We all remember the simple pleasure of curling up on the couch or lounging in a hammock with a great book. Perhaps it’s the frenetic pace of our lives or the incessant barrage of digital media, but clearly we have been steered away from this analogue pastime in recent decades. On top of that, this global pandemic has disrupted our lives in so many ways and it’s hard to look beyond the negative which can feel all-consuming at times. What has shone through the darkness are the positive and surprising effects of such an unprecedented chapter in our world’s history. We finally have a bit of time on our hands and long forgotten hobbies and pastimes have room to move back into our lives. Dust covered books are coming down from the shelf and we are learning to fall back in love with the literary form once again.
For your reading pleasure, we’ve assembled a collection of ten books including options for the whole family—young to old, surfers and non-surfers alike. It is our hope that one of these might brighten your day, enrich your mind and help you maintain your vital link to the water.
There is perhaps no more quintessential surf book than Barbarian Days, certainly the only one we know of to win a Pulitzer Prize! Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art. There is a big difference between a surf book written by a surfer and one by a true writer. Finnegan’s vivid descriptions of iconic surf breaks around the world allow you travel to far flung locations without leaving the comfort of your own home.
If you own only one coffee table book, even if you don’t own a coffee table, this is the book for you. Ray Collin’s work has pushed the genre of water photography to new heights and his interpretation of the ocean and its power is truly unique. The technical detail of every image is immaculate—his ability to harness the dynamism of the waves in a static image is truly awe-inspiring. At times moody and melancholic his photographs can be equally optimistic and uplifting—a perfect metaphor for today’s world.
At some stage in every parent’s life, there will be a moment when they are forced to sort through their children’s childhood possessions. Some will have long since been broken or discarded, while others will find their way to the front lawn for a garage sale or passed on to friends or a local charity. You and your child will want to hold on to a select few items—ones that were so beautifully crafted and impactful that you can’t bear to part with them. Simply put, this book will be one of those pieces. Jonas Claesson possesses an uncanny understanding of surfing culture and has a unique ability to delight the eye and stimulate the mind of both parent and child. Learning the ABCs is a milestone step in every child’s life—and this book will serve to ensure it is all the more entertaining and memorable.
Experience is the greatest teacher and there is perhaps no surfer more revered for his life’s work than Gerry Lopez. In this book, available in paperback and hardcover, Gerry shares stories featuring recollections of the lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of surfing. This newly revised and expanded edition includes great new stories and additional vintage photographs. If surfing can be considered a religion, Gerry Lopez would be it’s preacher and this book it’s bible.
This iconic book is written in the words and voice of Yvon Chouinard — the founder of Patagonia, a company at the forefront of environmental concerns, demonstrating what it means to be a truly responsible company. During this global pandemic, many companies have looked to Patagonia for leadership, and they have stayed true to form with their ethical and responsible management of this crisis. This newly revised edition is perfect for anyone who wants to dive a little deeper into the origin story and present day of this iconic company.
Perhaps you’ve been doing some spring cleaning during this lockdown and have tackled some of the deep recesses of your closets that have remained untouched for years. If you are lucky, you have unearthed some great treasures among which might include a vintage Aloha shirt. These iconic garments are enjoying an enthusiastic resurgence and as summer approaches we long for the ability to don these brightly coloured shirts at backyard barbeques and pool parties. This book, The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands is the most colourful and complete book published on the most enduring souvenir ever invented. A bonus fact for all you die-hard fans out there—the flat lay photographs of the Aloha shirts in this book were taken by Ric Noyle—father of world renowned water photographer Zak Noyle who recently shared his work and insights with our community.
One year ago, we converted our entire shop into an art gallery and self-published this book. At that time, we never could have considered the world that we would now face. The loss of so much has left us yearning for our most fundamental of needs and has stripped us down to our core. Even to myself as the artist, the images of this book have taken on a whole new meaning. Each copy of this limited edition photography book is editioned and signed and includes a foreword by Alan Cumming.
Mindfulness and Surfing have always gone hand in hand—and now more than ever, we must turn inwards for peace and calm. It can be frustrating as surfers to be kept out of the water, and mindfulness and meditation can be a helpful practice to maintain equanimity. Author Sam Bleakley takes us on a soulful journey across the tideline of his personal and philosophical travels. Through lunar cycles and river surfing to the Taoism of nature, he reveals an acute awareness of what the oceans can tell us about our place in the natural world.
This book explores the sport of freediving and the far expanses of our underwater world. James Nestor tells his own story from his introduction to competitive freediving and the ensuing journey that followed. As a reader, we learn of the tension and conflict between recreational and competitive freediving as Nestor makes crucial and unapologetic commentary on all that is right and wrong with the sport. For anyone considering the sport of freediving or those that longingly yearn for the depths and wonders of the deep blue sea—this book is equal parts insightful, educational, and entertaining.
There’s no better time to start a conversation about mental health with your little ones than when they are young. This book is based around the philosophy that ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ and encourages conversations to smash the stigma surrounding mental health. Author Joel Pilgrim has gone on to found and lead the Waves of Wellness Foundation in Sydney, Australia. Joel and his team have established a mental health surf therapy charity and run innovative programming using surf as a medium to help their clients discuss and manage their mental health challenges.
Lucas is an orthopaedic surgeon, accomplished freediver and triathlete, and photographer. He was born and raised in Ontario and studied at Queen's University and the University of British Columbia. Lucas is the co-owner of Surf the Greats along with his partner Antonio. Find him on Instagram.