10 Best Surf Books of All Time

In the exploration of the oceanic realm through the written word, we dive into the world of “Surf Books.”

Surfing is more than just a sport.It’s a way of life, a connection to nature, and a pursuit of freedom. Diving into the world of surf literature provides insights, inspiration, and a deeper appreciation for the art of surfing.

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or someone who simply appreciates the allure of the ocean.

In this article, we explore the 10 best surf books of all time. Each offering a unique perspective on the surfing experience.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

No list of the best surf books would be complete without “Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan. A Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir. This book takes readers on a captivating journey through Finnegan’s life, chronicling his relentless pursuit of the perfect wave.

From his early days as a teenage surfer in California to exploring remote breaks around the world. Finnegan’s prose is both poetic and visceral, capturing the essence of a life devoted to surfing.

See Also  The Different Surfing Styles That Exist and how to develop your own

The Endless Summer by Bruce Brown

Accompanying the iconic surf documentary of the same name. Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer” is a classic that has stood the test of time. Filled with vivid descriptions and personal anecdotes.

Brown’s book follows two surfers as they travel the globe in search of the perfect wave. With humor and passion, “The Endless Summer” captures the spirit of adventure that defines the surfing subculture.

In Search of Captain Zero by Allan Weisbecker

Cover of the surf book: Captain Zero

Allan Weisbecker’s “In Search of Captain Zero” is a gripping tale of adventure, self-discovery, and the search for meaning.

Combining surf exploration with a quest to find a long-lost friend. Weisbecker takes readers on a wild journey through Central America.

This book offers a unique blend of surf culture, travelogue, and introspection, making it a must-read for those seeking a deeper connection to the waves.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

James Nestor picture and his book. Breath: The new science of a lost art. Surf book

While not exclusively a surf book, “Breath” by James Nestor explores the profound impact of breathing on human performance, health, and, yes, surfing. Nestor delves into the science and art of breath, uncovering how proper breathing techniques can enhance surfing abilities and overall well-being. With a mix of scientific research and personal experiences, “Breath” is a fascinating exploration of a fundamental aspect of the surfing experience.

West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler

open book about West of Jesus:

“West of Jesus” by Steven Kotler is a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection between surfing, spirituality, and neuroscience. Kotler, a surfer and journalist, embarks on a journey to unravel the connection between extreme sports, the brain’s chemistry, and the mystical experiences that often accompany them. This book provides a unique perspective on the spiritual dimensions of surfing, making it a compelling read for those interested in the deeper aspects of the sport.

See Also  Ready to take your surfing to the next level ? - Intermediate surfer

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea by Jaimal Yogis

man meditating underwater, with no diving equiment

Jaimal Yogis’s “Saltwater Buddha” is a coming-of-age memoir that combines the author’s passion for surfing. With his search for inner peace.

Faced with the challenges of adolescence and a yearning for meaning, Yogis sets out on a solo surfing journey. The one that becomes a quest for self-discovery.

With humor and humility, “Saltwater Buddha” offers a fresh perspective on the spiritual side of surfing. These and also the lessons the ocean can teach us about life.

The History of Surfing by Matt Warshaw

surfer riding close to the beach

For those craving a comprehensive look at the evolution of surfing, “The History of Surfing” by Matt Warshaw is an indispensable resource. Warshaw, a respected surf historian, chronicles the sport from its ancient roots to the modern era, capturing the key moments, personalities, and innovations that have shaped surfing. Packed with anecdotes and historical insights, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the rich tapestry of surfing’s past.

Dora Lives: The Authorized Story of Miki Dora by David Rensin

Miki Dora, a legendary and controversial figure in the world of surfing, is the subject of “Dora Lives” by David Rensin. This authorized biography delves into the life of the enigmatic surfer, covering his rebellious nature, influence on surf culture, and the complex legacy he left behind. Rensin’s deep dive into Dora’s life provides readers with a nuanced understanding of one of surfing’s most intriguing personalities.

The Big Drop: Classic Big Wave Surfing Stories edited by John Long

surf books-surfer riding impressive wave

Big wave surfing is a realm that pushes the limits of human courage and skill. And “The Big Drop” curated is a collection of gripping stories that showcase this extreme facet of the sport.

See Also  Want to learn to surf quickly? 7 tips for beginners you must know

Featuring contributions from renowned surfers and writers, this anthology provides an adrenaline-fueled glimpse into the world of conquering massive waves. “The Big Drop” is a thrilling read for those who seek the heart-pounding excitement of big wave surfing.

Surf is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Pages of a surf book: Surf is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Closing our list is “Surf is Where You Find It” by Gerry Lopez. A book that combines the wisdom of a master surfer with the beauty of philosophical reflections.

Lopez, known for his mastery of the iconic Pipeline in Hawaii, shares stories from his decades-long surfing journey. Offering insights into the art of wave riding and the connection between surfing and life itself.

With a blend of surf tales and spiritual musings, Lopez imparts valuable lessons that extend far beyond the waves.


The 10 best surf books of all time offer a diverse and enriching reading experience. From memoirs that capture the thrill of the ride to explorations of the spiritual dimensions of surfing.

These books not only celebrate surfing but also provide a deeper understanding of the culture, history, and philosophy. All that surround this timeless sport.

So, whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a landlocked dreamer, dive into these pages! Let the words carry you on a journey through the waves of wisdom.

Shopping Cart