Kira's Reviews > The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

The Wave by Susan Casey
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's review
Jan 16, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in August, 2011

I’ve always been a bit agoraphobic, so the ocean and I have a limited relationship: I hang out with it once or twice a year, and stay as close to the shore as I can without getting hit in the shins by kids on boogie boards.

After reading The Wave, I can’t help but feel like I have the right idea. The thought that some beaches sports waves as tall as five-story buildings gives me goosebumps, and the knowledge that there are people in this world whose first reaction is “I want to get on that, preferably while strapped to a large piece of wood” makes me slightly nauseous.

It should come as no surprise that this book begs for visual supplements. There is a section of amazing photography in the middle, to which I kept referring (if I had to make any criticism of The Wave, it would be to include more photos), as if to remind myself of the magnitude of the topic at hand. But I also spent a few hours this weekend watching videos of waves, and of people riding them. I’m including two (below) that serve as a good overview: The first is of Laird Hamilton’s December 2000 ride at Teahupoo, and the second is a more general clip from Hawaii’s Jaws, shot from far enough away that you can see how big and (in my opinion) freaking terrifying these waves are. Having spent the better part of Sunday doing it, I can say that watching surfing videos is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. But reading The Wave is an even better way to spend a week.


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