7 must-read surf books that will inspire any surfer

Barbarian Days

Expand your surf knowledge out of the water! Get inspired with our pick of the best surf books to motivate you towards being a better surfer;

Surf for your Life – Mick Fanning, Tim Baker

Humble and candidly honest, three-time world champion Mick Fanning blends his incredible life story with practical advice on fitness and nutrition, surfing technique and finding mental focus.

One of the hardest working and nicest guys on the World Surf League, his road to the top has been littered with adversity and tragedy. From the death of his younger brother when Mick was 17 to a horrific near career ending injury, his can-do attitude and determination projected him to the top of the rankings.

Mick describes growing up in Australia, breaking onto the surf scene and the fierce love for his family. The book was published as Mick clinched his third world title in 2009 – way before further personal tragedies (the famous shark attack, death of his older brother and divorce). But it remains an incredible insight into this super human and how you can apply Mick’s wisdom to your own surfing.

Kook – Peter Heller

When Peter Heller turned 45, he had a midlife crisis and questioned his path in life. On a whim, he leant to surf which rapidly snowballed into an addiction. He set himself a pretty hefty challenge – to go from kook to shredding a hollow wave…in just a year.

‘Kook’ follows Peter’s journey as he travels from California to Mexico in a temperamental VW camper van with his girlfriend. Gritty, poetic and damn funny, the book is a classic road/surf trip tale about life, love, and the science and culture of surfing.

Gives hope to all us older surfers that there’s life beyond being a kook!

Mindfulness and Surfing: Reflections for Saltwater Souls

British surfer and travel writer Sam Bleakley takes a philosophical approach to surfing in this beautifully illustrated manual for soul surfers. He explores how surfing can be the ultimate meditation by being alert and active in our environment yet fully present in the moment – from waxing your surfboard to riding waves.

Blending history, environmentalism, culture and religion, Sam intersperses his own personal experiences with mindfulness exercises to help enhance your surfing and everyday life.

This unique perspective will make you think of surfing in a whole new light. It encourages us all to reflect, and be grateful for the ocean and art of wave riding.

Making Mavericks – Frosty Hesson

Written before the release of the Hollywood movie ‘Chasing Mavericks,’ Frosty Hesson’s autobiography reveals the story from Jay Moriarity’s mentor. Approached by Jay to help him become a better surfer, Frosty reveals how he taught Jay to ride Mavericks – the renowned and treacherous big wave surf spot in California.

Making Mavericks tells of Frosty’s troubled childhood and his passion for water from a very young age. Growing up and through his own personal experiences, Frosty developed life principles and mantras which he used to teach Jay.

A heart warming story of a strong friendship and father-son bond, Making Mavericks will inspire anyone to live life with passion and purpose.

Barbarian Days – William Finnegan

This Pulitzer Prize winning memoir follows the author’s life-long infatuation with surfing. From catching his first ride as a boy in California to chasing waves across the world, he outlines his intense and passionate relationship with the ocean.

With powerful and unique descriptions of waves, he combines these with moments of sheer danger where he almost drowns or is hurled against rocks. A roller coast ride that’s part life story and part road trip, William takes us on an endless wave hunt to the present moment where he still surfs in his 60’s.

Beautifully written, Barbarian Days is ideal for any obsessed surfer who believes surfing is their calling in life!

The History of Surfing – Matt Warshaw

Because every surfer should know the background! Written by a former pro surfer, editor of Surfer magazine and history graduate, Matt became an authority on surfing history and was quoted in 2005 as being the ‘caretaker of surfing history.’

From the Polynesian origins of surfing in the 1700s to the modern day, this visually stunning and well-written book explores surf culture, key highlights in surfing’s history, localism and the dark side of the sport.

Packed with quotes, humour and insightful stories from surfing greats, this comprehensive book is a must-have for anyone who calls themselves a surfer!

Around the Coast in Eighty Waves – Jonathan Bennett

Surfer Jonathan Bennett does the ultimate UK surf trip in an old, unheated campervan. Spanning 14 months, his journey takes him clockwise around the British coastline to surf at every beach where he could catch a wave.

From the Outer Hebrides to the Lizard in Cornwall, Jonathan shares tales of cold water surfing, sewage, seals and fellow surfers he meets along the way.

Surfing through the coldest winter for 30 years and experiencing isolation, Jonathan’s honest, funny and less than glamourous experience will warm the heart of every average surfer. Inspiring and hugely motivating!

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1 Comment

  1. Amy Waeschle
    June 29, 2017

    May I add two more books to your awesome list? Chasing Waves, A Surfer’s Tale of Obsessive Wandering, which is similar to Kook but written by a woman, published in 2009, and Going Over the Falls, a surf-saturated novel about love and sacrifices.

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