults, teenagers, and children, including the award-winning Can’t Get There from Here, Give a Boy a Gun, Boot Camp, If I Grow Up, Famous, and How I Created My Perfect Prom Date, which became the Fox feature film Drive Me Crazy. Todd lives in a suburb of New York and speaks frequently at schools. Visit him at ToddStrasser.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter Ten

"Good day, huh?" said the guy on the long board floating about a dozen feet away from Kai.

Kai nodded. "A little cold." Actually, he was freezing, shivering, his teeth chattering and his feet and hands numbed by the fifty-six-degree water. But the guy was right — it was a good day. Morning, really, considering it wasn't yet 8 A.M. Waist- to shoulder-high sets rolling in against an offshore breeze that kicked plumes of rainbow sea spray high over their heads. Considering how cold it was, had the conditions been anything less, Kai would have been back in the shop.

But now he had another reason to stay in the frigid water. He'd been watching this guy all week. He was definitely older than Kai, but maybe not that much older. Tall and skinny with hunched shoulders, long black hair in a thick braid down his back, a wispy Fu Manchu mustache and a sort of goofy look, but sick flawless on the long board. He paddled out on his knees, and once on a wave he traipsed up and down the deck like a tightrope walker, sometimes getting toes on the nose going left, then scampering back for a classic drop knee turn, changing direction and getting back to the nose on an inside right.

"That a three-two?" the guy asked, looking at Kai's wet suit.

Kai nodded and shivered. The tall guy was wearing a pretty new-looking 4/3 Body Glove, booties, gloves, and a neoprene hood.

"Dude, no wonder you're cold," the guy said. "I'm wearing all this and I'm cold too."

Kai looked closer and saw that his lips were blue. Suddenly the guy's back straightened and he lifted his head. Kai knew he was watching a wave come in. He turned and looked. The crest of the first wave in a good-size set was visible behind the closer smaller waves. The first wave of the set, typically, was only a promise of bigger ones behind it. Both Kai and the guy turned their boards toward shore and watched over their shoulders. They let the first wave in the set roll beneath them. The second wave loomed up behind it, an A-frame and definitely one of the largest of the day, its peak almost dead center between Kai and the other guy, who was already paddling left.

Kai knew the right would be shorter, but he was ready to go in and this was definitely the wave to take. He started to paddle and felt the water draw tight under the board and back up the wave's face. The tail of the board lifted and he was up and planing across the glassy curl, keeping the board high in the wave as he walked it, getting a cheater five over the nose then arching way back, holding it as long as he could. Which wasn't very long. The wave closed out and Kai stepped back to the tail and swung the nose around, hoping for an inside left. It wasn't there and so he rode in on the soup. Fifty yards to his left, the other guy had decided to do the same thing.

Kai carried the board up the beach to the dry sand and sat down. The sun was rising up in the east, but the cool offshore breeze limited its warming rays. The other guy paused for a moment in the shallows to wrap the leash around the tail of his board, then walked up and sat down next to Kai.

"Great freakin' day if it wasn't so cold," the guy said.

"Yeah," Kai answered through chattering teeth.

"Where'd you learn to go switch foot like that?"

"Don't know," Kai said. "I just always could. Where'd you learn to walk a board like that?"

"From a book," the guy said, stripping off the gloves and rubbing his white, wrinkled hands together.


"For sure. I used to sort of slide my feet up and back like everybody else, and then I was reading this book and it said the real way to walk the board was the cross-step. Like Wingnut did in Endless Summer Two, you know? The book said you can practice it anywhere, so for about a month I practiced walking the board wherever I was." The guy stood up and pretended to walk the board in the sand. "I'd do it on the sidewalk, in stores, at the library. You name it."

"Didn't people think you were kind of weird?" Kai asked.

"So what else is new?" The guy offered his hand to Kai. "I'm Bean."

"Kai." They shook hands.

"You new around here?" Bean asked.

Kai nodded.

"Where're you from?"

Kai explained that he was originally from Hawaii and had just bounced around from place to place since then.

"Hawaii, man," Bean said wistfully. "Average air temperature around seventy-eight degrees. Average water around seventy-five. You never need a wet suit."

"You've been there?" Kai said.

Bean shook his head. "Read about it."

Out at the break where they'd just been surfing, another set rolled in. Clearly there was some sort of deviation in the sea bottom at that spot, because the swells jacked up and peaked there pretty consistently.

"So that place where we were surfing, does it have a name?" Kai asked.


"For real?"

"Yeah, the story is way back in the old days they built a sewer line from the town out here. Can you believe it? I mean, they were trying to be a beach resort and at the same time they were pumping raw sewage into the ocean fifty yards offshore. Anyway, after a while the state told them they had to shut it down, so they did, but they just left what was out there. Under that spot where the waves break, there's a bunch of cement and pipes down under the sand. It's kind of funny how something bad turned out to be something good, you know?"

"Hey." A kid trotted up carrying a blue bodyboard and blue-and-yellow flippers. He had brownish hair and freckles and was wearing a shorty wet suit. Kai figured him for about thirteen or fourteen years old. "You guys been out? It looks rippin'."

"Be prepared to freeze your butt," Bean warned him. "Water's probably around fifty-five degrees this morning."

"One good ride and it'll be worth it," the kid said, and looked curiously at Kai.

"Booger, meet Kai," Bean said.

The freckled kid nodded at Kai. "Hey."

They heard loud hoots and looked down the beach. A small crowd of short boarders were riding near the jetty in the break they called Screamers. One of them was crouched down, hand on the rail in a small tube. Kai was not surprised to see that it was the same guy he'd seen out surfing with his father the week before. He and his crowd were there most mornings by 7 A.M. Kai had been watching them all week. They had that king-of-the-hill don't-mess-with-us attitude. Anytime an outsider got too close, they were seriously vibed. This being a resort town, a lot of surfers wouldn't be local. But even a surfer who'd never surfed there before knew the vibe when it was aimed at him, and knew to steer clear.

The guy who'd just gotten tubed finished his ride and kicked out, raising his hands in fists as he and his board sank in the trough.

"Lucas Frank," Bean said. "Local surf hero."

"His dad owns Sun Haven Surf," Booger said. "You ever hear of Buzzy Frank?"

Kai shook his head.

"They say he's the best surfer to ever come out of the northeast," Booger said.

"Not that it means much when you're going up against guys who surf Sebastian Inlet and Pipeline every day of the year," Bean added. "But he was on the pro tour for a while and kept up with some pretty heavy dudes. Then he came back here and used his rep to start Sun Haven Surf."

"And now Lucas and his friends think they own Screamers?" Kai asked.

"You have to ask?" Bean replied.

Locals. It was the same story everywhere. The brahs got together wherever the surf was the best and acted like they owned the break. Anyone else who tried to surf there got his ass kicked, either in the water or on the beach. Sometimes both. It was an old story, but one Kai knew all too well.

Kai stood up. "Tell you what. We get the same swell tomorrow morning, someone's going to have to go over there and pay them a visit."

Bean and Booger shared a look.

"I wouldn't do that," Bean said. "The local scene here is way heavy. I mean, you take your life in your hands."

"Too bad," said Kai.

"This I gotta see," said Booger.

Text copyright © 2004 by Todd Strasser

Chapter Twelve

The swell was smaller the next morning. Only knee to waist high. It was still dark when Kai left the store. He planned to be surfing Screamers before the first local showed up, and to surf the entire day. It was one of those rare days when, for no apparent reason, his father told him to take off and not come back to the store until after dinner.

To Kai's surprise, someone got to the beach before him. In the dim predawn light, it took him a moment to make out the tall, thin figure and the long board lying on the sand. It was Bean.

"I knew it," Bean said when he saw Kai coming down the beach.

"How's that?" Kai asked, putting his board down and starting to wax it. The sky was lightening, now allowing only the brightest of stars to shine through.

"Don't know," Bean said. "I just knew it, is all. You don't seem like the kind who'd back down."

Kai finished waxing and picked up his board. "You coming?"

"Me?" Bean's brow furrowed.

Kai pointed toward Screamers. The waves weren't curling top to bottom the way they had the day before, but they were still breaking smoothly right to left. "Nobody's even out there yet."

"But you know they're gonna come," Bean said.

"Is it that bad here?" Kai asked. "You can't even surf a spot when no one's around?"

Bean stared down at the sand for a moment, then looked back up. "Okay, you're on. Let's go."

A few moments later they were both in the water, paddling toward Screamers. They hardly had time to catch their breaths when a waist-high set came in. Kai spun his board around and got on the second wave in the set. He could see why Screamers was the primo break. The wave was faster and less sectiony. In no time he had five toes over the nose and was crouching back, feeling the board plane along the face. After he finished his ride, he saw Bean dropping off his board twenty yards away. The guy must have caught the wave after his. With a big smile on his face Bean raised his hand in a triumphant fist and pumped it. They both started to paddle back out.

"That was bitchin'!" Bean said once they were both outside again, sitting on their boards and scanning the horizon for the next set.

"Yeah." Kai felt himself smile. He'd already had a ride so good that the rest of the day would be icing on the cake.

"Can't believe I never rode here before," Bean said.

Kai didn't say anything, but he couldn't believe it either. As far as he knew, Bean had grown up here in Sun Haven. How was it possible he'd never surfed Screamers before?

"Uh-oh," Bean blurted out and gestured toward the beach. Three guys with short boards under their arms were giving Kai and Bean some serious stink-eye. One was Lucas Frank. The other two were also regulars at Screamers. One was a big, muscular guy with a practically shaved head and a black barbwire tattoo around his neck. His surfing technique reminded Kai of a bullfighter intent on hacking every bull into pieces. The other was a slight black guy with dreadlocks, whose style of surfing showed some finesse and creativity.

The three short boarders hit the water and started paddling toward Kai and Bean, who immediately got prone on his board.

"Sorry, dude, this is where discretion becomes the better part of valor," he said, and started to paddle away toward Sewers.

A set came through, but Kai didn't take a wave. He preferred to wait and see what the locals did. Lucas and his brahs got out there and didn't even look at him. They just sat on their boards waiting for a wave, acting as if he wasn't there.

Kai saw another set coming and paddled to get into position. Being on the long board meant he could start farther out than the other guys. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the other guys paddling too. The set came in. Kai let the first wave pass. So did the other guys. The second wave was definitely rideable. Kai let it go. If the short boarders were there to surf, one of them would take it. But all three of them let it go. Now Kai understood what was happening. The third wave of the set was coming. Kai made no effort to take it. Then at the last second, he spun his board around and paddled hard, just managing to catch the wave. A second later the black guy dropped in on him. Kai had expected that, and as the guy dropped down the face of the wave, Kai put his weight on the toeside rail, forcing his board up and over the other surfer.

The black guy did a nice sweeping bottom turn and headed back up the face. Kai squatted and drove the nose of the long board down, picking up speed and outrunning the short boarder, who hit the lip and wheeled around. Once again Kai forced the long board up into the wave, but it was no longer a contest. The wave was losing its energy and there was no way the black guy could possibly catch him.

Kai dropped down on his board, turned it around, and began to paddle over the fourth wave of the set.

And that was when the big guy hit him.

Text copyright © 2004 by Todd Strasser

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2005


    i really really liked this book, and cant wait to read the others. Kai makes me want to go out and meet people so bad. its so easy for him to get into the new swing of things wherever he moves which makes me depressed becuase ive lived in the same place for 20 years and still am trying to find cool freinds. his personality is awsome and the rest of the characters are differnt in thier own ways. this book definitly made me want to go to the shore. but the one thing i kinda didnt think needed to be in the book was when Kai woke up in jewel's? (the girl from the surf shop) house so i guess they had sex??? i didnt feel like that needed to be in there becuase it didnt lead up to anything ecxept freindship for both of then..but other then that very good. surfs up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    Take Off: Impact Zone, Get Tubed

    this book really makes me want to learn to surf! i totally cant wait to so it. the entire series are great and i read them all in like a week! fantastic book and you should reallyread it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Take Off: Impact Zone, Get Tubed

    this is sucha great book that is full of adventures and loads of fun! there really needs to be more of these books!! i totally love it and now i want to learn to surf!!!read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2004


    This book is so cool! I loved it, everyone who is interested in surfing has to read it.Even if u are interested the least bit. Its a really good book and i read it in a day! Im reading the second one rite now....then ill read the third. READ IT EVERYONE

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