10 of the Best Books for Surfers (Explained)

The best books for surfers include “Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan, “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvon Chouinard, “The Wave” by Susan Casey, “For The Love” by Kelly Slater, and “In Search of Captain Zero” by Alan Weisbecker. These books capture the spirit, culture, and adventures of surfing.

Whether you’re looking to add surf books to your own collection or trying to figure out ideas for surf gifts for for him or her, out list of surf books below is worth checking out.

Surfing adventures lead themselves well to inspiring surf art and literature.

Ultimately, who doesn’t want to read about fearless surfers, sage wisdom, original experiences, and exotic travel.

There are hundreds of what some to consider best books for surfers out there, here are our favorites.

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10 of the Best Books for Surfers

1. Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

Barbarian Days Surf Books

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The first book on our list of best books for surfers is Barbarian Days.

This award-winning autobiography chronicles the author’s obsession with surfing, and how it has complexly enchanted him.

Surfing may look like a sport, but it is so much more than that.

For the uninitiated, surfing is an addictive activity that necessitates a lot of commitment and research.

Some also see it as a morally ambiguous pastime.

Finnegan grew up in California and Hawaii where he started surfing at an early age.

He has since gone on to travel the world chasing waves, spending years exploring the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa.

A bookish boy turned adventurous young man; he eventually went on to become a well-known writer and war correspondent.

Finnegan transports us to far-flung locales, some of which are right beneath our noses—off the coastlines of New York and San Francisco in Barbarian Days.

He submerges the reader in the close male friendships formed in severe surfs.

Finnegan recounts stories from his time at an elite school on Oahu, where he was a member of a whites-only gang.

During the 1960s, social revolutions changed both children and adults’ lives forever.

He discusses the technicalities of well-known waves, as well as his own training to them. youthfulness – He takes LSD while riding enormous Honolua Bay in Hawaii; rueful humor is added to the story.

After traveling throughout many different islands, Finnegan comes upon a beautiful Samoan fishing village where life seems simple and carefree.

Barbarian Days is a multi-faceted exploration of an intricate, little-understood art that traces his progress from a dark and dangerous childhood in the jungles of Tau to an uneasy adulthood spent surfing on an Indonesian black market ravaged by war.

2. Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Let My People Go Surfing Surf Books

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Yvon Chouinard is a legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and creator of Patagonia, Inc. In this book, he talks about the perseverance and bravery it takes to be a CEO.

Is it possible to have it all?

That’s the theme of this book, which is about a young man who combined doing good and having great experiences into his professional life.

He was the son of a French Canadian handyman.

Then he began participating in thrilling, ambitious climbing excursions that fueled his inventive ideas for sporting equipment.

This narrative is about a guy who blended charity work with other interests into his job.

3. The Wave by Susan Casey

The Wave Surf Books

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Mariners have spun yarns of titanic waves, 100 feet tall or higher for centuries. Scientists dismissed these stories until recently—waves that high would appear to violate the laws of physics.

However, in recent years, as a stunning number of ships vanished and fresh evidence has emerged.

The oceanographers recognized that something terrible was happening in the planet’s seas.

In February 2000, a British research vessel was trapped in a huge wave.

These waves were abnormally tall and posed a challenge to others.

Laird Hamilton and his friends popularized the sport of extreme surfing in Hawaii.

They seek to ride the world’s tallest waves, some reaching up to 100 feet high.

Casey follows this community as they attempt to achieve the holy grail of their sport.

In this book, the exploits of Hamilton and other surfers are placed side by side with scientists who are desperately trying to understand how waves can be so destructive.

You’ll read about the tsunami that 267,000 people in 2004, as well as the 174-foot wave that hit Alaska recently.

The Wave does a great job of showing what it’s like for humans when they’re confronted by nature at its angriest.

4. Classic Krakauer by John Krakauer

Jon Krakauer Surf Book

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This book is a great read for anyone who wants to learn about all sorts of things.

The author, Jon Krakauer, is a great writer and his articles have been published in magazines like The New Yorker, Outside, and Smithsonian.

Classic Krakauer is filled with gripping investigative reporting and explains why he is considered one of the best journalists today.

These articles explore a wide range of topics and locations.

You can learn about an avalanche on Mt. Everest, a volcano that could destroy Seattle, and the notebook of Fred Beckey.

There is also an article about a wilderness teen-therapy program and the last days of legendary surfer Mark Foo.

The pieces in Classic Krakauer are all written with the same level of careful research and vivid storytelling, based on the author’s never-ending search for truth and beauty.

5. Mr. Sunset: The Jeff Hakman Story by Phil Jarratt

Mr Sunset Surf Books

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Jeff Hakman is a surfing legend who wrote a book about his experiences.

When he was thirteen, he surfed waves that were as high as houses.

When he was seventeen, he became the world’s best big wave surfer.

When he was twenty-one, he became the king of large wave surfers.

When he was thirty, he became one of the first millionaires in the surfing industry.

He had a hard life because of his drug addiction.

The young boy who surfed Waimea Bay with his father helped him get out of the gutter and start again.

If you want to learn about surf culture, Mr Sunset is the book for you.

It has photographs that nobody has ever seen before.

The photographers are some of the best in the world.

6. Girl In The Curl by Andrea Gabbard

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The number of female surfers in the world has been steadily increasing.

The Girl in the Curl is one of the few surfing books with color pictures.

It captures an important but under-reported aspect of the sport’s history.

This book chronicles 100 years of women in surfing, from Layne Beachley to Lisa Anderson, two-time worldwide champn

7. The Code by Shaun Thompson

The Code Surf Book

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In this book, Shaun Tomson shares twelve stories from his own life to show readers how the power of “I will” can be truly transformational.

Whether facing challenges in or out of the surfing world, commitment to positive values is key.

These stories offer encouragement and hope for anyone struggling to find their voice and achieve their goals.

8. Surf Is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Surf Is Where You Find It Surf Books

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Gerry Lopez, one of the most famous and respected surfers, wrote Surf Is Where You Find It.

This book is a compilation of surfing stories that also teach you things.

It is perfect for any surfer, beginner or experienced.

Because it has over 30 stories from different people in the surfing world, this book shows you different ways to look at surfing so you can appreciate it more.

This book is a classic for surf fans everywhere, conveyed through Gerry’s distinct voice and images from his personal collection.

9. In Search of Captain Zero by Alan Weisbecker

In Search of Captain Zero surf books

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Allan Weisbecker’s story of his four-year search for his long-time surfing buddy.

He recounts the people he met, the robbers he avoided, and the waves he caught (and lost) on this trip in his memoir.

One of the few surf novels that reads like a surf movie!

10. Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn

Tapping the Source surf book

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“Surf noir” classic by Kem Nunn is a spine-chilling dive into the sinister side of a Southern California beach town.

The movie based off of this book was one in few surf novels to be brought to life on film.

11. Surf Shacks

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Surfing embodies a lifestyle, influenced by waves and tides with tranquil interludes. Surf Shacks showcases the diverse residences of surfers, from NYC apartments to cabins by Royal National Park or quaint Hawaiian huts. These communities brim with artistic flair and innovation. Delving into surfers’ homes, Surf Shacks offers glimpses into their gardens, music tastes, and art studios, unveiling a deeper, personal layer to the surfing world and its vibrant inhabitants.