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Before the Title, Past
A Nonfiction Column
ByBy Jeff Shelby


As summer approaches, I get nostalgic. I live in Colorado now, but I grew up in Southern California , where I was always within a stone's throw of a beach. Sure, the SoCal temperatures allow for a beach visit nearly anytime of the year, but summer was always when it kicked into high gear. So now's about the time of year when I really start yearning for warm water waves and my surfboard. Here's what I'm reading to get my surf fix:

Maverick's: The Story of Big-Wave Surfing
by Matt Warshaw

People generally don't associate Northern California with surfing. Maybe they think Santa Cruz . But they don't think San Francisco . The break known as Maverick's icy cold water, fifty foot waves and treacherous rocky ocean floor is only for the elite. Warshaw does an excellent job of detailing the dangerous days at the now legendary break, including the tragic account of big wave surfer Mark Foo's death there. The pictures alone will make you question the sanity of the people who challenge the waves.

Pipe Dreams: A Surfer's Journey
by Kelly Slater

Slater is often described as the Michael Jordan of surfing. That's no exaggeration. He took the sport by storm as a teenager and revolutionized it through unbelievable athleticism and aerial maneuvers. He is still the face of the sport and this is his story.

The Encyclopedia of Surfing
by Matt Warshaw

You're not seeing double. This is the second Matt Warshaw book on my list and for good reason. If you are looking for one book to explain the sport to you, this is it. 752 pages of everything related to surfing, from the most common to the most obscure. A must-have for anyone even remotely interested in riding waves.

Wavescape: Portraits of the Planet's Best Surf Spots
by Chris Towery, Matt Pruett

The title says it all. These are the best places to find waves on Earth. Pack your bags and board and head off to numerous exotic places. Maybe the best surf photography of any book available related to the sport.

The Perfect Day
by Sam George (Editor)

Surfer magazine is the preeminent periodical in the surfing world and George is its editor. This book is a great collection of the magazine's best writing and photos from the past forty years.

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