Are you looking for an inspiration on what surf book to get to yourself until you can hit the water next time? Or are you looking for a book to gift someone who is surf-addicted? Here is a selection of the best surf book out there – from practical guides to beautiful coffee table books that make a surfer’s heart beat faster.
[This article may cointain Affiliate links. This means that if you decide to purchase some of these resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. I only recommend selected products that I’m convinced about and that I would buy (or already did buy) myself. This is helping me to keep investing as much time and passion as I do for this blog]
1. Surf World Guide
No matter how experienced the surfer you want to gift is – this is a continuous inspiration and will last with your friend/partner probably for his/her whole surf career: the Stormrider Surf World Guide!
If you rather want a more „local“ guide or know exactly which area is the favorite of your friend you can also go for one of these surf guides for certain regions:
- Europe Surf Guide
- France Surf Guide
- Indonesia/Indian Ocean Surf Guide
- Central America/Caribbean Surf Guide
2. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
(Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2016)
“Surfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life.”)
> Get it here: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
3. A brief history of surfing
An entertaining book about the history of surfing
“Matt Warshaw knows more about surfing than any other person on the planet, as evidenced by The History of Surfing, Warshaw’s definitive take on the sport. Now, he has honed that book into an abridged and excerpted edition for surfers everywhere. Each spread features a micro essay alongside an image capturing a slice of surf history, from Kelly Slater and the invention of the thruster to shark attacks and localism.”
> Get it here: A brief history of surfing
4. Surf Survival: The Surfer’s Health Handbook
A must for newbies as well as experienced surfers – not necessarily one of the most fun but certainly one of the most useful and important surf book out there. Three expert physicians/surfers give tips around how to survive the surf and sun, how to get fit for surfing, surf-travel-medicine and how to survive big surf as well as prevention and rehabilitation of the most common surf injuries.
> Get it here: Surf Survival: The Surfer’s Health Handbook
5. Surf Science: an introduction to surfing
Basically an intro on how to read waves and predict the surf “Have you ever wondered where surfing waves come from, what makes every wave different, why some peel perfectly and others just close out; why, some days, the waves come in sets and other days they don’t, and how the tides, the wind and the shape of the sea floor affect the waves for surfing? If you have, this book is for you.”
> Get it here: Surf Science: an introduction to surfing
6. Fifty Places to Surf Before You Die: Surfing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations
Expand your surf bucket list with this beautifully illustrated guide to the most thrilling surfing destinations in the world. From the more well-known spots to more unexpected surf gems, coldwater or warmer spots, this book will definitely spark your travel- and surf-lust.
> Get it here: 50 Places to Surf Before You Die: Surfing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations
7. Surf Odyssey: The Culture of Wave Riding
Beautiful Coffee Table Book on Surfing capturing all these emotions in photos. “Comparable to the new outdoor movement, today s surfing is about an attitude toward life, a lust for adventure, and a love of nature that one can only find far away from established spots. Surf Odyssey presents this scene s places, people, stories, and brands. Its stunning photography is sure to inspire many further surfing exploits.”
> Get it here: Surf Odyssey: The Culture of Wave Riding
8. Surf Shacks: An Eclectic Compilation of Creative Surfer’s Homes
This beautiful coffee table book features surf homes all around the world. If you are a creative soul or work in the design/interior design field or simply have a thing for beautiful houses, this book is for you. Dive into the lives and communities of surfers with beautiful pictures and words.
> Get it here: Surf Shacks: An Eclectic Compilation of Creative Surfer’s Homes
9. Surf Like a Girl
Spectacular photos from 30 female surfers in beautiful locations – some of those surfers are over sixty, some surf while pregnant, some captain boats, teach yoga, and make movies. Get inspired by those breathtaking moments and wisdom. It’s also the perfect gift for surfing enthusiasts.
> Get it here: Surf Like a Girl
10. Let my people go surfing: the education of a reluctant businessman
While this is not a “classical” surf book, this book is written by entrepreneur and visionary Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. Actually all he ever wanted to do was climb and surf and somehow ended up building one of the most famous sustainable brands. This book shows how you can build whatever you want, living by your own rules and creating a life around it.
> Get it here: Let my people go surfing
11. Epic Surf Breaks of the World
Mind-travel to the most breathtaking surf spots around the world.
“With 200 destinations, from Australia’s Bells Beach to the coral-flecked islands of the Maldives, you’re sure to find your perfect break in this 328-page, hardcover book. Plus, we take you to some of the most adrenaline-pumping breaks in the world, including Tahiti’s Teahupoo and Mexico’s Puerto Escondido, as well as easier options for beginners, such as Taghazout in Morocco, meaning all abilities are catered for. We cover the planet’s newest hotspots, such as Bundoran in Ireland, where world-class waves now lure surfers from all across the globe.”
> Get it here: Epic Surf Breaks of the World
12. Surf & Stay: 7 Road Trips in Europe
A wanderlust filled surfing itinerary to 7 European hotspots, for the new generation of surfers including Spanish Cantabria, the French Basque Country, Tenerife, Belgium, the UK, and Brittany. Featuring the best hotels and restaurants at each stunning location, and a road map for the most scenic routes. This book is written by Veerle Helsenma die-hard surfer and design journalist. (Make sure to also check here other book at the end of this article, with the same name, featuring Spanish and Portuguese spots).
> Get it here: Surf & Stay: 7 Road Trips in Europe
13. Waves: Pro Surfers and Their World
Another beautiful coffee table book portraying pro surfers and their playgrounds in stunning images, both on the water and close up on land, action-filled adrenaline shots as well as portaits. By professional photographer Thom Gilbert. This book is an ode to all the surfers living this lifestyle.
> Get it here: Waves: Pro Surfers and Their World
German Books for Surfers
Since I have a lot of German readers on here as well – or maybe you want to get a surf book for your German-speaking friend, here are some German only surf books by some amazing individuals.
111 Gründe, surfen zu gehen: Eine Liebeserklärung an die Surfkultur, den Ozean und die Reise
A love letter to surf culture, the ocean and traveling – here are 111 reasons to go surfing. In these 111 chapters Stefan Heinrich is talking about this unique, addictive feeling of surfing and is telling funny and exciting stories on all the experiences he had with and around his 25 years of surfing.
> Get it here: 111 Gründe, surfen zu gehen
Surf & Stay
Want to explore the Portuguese and Spanish Atlantic coast with your van and surf? This guide by vanlifer and surfer Veerle Helsen features the best surf spots, hidden-away beach bars and secret camping spots along the coast of Portugal and Spain, which could also be called the European Surf Mekka.
> Get it here: Surf & Stay
Surf Guide Fuerteventura
Surf Guide to Fuerteventura by Julian Siewert with beautiful illustrations from Pia Opfermann. On these 216 pages you will find detailed spot descriptions, when and where to go, the best bars and restaurants, a comparison of local surf camps, tips on how to save money, coupon codes and much more.
> Get it here: Surf Guide Fuerteventura
More resources for surfers
- The best surf bikinis
- The best gifts for surfers
- Useful gadgets for surfers
- Discount codes for surf brands
- in case you are looking to learn something new, here is an FAQ on learning kitesurfing
- if you are coming back from your surf holiday and have to quarantine, this article might be helpful on how to use your time best