12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
A dozen days of gift ideas
Movie posters collected in "Surf Movie Tonight!" are reminiscent of a time before DVDs, when the showing of a surf movie was rare and exciting.
Ocean sports books fill gift-giving niche
Eighth of 12 parts
It's a few days before Christmas, and you're standing in a surf/dive shop searching for something special for the ocean-lover in your life, upset with yourself because once again you have broken your fervent vow to do your holiday shopping early this year.
The predicament worsens when you realize that your loved one already has everything worth owning in this store. Now what are you going to do?
Here are some can't-miss ocean books to the rescue.
"Surf Movie Tonight! Surf Movie Poster Art 1957-2004," by Matt Warshaw (Chronicle Books)
The youngsters sure have it all these days: charter trips to distant surf spots, surf reports and weather Web sites shining a spotlight on every approaching swell, excellent equipment, a legitimacy for their sport bestowed by a huge industry making impressive profits, and an endless stream of surf videos to motivate them to astounding levels of surfing innovation.
And yet, they are bereft. It's all too easy. They watch videos solo or with a few friends, over and over again on a whim. They miss the anticipation that comes of having to wait for the occasional surf movie to come to their nearest high school auditorium or community center. They don't know what it's like to be worked into a state of agitated excitement by lurid, wildly colorful posters tacked up at every surf spot and hangout announcing the arrival of the latest surf flick.
Kids today are denied the thrill of the tribal gathering of their local heroes, friends, competitors and enemies to share the surfing experience as a small, misunderstood and vaguely threatening subculture. The infrequent movies were portals to innovation, and dream machines for perfect waves in exotic areas.
San Francisco surf writer Warshaw has lived through and written about the ebbs and floods of generations of surfers, and understands all too well the poignant memories this compilation of surf movie posters will bring to many of his peers. It's time traveling at its very best, and guaranteed to make surfers of all ages ono for another surf session, RIGHT NOW!
"Snorkel Kaua'i," by Judy and Mel Malinkowski (Indigo Publications)
For many people, malihini and kamaaina alike, the offshore reefs of Kauai are aqua incognito, an underwater wonderland that reveals its charms reluctantly.
Don't worry, the Malinkowskis, Kohala residents, have done all the underwater sleuthing to make any excursion to Kauai's underwater world a pure delight. Using clear maps and exceptional photos by Jay Torborg, all the nooks and crannies of Kauai's reefs are made easily accessible to experts and novices alike.
Now go get wet. You don't have any more excuses.
"North Shore Chronicles: Big Wave Surfing in Hawaii,"
by Bruce Jenkins (North Atlantic Books)
These days, when giant swells come sweeping from the North Pacific on a collision course with Hawaii, the outer reefs are besieged by irritating swarms of helicopters, boats, jet skis and wave riders churning the ocean in an attempt to participate in the astounding water ballet of surfers challenging huge waves.
It was much different a few decades ago, when sportswriter and frequent island visitor Jenkins wrote about a select group of Hawaii surfers on seeming suicide missions. They sought the immense winter waves, oftentimes alone on distant reefs without the aid of mechanized vehicles.
In this, the third incarnation of his groundbreaking book, Jenkins updates the profiles of the maniacs who take on the best the ocean can throw at them, and contrasts their circumstances, motives and accomplishments with the current big-wave circus.
"The Encyclopedia of Surfing," by Matt Warshaw (Harcourt)
Surf writer Warshaw will never be free of most his remarkable project. The "Encyclopedia of Surfing" will continue to grow and evolve, much as surfing has mutated through the centuries.
In its most recent incarnation, Warshaw takes all the fun out of searching for the new entries, as he herds them together in an addendum at the back of the book.
Still, you can always enjoy the hunt for revisions/corrections to previous entries, as Warshaw has encouraged readers to help him get it right with their feedback, much like the community-written online reference book Wikipedia.
The surfing encyclopedia is best read by searching randomly for your friends, heroes, enemies or favorite surf spots. Eventually, you will have made a grand tour through the most interesting aspects of one of the planet's most interesting addictions: wave riding. Enjoy the search.
"Waves of Warning," by Glenn Hening (Surfing Your Ocean Publications; www.wavesofwarning.com)
Twenty years ago, surfer Hening created the ocean environment advocacy group Surfrider Foundation, partially in an attempt to earn mainstream legitimacy for the sport that he loves. It worked.
More recently, Hening has cast a perceptive eye on surfing, and is far from pleased with what he sees: commercialism, localism, indifference to the ocean environment, a diminution of emotional contact with the soul of surfing.
"Waves of Warning" is an attempt to alert surfers to what they have to lose if current distressing trends continue. It's also a thrilling, well-researched and soul-stirring novel that will connect with any wave rider.
Fortunately, a literary friend did everyone a favor by persuading Hening to edit the book from an opu nui 770 pages to a relatively svelte 525 pages. Stroke into it. The book is a wild ride.