Having grown up near the best surfing beaches in Southern California, I'm always skeptical about illustrated books that take on that culture. Before I opened the book, I had a test in mind. Would Dick Dale appear in the book? For those who aren't early surfing aficionados, Dale was a surfer who captured the sound of the waves while surging in such favorites as "Let's Go Trippin" and "Miserlou Twist" while rocking everybody out of their socks at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa with the loudest guitar music anyone had ever heard up until that time.
I was blown away when I found that this book has more material in it about Dick Dale than any other that I've seen. Dick actually appears on no less than 18 pages in the book. Wow!
Having found what I was looking for, I sat back for a pleasant day of reliving old memories . . . and learning new facts.
Ben Marcus takes us back to surfing's origins in Polynesia and carries that forward the latest and greatest accomplishments of today's surfers. You will find out about how the boards and surfing methods developed . . . and get a five story wave view at the same time.
If the book has a weakness, it's in spending perhaps a little too much time on the many lousy surfing movies. But even that was redeemed by some great writing about the surfing stunts . . . especially the wipe outs that were done on cue for take after take after take.
As you can imagine the photography is wonderful. The only way you could improve is by replacing the gorgeous color shots with video.
Having been to Sunset Beach, I was also curious as to how up-to-date the book would be. I felt like I was walking right back onto Sunset to watch the Pipeline as I read through the book. It sent chills up my spine like when I'm at the Pipeline.
For non-surfers, I think you'll get an idea of why perhaps you, too, should catch a wave.