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Top 25 Best Surfing Books - More learn to surf books here

Our Recommendations

 

History of Surfing

The History of Surfing [Hardcover]
The History of Surfing is By Far our Biggest Seller of All Time

This is it, the definitive story of surfing, surfers and beach culture. It's a big thick textbook like collection of information, photos, stories and anecdotes, great for the coffee table. Warshaw has set the bar so high with this work, A book you will be reading and re-reading for a long time to come

Publisher Comments
Matt Warshaw knows more about surfing than any other person on the planet. After five years of research and writing, Warshaw has crafted an unprecedented history of the sport and the culture it has spawned. At nearly 500 pages, with 250,000 words and more than 250 rare photographs, The History of Surfing reveals and defines this sport with a voice that is authoritative, funny, and wholly original. The obsessive nature of this endeavor is matched only by the obsessive nature of surfers, who will pore through these pages with passion and opinion. A true category killer, here is the definitive history of surfing.

Surf Craft: Design and the Culture of Board Riding
Surf Craft: Design and the Culture of Board Riding

A beautiful coffee table book stuffed with stunning images of the boards on display from the exhibition. It's worth buying simply for the photos alone, but Surf Craft also includes a thoughtfully-written 40-page introduction by Kenvin that traces the evolution of surfboard design, and also explains how meticulous handcraftmanship can inform modern high volume commercially-made surf craft; it's a well-reasoned take on how ramping up surfboard production in the '60s didn't necessarily kill the beauty and art of surfboards.

Incredible Waves: An Appreciation of Perfect Surf
Incredible Waves: An Appreciation of Perfect Surf

Beautiful, unique, kaleidoscopic, geometrically exquisite...perfect waves are some of Mother Nature's most alluring and mesmerizing creations. Incredible Waves is a stunning coffee-table book of photographs that capture the beauty and majesty of the world's most awesome waves. This breathtaking volume is a collection of the best recent work by 20 top surf photographers including Clark Little, Brian Bielmann, Chris Burkard, Russell Ord, DJ Struntz, Tungsten, Jeff Flindt, Ray Collins and Andrew Shield.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

**Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography**
For those of us who surf, the book will bring special meaning covering as it does the history of surfing, evolution of surfboard designs and transition from the long board to the agile short board and on to tow in surfing to enable a rider to catch a wave fifty feet high, waves that could not be surfed before tow in technique was developed. For the reader who has tried surfing or body surfing and felt the power of the ocean then decided not to take up surfing, this book will still hold much meaning as a story about the zone where ocean meets land, where people try to co-exist with the power of the surf and where a life style built around surfing continues to evolve.

The Finest Line: The Global Pursuit of Big-Wave Surfing
The Finest Line: The Global Pursuit of Big-Wave Surfing

The Finest Line explores the world of big-wave surfing and it’s dynamic evolution. Through images of hallmark days from the best big-wave locations around the world, firsthand accounts from those who dedicate their lives to chasing and riding giant waves, and expert commentary about the treacherous characteristics of each location, The Finest Line offers an unprecedented glimpse into the psychology of big-wave surfing, as well as its extreme risks and unparalleled rewards.

Kelly Slater-For the love

Kelly Slater: For the Love [Hardcover]

Following up on his autobiography, Kelly Slater gives his readers a look into his life and thoughts of more recent. If you like him, or surfing in general, you'll love the book. Slater has a lot to share and there is much to learn from him. Good contributions from people in his life like Jack Johnson, Pam Anderson, fellow Pro Surfers and more.

Surf is where you find it-Gerry Lopez

Surf Is Where You Find It [Hardcover]

The book is made of several stories which have a lesson in both surfing and life. I loved the fact that Gerry talked about fear and how he has been confronted by the sea several times, i guess its the first time an iconic surfer like him gives us a glimpse of their inner thoughts while surfing.

The California Surf Project
The California Surf Project

Nice photography, interesting thoughts and angles from a surfers perspective and two guys get to surf the californian coast just for fun and document the whole thing.

Quit your job, pack your boards, and surf your way down the California coast....
Sound like a daydream? The California Surf Project is the fully illustrated travel diary of two surfers who took this trip of a lifetime.

Waves: From Surfing to Tsunami

Waves: From Surfing to Tsunami

Drew Kampion was the first great surf journalist, back in the fledgling days of Surfer Magazine. He changed the way we thought about surfing and the things that mattered in Hawaii. This latest work, a remarkable combination of choice photos and intriguing illustrations (by Jeff Peterson) serves as the essential primer for understanding waves.

 

Surfing Photos of the Seventies

Surfing Photographs from the Seventies

Taken by Jeff Divine(Hardcover Coffee Table 12'x9')

this is an amazing book- some of the best surf pictures (in my opinion) during one of the most visually inspiring era's of surfing. the pages are arranged in such a way so as to not distract you from their content, the printing is awesome and there's not a single shot not worthy of a poster size above your bed. this book will not harsh your mellow- it will make you want to move to lucadia, ride only a single fin & get a job wrapping surf wax for .25 cents per bar....

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stoked

Stoked (Coffee Table Book)

Of all the surf books I've reviewed, this is, by far, the best to date. Kampion does it right with just the right amount of detail, written words and appropriate photos. He has encapsulated the history of the sport in a beautiful coffee-table sized book and it is the one book that outstokes all the rest. The title says it all with each page bringing out the "stoke" of the moment reported. Kampion knows how to capture the feeling without even getting wet!

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Surfer's Journal

Surfer's Journal

Have you ever wondered where waves come from? What makes every one different, why some peel nicely and others just close out? Why, some days, waves come in sets of six and others in sets of three, and what factors affect the behavior of a surfing break? If you have, this book is for you. Now in its second edition, Surf Science is the first book to talk in depth about the science of waves from a surfer's point of view. It fills the gap between surfing books and waves textbooks and will help you learn how to predict surf. You don't need a scientific background to read it--just curiosity and a fascination for waves. "One of the most sophisticated surfing books ever produced... a must for any surfer."

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100 Best Surf Spots in the World

100 Best Surf Spots in the World

explores the planet’s premier surfing playgrounds, from the hollow curls of Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore to the massive breaks of Teahupoo, Tahiti. International surfing legend Rod Sumpter reveals the world’s greatest reef breaks, left- and right-handers, point breaks, and beach breaks, and offers vital details about the characteristics of the waves and how to surf them. Take the big drop into Oahu’s Gas Chambers; fly the barrel at Hossegor, France; or ride Super Tubes, Tubes, and The Point in one ride at Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. This guide will take you to every corner of the globe in search of the perfect wave.

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The Way of the Surfer

The Way of the Surfer

"Surfing is the simple act of walking on water," writes Drew Kampion, and the history of surfing is "the sum total of all waves ever ridden." The Way of the Surfer brings together the people and the act of surfing using stories and pictures. The Way of the Surfer is an elegant and beautifully designed portrait of the styles and souls of surfers, a collection of words and pictures revealing the deeper meaning of "walking on water."

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The World Stormrider Guide (Stormrider Guides)

The World Stormrider Guide (Paperback)

Part two of the trilogy of World Stormrider Guides resumes the epic trip around the world's surfable coastlines. Exploring 80 entirely new surf zones across the established 9 continental and oceanic chapters, Volume 2 investigates the waves breaking on our expanding surfing frontiers. The Ocean Environment is studied in detail, providing an important overview of the pollution, erosion, access and hazards that affect surfers worldwide.

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Photo/Stoner: The Rise, Fall, and Mysterious Disappearance of Surfing's Greatest Photographer (Hardcover)

Photo/Stoner

The Rise, Fall, and Mysterious Disappearance of Surfing's Greatest Photographer (Hardcover)


In 1965, Ron Stoner was the best surf photographer in the business. Every month, he shot the balmy beaches, bikini-clad girls, and achingly beautiful waves of Southern California for Surfer Magazine. Then, at the height of his fame, Ron Stoner walked off this sunny stage and disappeared forever. In Photo/Stoner, Stoner's strange story is recounted by surfing historian Matt Warshaw alongside Stoner's best photos, reproduced as never before. In these rare images, Stoner recorded more than just a beautiful wave or a perfect moment, he captured the effortless and innocent grace of coastal California—pre-condominium. In word and in image, Photo/Stoner is a poignant ode to a lost era, and a lost man.

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Greg Noll, The Art of the Surf Board (Hardcover)

Greg Noll, The Art of the Surf Board (Hardcover)

Surfing is a pastime/activity/obsession/lifestyle (I can't bring myself to call it a... sport) unique in its history and characters (think renegades), and Noll is a unique character/renegade/lunatic even amongst that lot. Kampion, aside from being a character/renegade/lunatic his own self, is simply THE historian/chronicler/storyteller of the pastime/activity/obsession/lifestyle.

To put it another way: If you're over 40 and surf this book is mandatory.

If you're under 40 and surf: "mandatory" means you should read it.

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Making Mavericks: The Memoir of a Surfing Legend
Making Mavericks: The Memoir of a Surfing Legend

Richard “Frosty” Hesson has been surfing the northern California waters since 1963 and was among the elite group of surfers who first began riding the colossal waves at Mavericks in the 1980s. He has trained hundreds of young people in the art of surfing. Among his students was Jay Moriarty, a soul surfer, a true champion, and one of the greatest ambassadors to the sport and lifestyle of surfing. Frosty continues to surf and follow his quest to help people achieve and accomplish their goals.

Pipe Dreams Kelly Slater

Pipe Dreams by Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater is a world-champion surfer who came out of semi-retirement in 2002. When he has time he sings with his band, The Surfers. He owns the Kelly Slater Boardrider's Club, a clothing and surf shop in Los Angeles, where he lives.

 

Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave
Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave

This book is an easy read, entertaining and well worth the price of admission, even to non-surfers. Heller, as a self desribed kook (or beginner), takes us slowly into surfing culture and lingo at a pace where we can easily understand certain aspects of surfing without actually being a surfer. There is a good feel for the complexity and commitment that it takes to become proficient at surfing and I thought the author was able to get the emotions and spirituality of the surfing experience across to a wider audience. As a surfing lifestyle book, I think it is a sucess.

The Kook's Guide to Surfing
The Kook's Guide to Surfing [Paperback]


Anyone can surf. Most people don't, mainly because they believe that riding waves is difficult and dangerous. It's not. Learning to surf can be the most enjoyable and memorable experience of your life.

The Kook's Guide to Surfing demystifies walking on water and illustrates the steps toward a simple and safe, yet electrifying, experience. From your first wave to your last, The Kook's Guide shows the way. Jason Borte's informative and witty writing, and the informative illustrations can make a non-kook out of you in no time.


north shore chronicles




north shore chronicals is a mind boggling surfing book that will make you take a secound look at surfing in hawaii. With all the stories being true you will have a deep understanding for how the true hawaiian watermen live there lives.
Bruce Jenkins explores the heart and soul of the North Shore; The monster waves that ravage it and the amazing men that ride the beasts.

LeRoy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s
LeRoy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s


Capturing the perfect wave: Tapping into the archives of America's most important surf photographer of the '60s and '70s

At a time when surfing is more popular than ever, it’s fitting to look back at the years that brought the sport into the mainstream. Developed by Hawaiian islanders over five centuries ago, surfing began to peak on the mainland in the 1950s—becoming not just a sport, but a way of life, admired and exported across the globe. One of the key image-makers from that period is LeRoy Grannis, a surfer since 1931, who began photographing the scene in California and Hawaii in the longboard era of the early 1960s.

Tao of Surfing:

Tao of Surfing: Finding Depth at Low Tide

Michael Allen provides the lay reader with a greater understanding of Tao, an ancient Chinese philosophy that emphasizes simplicity and the flowing movement within the natural course of things. While the lessons of Tao are millennia old, longtime surfer Michael Allen has related them in a new and refreshing way. He uses the metaphor of the sea, and its ebb and flow, to describe the Tao of life's cycle. And he discovers within this unique reflection a simple, new way to comfort and heal the Self from the trauma of death in this surf book.

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big wave surfing

Big Drop

Not just a surfing book but focusing on the Big Wave surfing crew, that elite group of athletes that live to challenge the ocean's fury. This is a collection of short stories but it does a great job of covering the total history of Big Wave surfing, particularly paying attention to the heroes of the 50s and 60s the water skills necessary to challenge large waves. With complete coverage and analysis of all big wave sites and legends


Taj Burrow's Book of Hot Surfing

Taj Burrow's Book of Hot Surfing

CHECK IT OUT!

The Encyclopedia of Surfing

This massive book (800 pages plus) covers everyhing about this great sport. But what is most amazing, is that the writing is so excellent--all of the characters, surf breaks, technology, competitions, movies, music, really come alive under Warshaw's unique eye. All the facts are there in excrutiating detail, but the way they are presented makes reading the book addictive. This has got to be the new bible for the sport.


wetsand wave forecasting

The WetSand WaveCast® Guide to Surf Forecasting

This surf forecast book explains in easy to understand terms the science behind waves, winds, water temperatures, tidal swings, and more. The man behind the WaveCast® surf forecasts at WetSand.com, Nathan Todd Cool, takes surf forecasting one step further, showing how you can make surf forecasts with simple calculations and free, publicly available data.




Sister Surfer : A Woman's Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage

Sister Surfer


A Woman's Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage

“SISTER SURFER is a surfing book that does a great job of both explaining how to surf and breaking down the barriers that prevent women from experiencing the sport. A great read that will surely empower and motivate surfers of every level and ability.”-- Raul Guisado, author of The Art of Surfing

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encyclopeadia of surfing

The Encyclopedia of Surfing

by Matt Warshaw (Author)
Everybody's going surfing. Each year, the surf industry brings in $4.5 billion, and more than two-and-a-half million Americans, from California to Delaware, have caught the wave. Surfers have popped up on postage stamps, in television commercials, and in Hollywood movies, and the sport has developed.

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house inside the waves

House Inside The Waves

A beautifully woven piece of work that shares the trials and travails of parenthood, Taylor's return to surfing in the formidable yet inspiring waters of Byron Bay, and a reminder of how to love even the most minute aspects of life.

Beyond excellent, without a doubt. Enjoy

 

Indo Surf and Lingo

Indo Surf and Lingo

Just got back from my first Bali trip and this book was a fantastic help. It is a rare thing when everything you read in a book is true - but everything was exactly the way the book said it would be. From the surf line-ups, breaks, crowds, tide influences, people, food recommendations, language - everything! Plus the free beer vouchers were a great bonus, worth far more than the book cost! Peter Neely has done a great job

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girl in the curl surf book

Girl in the Curl

by Andrea Gabbard

The first illustrated history of women surfers, Girl in the Curl surfing book captures an important and overlooked part of the sport's past in gorgeous color photos. From rising Australian star Layne Beachley to two-time world champion Lisa Anderson, many of today's hottest surfers are women.

 

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