Author: Matt Warshaw
What's that sound coming from the beach? That's the rustle of pages turning, as would-be immortals look themselves up in The Encyclopedia of Surfing, surfing's first comprehensive reference book.
"The Encyclopedia of Surfing" chronicles nearly every bit of wave-riding - its history, places, mythology, champions, tragedies, in-jokes, and minutiae. Author Matt Warshaw, former editor of Surfer magazine, and his fellow researchers took three years to put together this prodigious tome. The most surprising thing about the book is its terrific readability.
Though the 1,500 entries are organized in typical encyclopedic style, one after the other alphabetically, none of them - not a single one - is completely boring. Not even the one on the technicalities of fin placement.
In fact, the book is a trap, leading unsuspecting readers on a wandering journey from pioneer surfer Duke Kahanamoku to the development of hollow boards to the lifeguards who used them to lifeguard Eddie Aikau to his home in Waimea Bay to...
Suddenly, hours have gone by and there's still the huge entry on Gidget to read. Illustrated like a dictionary, this book has only one or two small black-and-white photos every couple of pages.
A history of surfing introduces the entries; at the end, a bibliography, round-up of surf contest results, and lists of movies, magazines, and music provide the big finish.
Though Warshaw's first three books (SurfRiders, Above the Roar, and Maverick's) were entertaining looks at surfers and surfing, this one makes him the official Kahuna of surf lore. Surfing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, flinging hordes of people and buckets of money into the waves each year.
"The Encyclopedia of Surfing" is its new bible.