Urban Surfer’s Favourite Surf Books To Keep You Going Through The Winter

Winter is coming! As the temperatures start to drop and even the thought of going for a stroll down the beach becomes impossible, one of the best things to do is curl up on the sofa with a good book! I have compiled a list of my favourite surf books to keep you going through the winter months and to provide some inspiration for next season!

SALTWATER BUDDHA, A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea by Jaimal Yogis

This is a charming book. We follow Jaimal Yogis as he recounts his story of running away to find himself. We can all identify with this book in our own way. He describes experiences that we have all undergone at some point in our lives. It is easy to read and draws the reader in immediately. Yogis is a spokesman for a non-profit called Surf for Life. I read Saltwater Buddha and I felt so inspired by his journey I signed up to volunteer with one of their trips. I cannot recommend this book more!

We follow Jaimal through childhood and teenage years to an early adulthood spent in search of self and some other purpose in life than riding the waves…it conjures what landlubbers like myself — even those of us who frequent the surfer city of Laguna Beach — imagine the surfer’s life to be. It also, pleasingly, rides over easily at times into truly lyrical descriptions of the meeting points between land, and sky, and ocean.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-clothier/saltwater-buddha-a-surfer_b_191590.html

SWELL by Lauren Davies

Swell is the ultimate surf chick read. It has everything you could ask for! Think glamorous locations, glitzy parties, gorgeous surfers and great waves. Just throw in a tropical beach and some passion and you have the perfect winter diversion!

SWELL opens the doors to the professional surfing scene and takes you around the world on a wave of love, tragedy, drama, glamour and romance. SWELL – the next wave might just turn out to be the ride of your life.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23380891-swell

SURF MAMA: One Woman’s Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave by Wilma Johnson

This book follows the lead character Wilma on a journey of discovery and rejuvenation. At the age of 44, Wilma opts for some new beginnings upon discovering the joys of surfing. This book touches the chord of every surfer who understands that feeling of catching your first wave. Johnson has an honest and extremely witty writing style that draws the reader in instantly.

An autobiographical novel by a self-professed earth mother turned surf babe, who after ten years living on the remote west coast of Ireland had three children, a few chickens, a failing marriage and the beginnings of a mid-life crisis to show for it. The answer: relocate to Biarritz and defy the male-dominated surfing scene by learning to surf. Though her writing is narcissistic at times, Wilma is hilarious. Her tongue-in-cheek humour makes it seem okay to reinvent yourself post-40, post-children and post-divorce, to admit your shortcomings but to throw them aside and ride the wave. It’s a light-hearted read for women looking for inspiration to change their path.” https://www.frenchentree.com/reviews/surf-mama-by-wilma-johnson/

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

This book takes the readers for a journey through the history of surfing. From the evolution of surfboard design, the transition from longboards to short boards, all the way to tow in surfing.  Barbarian Days tells the story of Finnegan’s road trip and his ensuing love affair with the sport of surfing. The narrative takes us from his early days of surfing on the California coast, to his youth in Hawaii, a persistent global wave hunt, life changing surf trips to Fiji and Madeira as an adult, and lastly to the cold winter waves near his home in New York, where he still continues to surf.

There are too many breathtaking, original things in “Barbarian Days” to do more than mention here — observations about surfing that have simply never been made before, or certainly never so well: the postsurf moods of “pleasant melancholy” or “mild elation”; the “charged and wild inclination to weep” that comes in the wake of unusually intense rides or ­wipeouts; the unlikely facial expressions actually worn by a surfer in the act of riding a demanding wave; and ­visionary descriptions of oceanic beauty occasionally met with in surfing but seldom done justice.https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/books/review/barbarian-days-a-surfing-life-by-william-finnegan.html

Kook: What Surfing Taught me about Love, Life and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Keller

Kook is a brilliantly entertaining book, it is a great read for both surfers and non-surfers alike. Peter Heller, a self-proclaimed kook (a beginner) takes us on a journey into the world of surfing. This is a feel good book that makes all of us want to run to the nearest surf spot!

With grit, poetry, and humor, Peter Heller, acclaimed author of The Whale Warriors recounts his remarkable journey of discovery—of surfing, an entirely new challenge; of the ocean’s beauty and power; of the strange surf subculture; of love; and, most of all, of how to seek adventure while crafting a meaningful life…Having resolved to master a big-hollow wave— that is, to go from kook (surfese for beginner) to shredder—in a single year, Heller travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico in the company of his girlfriend and the eccentric surfers they meet. Exuberant and fearless, Heller explores the technique and science of surfing the secrets of its culture, and the environmental ravages to the stunning coastline he visits.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8532187-kook


 In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer’s Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road by Allan Weisbecker

This astonishing tale takes us on the adventures and misadventures of Weisbecker as he embarks on a mission to find his old pal Captain Zero. It is hard to believe that this is actually a memoir and not a fictional account. Weisbecker takes us on a journey from his home in New York to unruly Central America. His trip is overflowing with deep reflections and meditations, inaccessible waves, flamboyant characters and challenging encounters. This is an authentic tale of genuine surfers living nomadic lifestyles.

In 1996, Allan Weisbecker sold his home and his possessions, loaded his dog and surfboards into his truck, and set off in search of his long-time surfing companion, Patrick, who had vanished into the depths of Central America. In this rollicking memoir of his quest from Mexico to Costa Rica to unravel the circumstances of Patrick’s disappearance, Weisbecker intimately describes the people he befriended, the bandits he evaded, the waves he caught and lost en route to finding his friend.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10853.In_Search_of_Captain_Zero

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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