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Peeing My Pants With Book Anticipation – July 23, 2010 (The Wave by Susan Casey)

The book that I wanted to tell you about this week came recommended from Ann Kingman from Books on the Nightstand, who is a favorite Twitterer of mine (@AnnKingman). I was asking for some great book recommendations for upcoming books and she happened to tackle me and insist I read this book. Unbeknownst to her, I’ve had a fascination with surfing ever since I can remember, so tackling me wasn’t even necessary! (She didn’t really tackle me…but she should have! I’m very ticklish.)

A little background: My older brother is a surfer, and when I was younger, I idolized him and everything he did. Thus, I loved surfing without thought or reason. When I was around 21 years old, I was down in Malibu, California vacationing with a friend, and took a surf lesson from a life guard (who was really freaking hot) I met while down there. He was really nice and gracious, refusing payment since he was technically working, even though the beach was empty. He gave me an hour lesson, during which I spent more time under the water than on top of it, but at least I learned how to swim under a wave. When the lesson was over, we were chatting and drying off, and after about 10 minutes, my nose gushed water. It was as if someone turned on a faucet in my head because there was no warning, my nose didn’t feel weird, nothing. It was just all of a sudden I had a bloody nose, except it wasn’t blood, it was water. He must have seen the look of utter embarrassment on my face because he said, “That’s totally normal. That’s happened to me after I was surfing and then went on a date. We were sitting at a restaurant eating dinner and water just came out of my nose!”

(Sexy! amirite?)

The second time I took a surf lesson I was in Hawaii, and I took it from this Hawaiian lady who was very tough, and who made me feel like an out of shape wuss (which I was) (but swimming in the ocean is HARD).

During that same Hawaii vacation, every morning I was calling the phone number that gave you the surf status. The Triple Crown of Surfing competition was finishing up the week I was in Hawaii, but the surf was too rough for almost all of the days I was there, so the day that I called at 6am to get the surf report and they said the competition would go that day, I jumped out of bed so I wouldn’t miss the Triple Crown. It was so cool to walk onto a beach with everyone focused on one guy in the ocean. I plopped down at the front of the crowd between two professional photographers and watched the surfers tackle huge waves. That is hands down my favorite memory from that trip. I even have the hoodie I bought there that’s never been washed since it still has sand granules from North Shore, where the competition was held.

(I hardly ever wear this hoodie, so I promise it’s not dirty.)

(This hoodie should be a lucky hoodie since I haven’t washed it for TEN YEARS. You know how people don’t wash their lucky shirt or socks or whatever? Yeah, this is kind of like that, except my hoodie isn’t lucky, it just has sand in it that I don’t want to lose.)

So to say I was excited to hear about this book is an understatement. I’m fascinated by waves, surfers, and any stories that involve the two.

The Wave by Susan Casey

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (September 14, 2010)

From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal,  ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

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 100­foot 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.


7 Responses to “Peeing My Pants With Book Anticipation – July 23, 2010 (The Wave by Susan Casey)”

  1. Melissa Sarno

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE crazy people and their fool’s determination as they set off to do ridiculously stupid things. I have not read Into The Air, but I saw the documentary and enjoyed boo-ing them off the mountain.

    BTW, I love your surfing stories. You always crack me up.


  2. zibilee

    though I’ve never really been that into surfing, I have heard a lot about this book and think that it sounds very captivating for a lot of reasons. I have already added it to my wish list as well.

    I loved hearing your surfing stories, and actually think it’s neat that your sweatshirt still has some sand in it from your trip!!


  3. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    This sounds awesome! I love books that take different kinds of people and show how that have similar obsessions. I’m bummed this isn’t coming out until September, although it’s not like I’d have time to read it before then anyway 🙂


  4. Trisha

    I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this at BEA, and it’s one I have on the to read soon pile (along with too many others to count unfortunately). I love the combination of science and surfers!


  5. Ann Kingman

    Wow, Trish, who knew?? I think there must have been some psychic thing go on when I recommended this to you. I love your surfing story — hope you love Susan Casey’s just as much. Watch your mailbox!


  6. Ju Haghevrdian

    That’s soo funny. I came here earlier… I was going to leave you a message saying that I finally got to read a book that fits the OATES challenge thing and I read your post about this book… I ended up not leaving a comment and went out to grab a bite and I saw a lady reading this exact same book – Waves – at downtown MV! lol
    So… double reason to stop by again and leave a message this time =D


  7. Monday Tally: Conflicts, Book Trailers, and Way Cool Libraries

    […] The Wave by Susan Casey, which is about giant waves, scientists, and surfers. Thanks to Trish (Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’?) for sharing about this book, although I’m bummed because it is not coming out until September! […]

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