The nights are getting longer, the kids are back in school, which means it’s TIME TO READ! To celebrate, I’m giving away this sweet little Surfer’s Library! Click here to enter!
#1 Caught Inside, A Surfer’s Year on the California Coast, by Daniel Duane (signed by the author!)
This honest and informative account covers the author’s struggles to become a decent surfer by spending a year trying in the Central Coast area of California. I fell in love with Duane’s writing in this book, which is heartfelt, funny, and sharp. I could relate to Duane’s struggles as he battles the difficult waves, hostile locals, and brutal winters. In Caught Inside, Duane also shares some of his personal life and interesting tidbits about wave dynamics, surf board design, and the many characters and colorful history of the California Coast.
#2 Killer Swell by Jeff Shelby (signed by the author!)
The idea of a surfing detective is brilliant and Shelby delivers a great yarn in this first of the Noah Braddock series. What I love about Shelby’s books are his characters: memorable, sometimes brash, funny, and always heroically strong. I’d love to go night surfing with Noah and have him on my side in a jam. Over the years, Shelby and I have become good friends. He’s a talented writer and I have learned a great deal from him.
#3 Women Who Surf by Marcus Sanders
This beautiful, fascinating book about the top female surfers is a must for any waterwoman. With gorgeous photography and excellent storytelling, Women Who Surf highlights 17 women and their accomplishments, from tackling big-waves spots in places like Peahi and Teahupoo to pushing their limits on the world tour, or overcoming challenges in a culture dominated by men.
#4 In Search of Captain Zero by Allan Weisbecker
Weisbecker shares the freedom, struggles, and blissful adventure in this classic surf road trip tale. Weisbecker abandons his home and possessions in search of his old friend who is lost somewhere deep in Central America. Weisbecker was the screenwriter for one of my favorite TV shows growing up: Miami Vice, and his storytelling is spot-on. I wanted to jump in my truck and follow Weisbecker on this dark and dangerous journey.
#5 The Wave by Susan Casey
I’m a science geek at heart so this book is right up my alley. Casey describes in perfect detail how rogue waves are related to changes in our climate and the scientists who are risking their lives to study them. She also profiles surf god Laird Hamilton and how surfing big waves is as important to him as breathing. I had the luck to interview Susan for a story for Women’s Adventure and she’s as sharp as a tack, a true inspiration.
#6 Murder on Molokai by Chip Hughes (signed by the author!)
This fun read about a Hawaiian surf detective as he tackles baffling mysteries is a treat. This first in the series has it all: great writing, exciting plot twists, and a mystery that opens up piece by delightful piece. I loved the scenery descriptions of Hawaii’s people, culture, and waves. It made me want to hop on a plane (though no burros for me, thanks!)
#7 Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn
This dark tale reveals the underbelly of the California surfing world, as told from a young runaway’s eyes as he embarks on a quest to find his missing sister. Along the way, Ike learns a lot more about life than he bargained for. I loved his journey from puppy to bulldog and how surfing played a critical role. A classic “surf noir.”
#8 Breath by Tim Winton
Winton is one of Australia’s top writers and this book shows why. Breath tells of a young boy searching for excitement in his small, backwater town, but the cost for the thrills he finds in surfing is higher than he bargains for. Breath is exceptional because of the delightful details and achingly human characters. When I read Winton’s work, I can feel the sea air and hear the gulls, I can feel the character’s heart beating and connect with his or her journey. The ending will break your heart but read it anyway!
#9 Kook by Peter Heller
I was soooo reluctant to read this book. After all, I actually wrote a very similar book a year before he did. Chasing Waves, A Surfer’s Tale Of Obsessive Wandering told of my struggles to become a surfer–fast, because I was an adult and I didn’t have ten years to play around in the whitewash and hope for the best. This is very similar to what Heller attempts to chronicle in Kook. But I have always loved Heller’s writing, so finally, I picked up a copy while on a surf trip to Mexco. Heller’s account of his 1-year blitz to ride a big, hollow wave is told with grit, poetry, and humor and I found myself rooting for him. Kook is like a macho version of Chasing Waves.
#10 Sister Surfer, A Woman’s Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage by Mary Osborne
Osborne’s book was the first “How To” geared for girls and women at a time when the sport was exploding with female surfers. She shares her wisdom and inspiration with tips like how to catch your first wave, how to find a surf buddy, and where to find the perfect surf spot. This is a timeless book for any girl or woman learning to surf.
#11 All Our Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis (signed by the author!)
Yogis again takes us on an unforgettable ride in this sequel to Saltwater Buddha. This book has more of a narrative feel than his other books, and I enjoyed the story of how he tries (and fails) to help his Tibetan friend. For Yogis and many of us, surfing is the ultimate healer, and his ability to share his vulnerability and search for inner peace will feed your soul.
#12 The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow
This fast-paced crime novel takes readers on a darkly comic and intriguing path. With great surfing, a twisty plot, and heroic surfer characters, The Dawn Patrol will keep readers turning pages well into the night (and begging for more).
#13 Groundswell by Katie Lee
Yes, she’s much better known for her cookbooks (which are amazing) and her celebrity lifestyle. But she caught the surfing bug and it inspired her to write a novel (hey, I know the feeling, surfing does that to people…) This well-crafted, sentimental tale combines that thrill we feel while surfing with a heartfelt love story, healing, and self-discovery. It’s like a glitzy Hollywood celebrity scoop from People magazine crossed with The Surf Lesson. I loved how the main character finally found happiness on her own terms.