Cover image for In search of Captain Zero : a surfer's road trip beyond the end of the road
In search of Captain Zero : a surfer's road trip beyond the end of the road
Weisbecker, A. C. (Allan C.)
Publication Information:
New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, [2001]

Physical Description:
xix, 328 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1216.5 .W55 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In 1996, Allan Weisbecker sold his home and his possessions, loaded his dog and surfboards into his truck, and set off in search of his longtime surfing companion, Patrick, who had vanished into the depths of Central America. In this rollicking memoir of his quest from Mexico to Costa Rica to unravel the circumstances of Patrick's disappearance, Weisbecker intimately describes the people he befriended, the bandits he evaded, the waves he caught and lost en route to finding his friend. In Search of Captain Zero is, according to Outside magazine, "A subtly affecting tale of friendship and duty. [It] deserves a spot on the microbus dashboard as a hell of a cautionary tale about finding paradise and smoking it away."

Author Notes

Allan Weisbecker's writings and photographs have appeared in Smithsonian, Men's Journal, Popular Photography, American Photo, Sailing, Surfer, Surfing, and The Surfer's Journal

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

From the author of the very weird novel Cosmic Banditos comes this enchanting combination of memoir and travelogue. It follows the author's quest to find his old friend, a fellow surfer who disappeared in 1992. After searching seven countries, Weisbecker found his comrade, living in a Central American rain forest, and their subsequent adventures (which feature, among other things, encounters with some modern-day pirates) are as thrilling and as entertaining as any fictional road trip could ever hope to be. Weisbecker, an accomplished photojournalist (he's contributed to Popular Photography and Smithsonian, among other publications), describes the friends' experiences memorably (and occasionally hysterically), but he spends as much time looking inward as he does taking in the countryside. This memoir is, like any good autobiography, a journey to the place where memories live, an adventure of the mind. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

The foundation of Weisbecker's book packing all of his belongings and his dog into a camper and heading for Central America in search of surf and self, a couple of years short of his 50th birthday has all the makings of a trite, midlife crisis memoir. But the author's flair for describing natural beauty, and his strong sense of narrative rhythm and uncompromising candor, make for a lovely personal reflection that mixes the right amount of dreamy meditation with page-turning allure. Weisbecker (Cosmic Banditos) leaves his Long Island home in search of his childhood friend Christopher, who undertook a similar journey five years earlier and whose only correspondence has been a cryptic postcard signed "Captain Zero." Interspersed in Weisbecker's reports of the people he meets and his neatly composed descriptions of surfing are stories from his past that pace the book, including a hilarious account involving Christopher, an 80-foot banana boat, 10 tons of Colombian marijuana and the front yard of an unsuspecting homeowner on the Housatonic River. Weisbecker clearly delights in storytelling as much as he enjoys language itself, though his writing can get top-heavy; he describes a friend's pest problem as "a zoomorphically motile disarrangement of darting mini-saurians along with fist-sized arachnids and their flossy nets." But usually his imaginative power is better spent, as when he describes an approaching thunderstorm: "The air is charged, buzzing and tingly with ionic discharge seeking ground; then with blinding, brittle bolts that air erupts, illuminating like overexposed photographs the landscape and adjoining sea." Such imagery with a balance of pathos and humor make Weisbecker's account very worthwhile reading. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The disappearance of a friend persuaded screenwriter, novelist, and surfer Weisbecker (Cosmic Banditos) to sell his Long Island home and travel through Mexico and Central America. The trip had the dual purpose of surfing waves and searching for his missing friend (nicknamed "Captain Zero"). The product of this two-year journey, this volume describes Weisbecker's adventures with a lively variety of people he met along the way. Weisbecker's is not the usual traveler's account of Latin America, focusing as it does on personal issues of life and commitment. This volume will be of interest to libraries with travel collections but of little value to Latin American collections, primarily because of limited descriptions of the actual countries visited. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Part I South, Baja Californiap. 1
Part II Deeper, Mainland Mexico and on to Central Americap. 113
Part III The Town at the End of the Roadp. 217
Part IV Beyond Itp. 279
Epiloguep. 317