Da Bull
Greg NollDa_Bull.html
The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest HemmingwayOld_Man.html
T.R. PearsonSeaworthy.html
James A. MichenerHawaii.html

Legendary big wave surfer Greg Noll’s autobiography. Outrageous, funny and always candid, Noll’s story captures a critical time in surfing’s development.

Hemingway’s masterpiece story about an aging Cuban fisherman’s final battle with an epic marlin. Short, concise, brilliant.

The true story of one man’s ill-planned, yet successful, cross-ocean voyages aboard a self-made raft. Both hilarious and awe inspiring.

From the island chain’s formation to the Polynesian discoverers to the socially retarded missionaries trying to civilize the heathen, this is the classic tale of historical fiction that all surfers visiting Hawaii should read.

My view on essential water books continues to evolve as I uncover or get introduced to new books. I selected the books below because of what I perceive to be their importance to water culture.  It’s subjective by nature. Think something is missing? Let me know.

The Waterman’s Library Essentials

The Surfboard
Ben MarcusSurfboard.html

An excellent, comprehensive history of the surfboard. From ancient Hawaiian designs to today’s fiberglass ultralights, The Surfboard covers it.

The Art of the Surfboard
Drew KampionArtOfSurfboard.html

A great book that approaches the history of surfboard design through the lens of legendary surfer/shaper Greg Noll.

Waves and Beaches
Willard BascomWaves_And_Beaches.html

The definitive treatise on all things related to birth and lives of waves and beaches. at times scientific, but more often than not an excellent education for anyone involved with the ocean.

Thor HeyerdahlKonTiki.html

The classic story of Thor Heyerdahl’s 4,000+ mile journey across the Pacific Ocean to prove that Polynesia was peopled by an ancient Peruvian race.

Surf Is Where You Find It
Gerry LopezSurfFindIt.html

The book is part autobiography and part diary, with Lopez artfully recounting memories and anecdotes from his childhood.

The Soul of Surfing
Fred HemmingsSoulofSurfing.html

Fred Hemmings talking story, reminiscing about his life in Hawaii during the golden age of surfing.

Mutiny on the Bounty
Nordoff & HallMutinyonBounty.html

An excellent piece of historical fiction that skillfully tells the story of the mutinous battle between Commodore William Bligh and Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian.

In Harm’s Way
Doug StantonInHarmsWay.html

A fast-paced historical narrative of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, and the tragic plight of the 900+ sailors left to survive floating in shark-infested waters.

Fierce Heart: The Story of Makaha
Stuart H. ColemanFierceHeart.html

From the author of Eddie Would Go comes an excellent new book about the soul of Hawaiian surfing: Makaha.

Beyond the Moon
James Greig McCullyBeyondMoon.html

An elegantly simple description of how tides actually work.

Men Against The Sea
Nordoff & HallMenAgainstSea.html

Book two of the Bounty trilogy picks up the story after Fletcher Christian’s mutiny, and describes Captain Bligh’s 3,600 mile journey to Tiimor.

Pitcairn’s Island
Nordoff & HallPitcairnsIsland.html

Book three of the Bounty trilogy describes the mutineers’ ill-fated attempt to create paradise on a lonely Pacific island.

The Encyclopedia of Surfing
Matt WarshawEncyclopediaSurfing.html

An excellent, well researched, and totally comprehensive guide to all things surfing-related.

Peter BenchleyJaws.html

The classic book about a pissed off Great White shark who terrorizes an Eastern vacation town.

Leroy Grannis
Jim HeimanLeroyGrannis.html

A classic photo history from one of the 1960’s and 1970’s most influential surf photographers.

North Shore Chronicles
Bruce JenkinsNorthShoreChronicles.html

An excellent collection of true big wave surfing stories from the North Shore.

The Pilgrimage
Sean DohertyPilgrimage.html

An excellent selection of the 50 best places to surf before you die.

Not to be confused with the other book by the same name, this is Rabbit’s excellent autobiography.

Bustin’ Down the Door
Rabbit BartholomewBustinRabbit.html
Inside Maverick’s
B. Jenkins, G. WashburnInsideMavericks.html

Fantastic pictures, excellent essays, and great editing combine to provide a clear view of one of big wave surfing’s scariest breaks.

Some Like It Cold
William PovletichSomeLikeItCold.html

A fantastic book about growing up surfing in Sheboygan Wisconsin.

Morning Glass
Mike DoyleMorningGlass.html

The autobiography from legendary waterman Mike Doyle. A great read.

The History of Surfing
Matt WarshawHistoryOfSurfing.html

Instant classic. Mandatory reading. Perfect gift. The word on surfing history.

The Pipeline

An excellent book about one of the world’s most dynamic, high performance surfing spots.

An excellent history of both Maverick’s the break, and big wave surfing

Matt WarshawMavericks.html
Matt WarshawPhotoStoner.html

A beautiful book about the life and mysterious disappearance of legendary surf photographer, Ron Stoner

Matt WarshawPhotoStoner.html
You Should Have Been Here an Hour Ago - Phil EdwardsYouShouldHaveBeenHere.html

The rare biography of early surfing icon, Phil Edwards. If you’ve got $450, this is the book for you.

Laura HillenbrandUnbroken.html

An amazing WWII story about a crashed airman who drifts into Japanese territory.

Surf Survival
Nathanson, RennekerSurfSurvival.html

The best book I’ve read on maintaining your health while surfing.

No Bad Waves
Mickey MuñozNoBadWaves.html

Surfing legend Mickey Muñoz talks story about a long life spent playing in the water.

It’s Always Summer on the Inside
 Drew KampionItsAlwaysSummerOnTheInside.html

The story of the Jack O’Neill, the father of the modern day wetsuit.

Paul HolmesHobie.html

One of the best surf biographies I’ve read. A deep portrayal of surfing’s true renaissance man.

Matt WarshawFinest_Line.html

The word on today’s pursuit of big wave surfing by big wave surfer Rusty Long.

Barbarian Days
William FinneganBarbarian_Days.html

A beautifully written, insightful biography that should be on every surfers reading list.