The best surf books of all time
Surf books are the best way to learn about the culture and history of surfing. Classic surfboards, alternative lifestyles, surfing memoirs, epic tales, surf heritage, and science of the waves have all been published in quality reading materials.
When waves are too small or too big, there's nothing like a cold beer or hot chocolate by the seaside with a good looking surf book in our hands. Time will run fast, and you won't even notice the passing of time. There's so much to learn and discover in surf books that you'll be looking forward to getting a new one.
Surf books are usually written by surf historians, pro surfers, and surf journalists. More than the usual surf industry propaganda, books about surfing always have something new to reveal - a secret wave, a hot surf destination, a hidden wave peak, the transformation of coastal regions, wave riding stories, and lives of the surf legends.
Fortunately, surfing has been building an outstanding book legacy through time, and surf publications are released quite frequently. And we've selected a list of books every surfer should read.
A good surf book will teach you something that applies to your life. How did surfboards evolve? For example, knowing how and why the single fin era evolved to the thruster fin system will definitely make you rethink your daily fin setup.
SurferToday has selected a small sample of high-quality surfing books. There are thousands of excellent salt water titles for your pre or post surfing sessions. Your surfing library should feature the following books:
"The Encyclopedia of Surfing", by Matt Warshaw, is the most important surf book ever published. It features 1,500 alphabetical entries and 300 illustrations, and is widely considered the most comprehensive review of the people, places, events, equipment, and lively history of surfing. A must-have.
"The History of Surfing", also by Matt Warshaw, is a great book for those wishing to learn how surfing was seen by James Cook, back in 1778. At nearly 500 pages, with 250,000 words and more than 250 rare photographs, this is something you should add to your surf library.
"The World Stormrider Guide Volume 1, 2 and 3", by Bruce Sutherland, is the most detailed surf spot guide ever published. The trilogy explores the most famous surf peaks by adding description, photos, swell and wind patterns, ocean floor characteristics, and surf statistics.
"The Surfboard", by Ben Marcus, book has every single example of surfboard shapes and formats. From the first wooden and balsa boards to the modern materials, this surf book shows you monstrous "koa" planks from the ancient Hawaiian. Incredible.
"Surfing The Manual: Advanced" by Jim Kempton, is the best coaching manual for intermediate and advanced surfers. Get step-by-step photographic sequences with intuitive training captions, covering every maneuver in surfing. A fundamental surf book.
"The WetSand WaveCast Guide to Surf Forecasting", by Nathan Todd Cool, is one of the best surf science books in the market. Know the explanation behind waves, winds, water temperatures, tidal swings, etc. Learn how to predict when swells will arrive, how big waves will be, and telltale signs of common hazards.
"Fit to Surf", by Rocky Snyder, is the ultimate surfer's guide to strength and conditioning. Stay fit and learn the best physical exercises before you hit the waves. Features sample workout programs for more demanding maneuvers.
"Surfer Magazine: 50 Years", by Sam George, is a collection of the best features and most iconic images that made Surfer Magazine, in the last five decades. The ultimate stories, the legendary surf personalities, the evolution of surfboard design.
"Surfing Hawaii", by Rod Sumpter, is a complete guide for the most well-known to the not-so-well-known surf spots in the Hawaiian Islands, from Tavaras Bay on Maui to Waimea Bay, on Oahu to lesser-known Manele Bay, on the island of Lanai. Very useful.
"Making Mavericks: The Memoir of a Surfing Legend", by Frosty Hesson, is more than just a testimony of a Mavericks big wave pioneer. It tells the story behind the passion and ambition of Jay Moriarity, through the eyes of his mentor. It has lessons for our lives and careers. Better than many MBA classes.
"Surf Forecasting for Invasions During World War II", by John C. Crowell, tells the surprising true story of how a oceanographic meteorologist worked on wave forecasting for the planned Allied Invasion of Normandy. Crowell studied at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, and ended up forecasting swell for the D-Day. Absolutely incredible.
"Surfing The World", by Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor, is a great pocket guide. If you're traveling and surfing never forget this book. Spot after spot, every beach of the world gets its surfing characteristics, from wind direction to swell.
Discover our comprehensive list of surf books.