“THE NATION OF KEN,” BY BRUCE JENKINS

"The Nation of Ken," by Bruce Jenkins, a 22,000-word XXL profile on big-wave surfer Ken Bradshaw, ran in the Spring 2001 issue of Surfer's Journal. This version has been slightly edited from the original.

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A lesser man would be dead drunk by now. A weaker man would be railing against a system that rarely calls his name. Ken Bradshaw could be a lot of things at 48: melancholy, delusional, spent. Instead, he smiles easily. It’s a look of confidence and experience. And if you don’...