When we're not surfing, one of our favorite go-to activities during down time is getting lost in a good book. Or learning tools and tips to enhance our surf performance. Check out some of the Surf Sister favorites.
By Lara Einzig
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
A visually stunning journey across the world’s oceans, featuring soulful surfers living with purpose
“The women in this book are my sea sisters and I believe that by sharing these remarkable stories, we inspire other women to make wiser and more empowered choices in their own lives.”—Kassia Meador, former pro-longboarder and founder of Kassia+Surf
Women Making Waves is a celebration of the sisterhood of surfing, featuring extraordinary women from the United States, Philippines, Mexico, Australia, Senegal, Japan, France, and beyond. Author Lara Einzig profiles more than two dozen inspiring female surfers from around the globe—from activists to artists—who are breaking new ground on land and finding healing, joy, and community in the water.
There is Maya Gabeira, a Brazilian woman who surfed the biggest wave of anyone in 2020; Bonnie Wright, the British actress, activist, and author; Risa Mara Machuca, who runs a free surfing camp in Mexico for local children; and Zara Noruzi, an Iranian exile who found peace on the water in Australia.
Through candid interviews on the transformational power of surfing, and with immersive photography of beautiful beaches, surf shacks, and favorite breaks, Einzig captures the life-altering strength and resilience that these women discover in their connection to the waves. Women Making Waves captures the innate, spiritual essence of our connection to the ocean, inviting us all to paddle out.
By Kim McKoy
The Bestselling Classic Updated for Surfers, Sailors, Oceanographers, Climate. Activists, and Those Who Love the Sea.
First published in 1963 and updated in 1979, this classic was an essential handbook for anyone who studies, surfs, protects, or is fascinated by the ocean. The original author, Willard Bascom, was a master of the subject and included a wealth of information, based on theory and statistics, but also anecdotal observation and personal experience. It brought to the general public understanding of the awesome and complex power of the waves.
This revision from Kim McCoy adds recent facts and anecdotes to update the book’s relevance in the time of climate change. One of the most significant effects of global warming will be sea-level rise. What will this mean to waves and beaches, and what effects are we already seeing? New text and photos cover events such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina flooding of 2005, and the 2011 earthquake and resulting devastation in Fukishima.
As well as students, surfers, and the general public, this updated edition of a beloved classic is an essential handbook for climate scientists and ocean activists, providing clear explanations and detailed resources for the constant battle to preserve the shore.
By Liz Clark
Chasing a dream is never easy, but if you go far enough, it will set you free.
Captain Liz Clark spent her youth dreaming of traveling the world by sailboat and surfing remote waves. When she was 22, she met a mentor who helped turn her desire into reality. Embarking on an adventure that most only fantasize about, she set sail from Santa Barbara, California, as captain of her 40-foot sailboat, Swell, headed south in search of surf, self, and the wonder and learning that lies beyond the unbroken horizon.
In true stories overflowing with wild waves and constant challenges, at the whim of the weather, of relationships sweet and sour, of nature's marvels and colorful cultures, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail in this memoir, sharing tales of sailing in high seas, of solitude and surprises, of finding connection to the earth and commitment to living in harmony with it. She witnesses how her dream leads her to understanding the unity of all things.
More than 10 years, 20,000 miles, countless adventures, and one cat later, she's still out there.
By William Finnegan
Publisher: Penguin Press
- **Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography**
- Included in President Obama’s 2016 Summer Reading List
- “Without a doubt, the finest surf book I’ve ever read . . . ” —The New York Times Magazine
Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.
Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses—off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships forged in challenging waves.
Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu. He shows us a world turned upside down for kids and adults alike by the social upheavals of the 1960s. He details the intricacies of famous waves and his own apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly—he drops LSD while riding huge Honolua Bay, on Maui—is served up with rueful humor. As Finnegan’s travels take him ever farther afield, he discovers the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissects the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, and navigates the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs, carrying readers with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity.
Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little-understood art.
By AJ Dungo
A tale of love, heartbreak and surfing from an important new voice in comics. In Waves is Craig Thompson's Blankets meets William Finnegan's Barbarian Days.
In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.
By Vicky Heldreich Durand
Philosophy defines the dynamic and hard-fought life of Betty Pembroke Heldreich who believed that anything exciting was worth trying at least once. When her airplane went down, the young pilot got back up.
Wave Woman is a charming and intimate biography, a love letter from a daughter to her progressive mother who broke glass ceilings with simple curiosity and desire. Betty trained to swim in the 1936 Olympic Games. She eloped on a hunch and learned the tough lessons of love. With an entrepreneurial creativity and a drive for self-sufficiency, Betty found meaning as a sculptor, a dental hygienist, a jeweler, a fisherwoman, a potter and a poet. In Hawaii, the thrill of big waves crashing at Makaha Beach inspired the 41-year-old mother to pick up a surfboard, conquer her fears and compete as a champion! Wave Woman speaks clearly to all women–and men–searching for self-confidence, fulfillment and true happiness.
By Diane Cardwell
The inspirational story of one woman learning to surf and creating a new life in gritty, eccentric Rockaway Beach
Unmoored by a failed marriage and disconnected from her high-octane life in the city, Diane Cardwell finds herself staring at a small group of surfers coasting through mellow waves toward shore—and senses something shift. Rockaway is the riveting, joyful story of one woman’s reinvention—beginning with Cardwell taking the A Train to Rockaway, a neglected spit of land dangling off New York City into the Atlantic Ocean. She finds a teacher, buys a tiny bungalow, and throws her not-overly-athletic self headlong into learning the inner workings and rhythms of waves and the muscle development and coordination needed to ride them.
As Cardwell begins to find her balance in the water and out, superstorm Sandy hits, sending her into the maelstrom in search of safer ground. In the aftermath, the community comes together and rebuilds, rekindling its bacchanalian spirit as a historic surfing community, one with its own quirky codes and surf culture. And Cardwell’s surfing takes off as she finds a true home among her fellow passionate longboarders at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, living out “the most joyful path through life.”
Rockaway is a stirring story of inner salvation sought through a challenging physical pursuit—and of learning to accept the idea of a complete reset, no matter when in life it comes.
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