10 Best Surfing Books Update 05/2022

Best Surfing Books

Surf books are an important part of every surfer’s life. Besides, it’s not always high and clear. However, that’s not always the case. When it comes to “best of” lists, I’m not Oprah Winfrey. I know a thing or two about stories that show the best parts of being a surfer. If you spend a lot of time daydreaming about your favorite hobby, ritual, or practice, it makes sense to read a thoughtful piece of writing that makes you even more excited to surf. They all show how and why we think that our next big wave is right around the corner. These fifteen books, plus two others, all show how and why we think this way. Think we haven’t read a good surf book? In the comments, you can add or suggest new things to the list. Happy reading, everyone.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Barbarian Days A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

For surfers who like strong writing, this book is worth reading. I pushed this one back. It’s a lot. Finnegan’s descriptions of getting to know waves, the cultures around them, and the people and relationships that pushed his life forward are very interesting. People who write for the New Yorker often use words that cost money, which can be annoying at times. But learning more about the English language is a good thing. Finnegan talks about how the desire to surf grows and fades over time, and I could very much relate. I wanted to be swept away by a wave again, but I didn’t know how to do it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that since I was a child. Beyond making me want to go surfing, his writing made me want to read more. The book is a big project. When Finnegan talks about sociopolitical changes, personal triumphs, and failures, he talks about how they all connect to the surfer’s lingering guilt: that we’re useless when compared to a much bigger world than the ocean. It’s a good book to read. I’m happy he wrote it. Thank you for reading it.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

It’s not every day that a surfer or climber starts a business that is one of the most well-known and socially responsible in the world. There is a podcast called “How I Built This.” If you haven’t already, you should. More grains of knowledge are singing out loud in these pages, and you can’t do better than spend a day at the beach reading them.

Surf Is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Yvon Chouinard’s words are important, and Gerry Lopez’s are, too. To be fair, Patagonia has a lot of people who surf, so it’s not surprising that Mr. Pipeline Lopez has helped lead them. Surf Is Where You Find It is Lopez’s book about the lessons he’s learned from a lifetime spent in the water. Lopez talks about them in 38 stories. Lopez has always had zen-like wisdom with him when he talks, and the same is true when he writes. He is able to learn important lessons about life from barrel-riding and the feeling of making epic waves. At a basic level, it feels like it’s true. Non-cheesy. In a way that only one of the most well-known surfers could do.

West of Jesus  by Steven Kotler

West of Jesus  by Steven Kotler

The book by Steven Kotler that I read fourth: West of Jesus West of Jesus is not about Jesus, despite the title. This is not the only thing that you can do. In this case, spirituality and religion aren’t the main things. At the same time, this is about both. Steven Kotler talks about all the different types of beliefs that people have when it comes to the ocean. The sea has been a part of man’s survival and spirituality all over the world and at every point in history that can be traced back. In some cases, science can help us understand why and how we feel better when we leave the water than when we came in. But sometimes, the only thing that can explain why we are so attached to a silly or not-so-silly ritual of riding walls of energy that have traveled a long way only to be met by people who are just like us is faith.

It’s not going to help if you’re one of those people who always think about how much they love surfing and even wonder why from time to time. Yes, you’ll finish the book with a better understanding of everything, but you’ll also leave with a little mind-blown-itus and a lot more curiosity.

For the Love by Kelly Slater

Yes, the GOAT is on the list. Obviously. This book came out in 2008, when Kelly Slater was only a 9-time world champion at the time. A few years ago, with the help of a writer named Phil Jarrat, he wrote Pipe Dreams (as a pesky six-time world champion). A few years are a short time to see how much and how little has changed both outside and inside his head and body. It’s amazing. People are excited for Slater’s post-career book because he wears his heart on his sleeve. We know it will happen at some point.

California Surfing and Climbing in the Fifties by Yvon Chouinard and Steve Pezman

So this book has become very rare. Hard to get your hands on To get to that time in California surf culture, you need a lot of luck, though. A few turns of the page, and you’re in the Golden Age. When you go to beach parties in Malibu, you’ll see pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the walls. Yvon Chouinard, who has a very chiseled body, is hanging out with friends after a climb. You get to go back in time and see how surf (and climbing) culture and the nostalgia that comes with it have grown over the years. This book does a better job of capturing that spirit than maybe any other one we’ve seen. People in California used to surf and climb a lot in the Fifties. Good job, this book.

The Code by Shaun Tomson

The Code by Shaun Tomson

Before he wrote this book, I was a fan of Shaun Tomson, and I still am now. Afterwards, I fell in love with him even more. As a group, we aren’t the best at openly telling each other about our lives and what we’ve learned. As a matter of fact, it makes the whole thing feel even more selfish because there’s no obligation to pay it forward. I’m sure many people do that. He does it very well, but not many people do it the same way

There isn’t much to the outline. It’s like Tomson is giving a direct lesson or rule that’s like surfing. He then talks about how that lesson came to him in a personal way, which could be from the memories he’s been having of a wave or even a bad wipe out that led him to that lesson. This is a man who went all over the world to follow his dreams. The things he learned in the water went far beyond riding waves. They opened his heart to new dreams and took him to new places. A lot of people wouldn’t want to go through what he has, but he came out of it with an even stronger desire to help surfers.

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

The Oprah Magazine’s former editor Susan Casey has written a book about science, rogue waves, and the author Laird Hamilton. If you’re a nerd like us, you’ll be excited when she does this. Casey gives the reader a seat on Laird’s jetski and a look into the minds of the world’s best scientists so that they can learn more about the ocean and its powerful feats. It’s a fun ride.

In Search of Captain Zero by Alan Weisbecker

In this memoir-like book, Weisbecker tells the story of how he packed up his belongings, dog, and left the United States to look for his lost friend in Mexico. It’s sometimes dark, but it will make you want to travel. There is danger, guilt, fear, and a desire for a peaceful, surf-based life. Keep an eye out for this one, because you might copy Weisbecker and leave your current life behind if you do this.

Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn

In this book, Point Break is based on. The first one. Also, it was a finalist for the National Book Award as well. You get to go back in time to a seedy, surf-ratty time in Huntington Beach. You can still see it in the neck tattooed bars on Main Street near the HB Pier. Nuff said, isn’t it?

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