BOOK REVIEW: THE ILLUSTRATED ATLAS OF SURFING HISTORY
THE ILLUSTRATED ATLAS OF SURFING HISTORY is absolutely fascinating, even if you’re not a surfer or like surfing movies. Beautifully laid out and exquisitely illustrated by Ron Croci, the text by Joel Smith, screenwriter and filmmaker, is constantly intriguing, captivating and entertaining. It’s also jam-packed with wonderful facts.
The book takes surf riding back to antiquity and covers the world, from the ancient Peruvians and their reed boats to the wave mastery of the Pacific Northwest to the aboriginal surfers in Australia to the catamaran surfers of India, and around the world. The fun facts are highlighted by great references to literature and accounts from diaries, articles and books. At one point, Alfred Lord Tennyson is quoted. His poem THE IDYLLS OF THE KING: THE COMING OF ARTHUR:
“Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame:
And down the wave and in the flame was borne
A naked babe, and rode to Merlin’s feet,
Who stoopt and caught the babe, and cried, ‘The King!”
For anyone who likes history, the profound insights into the maritime prowess of the Polynesians in THE ILLUSTRATED ATLAS OF SURFING HISTORY are fascinating. Hawaii occupies a prime position in surfing history because all classes of society there surfed and competed. Surfing waxed and waned until, in the early 20th Century, three Hawaiians brought the sport to America and around the world. Finally, as Joel notes, the 1959 movie GIDGET made surfing an international sport that has grown to millions of practitioners.
Even though MOVIEGUIDE®’s reviewer doesn’t surf, he loved THE ILLUSTRATED ATLAS OF SURFING HISTORY and recommends it highly.
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