SURFING THE WORLD by Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor

Footprint Guides

“This is not a surf guide,” says the intro. It is a “condensed perspective of the wider surf community’s” favourite waves. As such it works well. It covers 80 spots total, about 10 from each region of the globe, which is divided into broad zones – USA and Hawaii, Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, Indian Ocean, etc. Those 10 spots are the ones you’d expect to see, so in Hawaii we have Pipeline and Sunset, and in California Rincon, Malibu and Blacks. The mild identity crisis comes when you realize that each spot is treated as if this were a guide, but you get over it because the authors do a nice job at packing a lot into the two pages allocated to each spot. They offer useful basic info like when to go, best wind/swell direction and so on; Surftech kindly provides a guide to which (Surftech) board you should ride at each spot; and the text on each page offers interesting insights into the wave, its cultural backdrop and its characters. Quotes and anecdotes from local surfers offer a sense of local involvement, which is always good in a surf guide, which of course this isn’t.

The photos are good – some of TSP’s favourite shooters: David Pu’u, Paul Kennedy, Sean Davey – and for the most part well selected and cleanly laid out. Appearing amongst the 80 spot descriptions are regular features including a basic guide to each region’s surf and culture, and others on, for example, global warming, SurfAid and Surfrider. “Surfer’s Tales” from the likes of Shaun Tomson also crop up throughout. Whatever this book is, it’s entertaining, enlightening, and well worth a browse. Whether you’re casual, on the couch at home, or on the bus to Punta de Lobos, desperate for the some key information, you’re covered. Just don’t call it a surf guide. - ADR