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 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.
Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Well written learned more than I had thiught
The author does a good job of describing the ocean’s power and its effects on oceanic shipping and big wave surfing. I was pleasantly surprised to have learned so much about Laird Hamilton and his surfing group while also getting a sense for what drives these adrenaline-seeking giants of men. The chapter on the ~1700 foot wave in Alaska was amazing.
I only wish.....
I'll never tow surf or catch a monster but this book makes me want to! Dramatic tales of days surfers yearn for alternating with scientific chapters that aid in the understanding of the climatic changes occurring on the planet help you appreciate what a rogue is and can be!! In a word.....terrifying!!
Fantastic on all levels
A person can read a book about anything as long as the author’s style is fluid and the material written in a captivating way. Although I am a surfer, diver, and all around lover of the sea, I believe this book fits the bill to capture anyone’s interest.
Casey’s authoritative and well researched dive into the world of huge waves is a fast read and magnetic. Her first hand accounts of the legendary surf spot Jaws were thrilling and nerve wracking and made me feel as if I were there with her, Laird, and Brett.
If you enjoy water based activities I am confident you will enjoy this book. If you don’t know very much about the ocean I am confident you will enjoy this book. I am confident anyone will be hard pressed to put this down once they start.