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Maverick's: The Story of Big-Wave Surfing Hardcover – September 1, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Waves aren't measured in feet, but in increments of fear. Big-wave rider Buzzy Trent

About the Author

Matt Warshaw has been writing about surfing for more than 20 years. Former editor of Surfer magazine, his articles have appeared in Outside, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several

Daniel Duane is a surfer, naturalist, and critically acclaimed author of Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast. He has written for Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Men's Journal, Outside Magazine, and t
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081182652X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811826525
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,031,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Surfing has deserved this book for a long time, and it took the sport's prime archivist, Matt Warshaw, to deliver the goods. Warshaw does a masterful job of melding big-wave surfing's glory days on Oahu's North Shore with the present-day scene that has Half Moon Bay, California, as its ground-zero. The photo mix, primarily color, is inspired with fresh,unexpected camera angles augmenting the standard thirty-foot wave face 'frontal' approach. The grainy black and white shots, in particular,lend a misty, moody quality that reflects Maverick's cold and outright spooky atmosphere. Seasoned surfers will be reminded of why they first picked-up a board, and general readers will get a front-row look at one of sports' greatest spectacles courtesy of one its finest writers.
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Format: Hardcover
This book captures the unique world of big wave surfing better than any I've ever read. It's really cool the way it goes back and forth between the relatively recent discovery of Maverick's and the general history of big wave surfing over the last 50 or so years. The research that must have gone into portraying the various characters that make up the strange world of big wave riding is really impressive. It's got some really great photos too, although not just the typical big wave wipe-out shots. It's good looking enough to sit on your coffee table, but unlike most coffee table books, its full of great writing.
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By A Customer on November 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A very well written and produced coffee-table quality book on Nor Cal's most hyped big wave break. Rest assured that Matt Warshaw speaks from the heart when he describes the history, the characters, the swells and the waves that have converged at that awe-inspiring break outside Pillar Point. Mr. Warshaw is perhaps the greatest surf historian of all time, and before you question that statement, just wait for his upcoming release 'The Encyclopaedia of Surfing' to make the call.
This is mostly pre-tow era Mav's, and so naturally is already quite out-dated. But looking through the viewpoint of paddle-in only is still interesting for its historic relevance, and out-right machismo.
As impressive as this book is, I hesitate to give it five stars because, while it does capture many historic moments at Mav's, it is without the newer paradigms of Mav's. Warshaw did an excellent job chronicling an era of Mav's. But now, on many days thanks to tow-in, people are surfing the place quite different than what we see in this book. The Year of the Drag-In changed everything, and so did Nov. 20-21, 2001. I'd be delighted to see Matt do a follow-up.
Big wave surfers and Mark Sponsler take note. One of the reasons the Thanksgiving swell of 2001 was so huge was because the storm which produced it came quite close to California and covered a large swath of area with multivalent storm phenomena twisting within it- such storms are not uncommon far up in the Gulf of Alaska, or forming off of Russia and jumping over the Aleutians, tearing through the Bearing Sea.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating look at the history and sport of big-wave surfing, focusing primarily on Maverick's but also discussing some of the other big-wave spots in the world, such as Todos Santos and Cortes Banks. If you have fond memories of the classic travel and surf-bum movie from the 60s, "The Longest Summer," about great surf spots around the world, you'll probably enjoy this book.

My review concentrates mainly on the dangers, since I was interested in researching that, but overall it's a beautifully illustrated and well-written account of the sport. The author starts with the early history back in the mid-1850s (when a legend has it that a Hawaiian was supposed to have ridden a tsunami back to shore).

I was interested because I used to live for many years near Maverick's, one of the premier big-wave surfing spots in the world, and I was curious what it had to say. I've never been a board-surfer myself, but grew up in southern Cal and did a lot of body surfing when I was younger. One time, I foolishly tried to body-surf a storm-driven 18-footer at Gillis Beach in southern California and got ground into the bottom and held down long enough so I thought I might not get back up to the surface in time. But I survived, and am now older and wiser.

I've had a few other misadventures, such as having been pulled out by a couple of riptides (including one that pulled me underneath the water briefly), so I've always had respect for the ocean, and I figured big-wave riding must surely be even more dangerous. Photos of lone surfers dwarfed by enormous waves have always amazed me and sent shivers up my spine, as I remembered my own scary encounter with a wave.
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Format: Hardcover
Matt gets the essence of Mavericks right in this one. He paints an accurate picture in words and photos of the Californian big wave spot and and the watermen who have come since the beginning to test their courage in its extreme conditions. His book vividly describes the personalities and the necessary 'go for it' attitude needed to survive in these dangerous situations. The book also contains many facets about big-wave surfing from other areas and this adds another excellent dimension to the tale. I enjoyed the book immensely and once started I read it from cover to cover.
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