For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.
As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave.
In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.
Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
About the Author
SUSAN CASEY, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Teeth, is the Editor-in-Chief of O, the Oprah Magazine, and has also served as creative director of Outside magazine.
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (September 14, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0767928849
- ISBN-13: 978-0767928847
The Wave is an action packed adventure book, much like Jon Krakauer’s books, it will leave you breathless. There are lots of interesting facts about waves in general. I have lived in Huntington Beach, CA, for over 20 years and spend a few hours each week at the beach watching surfers at dog beach. I am always amazed at their actions and fearlessness. The waves, at best 10 feet, are nowhere near the monster waves the Laird Hamilton surfs at 50 to 75 feet. I know several people who have heli-surfed and I have always thought they were crazy. This is not a sport for the weak.
Casey gets inside the mind of Hamilton and although I am not fond of overly descriptive books, I wanted to read every detail. She describes the sound, texture and colors so vividly that you feel you are there. I am most impressed with the pace of the book, you won’t want to put this down. There are several amazing pictures in the center of the book as well. If you have any reluctant male readers in high school, this book of extreme surfing should capture their attention.
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