Best Surf Books Of All Time
Surfing’s depictions in literature and media are often cringy and barely tolerable at best. Occasionally, someone gets it right, and when they do, the book transcends the surfing world and is accepted by both non-surfers and surfers alike. A good surf book, whether fact or fiction, is full of fast-paced adventure. As the surf world becomes increasingly saturated, there’s nothing like diving deep into a story of surf exploration! In a world where tropical waves seem all but discovered and ridden, the few stories that tell the tale of an uncrowded paradise is what keeps us going. If you’re looking for the ultimate surf trip book, continue reading below for Faro Board Bags Guide to the Best Surf Books of All Time.
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life – William Finnegan
We couldn't start the list without putting this one on top. The best surfing book of all time? William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days is a gripping, Pulitzer Prize-winning account of an unparalleled life of adventure chasing surf. The now New Yorker reporter grew up between Hawaii and California, where he cut his teeth on some of today’s most celebrated waves. Shortly after graduating college, Finnegan embarked on a 4-year odyssey across the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa, where he pioneered world-class waves while living on the road.
In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road – Alan C. Weisbecker
As a surf brand rooted in New York this one hits home for us. In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road by Alan C. Weisbecker chronicles the former drug smuggler turned writer's attempt to chase down his childhood surfing buddy who fled south of the border in search of surf years prior. Weisbecker sets out with his dog in his camper and encounters a variety of characters and waves on his journey south. The story weaves in and out of his travel narrative and stories of his former life of crime. In Search of Captain Zero reads like a road novel and contains every emotional twist and turn you’d expect out of fiction, which is surprising given the story is a memoir.
Surf is Where You Find It – Gerry Lopez
Gerry Lopez needs no introduction. Mr. Pipeline has lived a life many of us could only dream of, mastering the fiercest wave on the planet, discovering waves in Indonesia, and exploring the world of yoga. Gerry Lopez details some of his greatest adventures in Surf is Where You Find It, a must-read surf book for surfers of all levels.
Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing – Chas Smith
The controversial surf journalist and Beach Grit founder Chas Smith is also a prolific writer of books of all genres, including surf books. Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing follows the story of Chas Smith navigating the tension and power dynamics of the North Shore during the height of the winter season. Smith pulls no punches as he dismantles the hierarchy of professional surfing with a witty, gonzo approach that will leave readers in fits of laughter or balling their fists in anger, depending on how they feel about certain professional surfers. Smith’s light-hearted approach to the heaviest surfers and lineups on the planet will fascinate anyone familiar with the surfing world.
The History of Surfing – Matt Warshaw
A personal hero of mine, Matt Warshaw is surfing’s unofficial historian. As the writer of The History of Surfing and the Encyclopedia of surfing, Warshaw details his immense knowledge of surfing’s past, present, and future. Warshaw leaves no stone unturned, from the first ancient wave riders in Hawaii and Peru to Surfing’s boom in the 1960s. For history buffs, surf geeks, and everyone in between, The History of Surfing by Matt Warshaw is a must-read surf book.
So, when is the best time to read a surf book? To be honest I often find myself craving surf trips just for the opportunity to have the free time to dive into a new book! Surfing books are often what I take along.
After you have your novel chosen, check out the Faro workshop for any other goods you might need before you set sail for your next surf trip.