William Finnegan: a wave is usually inseparable from the friend with whom he tried to climb its walls | Photo: Finnegan Archive

A short film portrait of William Finnegan's Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction novel "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life" has launched online.

The film, titled "William Finnegan - Barbarian Days," features an excerpt from the best-selling novel, together with stunning visuals of Byron Bay surfers and coastline.

It is narrated by William Finnegan and features former US surfing champion Rusty Miller.

The movie, by award-winning director Darius Devas (Being Films), was released to the general public for the first time since premiering at the Byron Bay Film Festival in October 2017.

Finnegan's "Barbarian Days" is a tribute to the writer's life-long obsession with surfing, capturing the mechanics of the activity in beautiful detail as well as exploring more mysterious, ineffable aspects of the sport.

"The science of surfers is not pure, obviously, but heavily applied. The goal is to understand the purpose of riding them - what the waves are doing and especially what they're likely to do next," Finnegan states.

"But waves dance to an infinitely complex tune. Surfing is a secret garden, not easily entered."

"My memory of learning a spot, of coming to know and understand a wave is usually inseparable from the friend with whom I tried to climb its walls."

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