Top Surfing Books for Beginners

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Starting my journey into the world of surfing was like entering a new world. I was excited, nervous, and full of expectation. So I read a lot of surfing books because I knew that having the right tools could make all the difference. This guide will tell you about the best books that have helped me a lot on my surfing journey. These books have taught me a lot about how to survive in the surf, the sport’s past, personal stories, and the ins and outs of surfboard design. Let’s jump right in!

I recommend beginning with comprehensive surfing books that offer accessible guidance and visual aids. However, it’s crucial to stay updated with evolving techniques by utilizing additional resources.

  • Comprehensive Learning: Top surfing books provide a comprehensive guide, covering basic techniques to advanced maneuvers.
  • Accessible Reference: Books offer a portable resource for beginners to refer to anytime, anywhere, providing constant access to valuable information.
  • Visual Aid: Many surfing books include detailed illustrations and photographs to visually demonstrate techniques, aiding understanding.
  • Limited Interactivity: Books lack the interactivity of hands-on instruction or video tutorials, potentially limiting skill development.
  • Updated Information: Some books may become outdated, so beginners should supplement their learning with up-to-date resources to stay current with surfing trends and practices.

“Surf Survival: The Surfer’s Health Handbook” by Andrew Nathanson

Safety was my first thought when I went out into the waves. This is why Andrew Nathanson’s “Surf Survival: The Surfer’s Health Handbook” became my go-to book. Nathanson’s mix of medical knowledge and personal love of surfing taught me important things about staying safe in the water. This book gave me the information I needed to survive in the unpredictable ocean environment. It taught me about common accidents, how to avoid them, and basic first aid.

Also, Nathanson’s focus on physical fitness and correct methods hit home for me. As I improved my surfing skills, his useful tips on how to get stronger, more flexible, and have more endurance were very helpful. With its clear explanations and helpful pictures, “Surf Survival” was my complete guide to staying healthy and happy while enjoying the thrill of riding waves.

“The History of Surfing” by Matt Warshaw

The more I learned about surfing, the more interested I became in its long past and heritage. “The History of Surfing” by Matt Warshaw provided me with a captivating journey through the evolution of the sport. Warshaw’s careful study and interesting writing brought the rich tapestry of surfing history to life, from its early days to its current global popularity. Through his story, I learned more about the traditions and new ideas that have changed surfing over many years.

Learning about the cultural meanings of surfing made my time in the water more interesting. I felt like I had a bond with surfers from the past and present, which made me respect the ocean and the lively community that lives around it more. And “The History of Surfing” turned into more than just a book. It opened a door into the heart of surfing for me in ways I never thought possible.

“Surf Is Where You Find It” by Gerry Lopez

In my quest to unravel the essence of surfing, I stumbled upon “Surf Is Where You Find It” by Gerry Lopez. Lopez’s collection of personal stories and intellectual thoughts hit home for me. Through his beautiful writing and deeply personal stories, he taught us important lessons about patience, humility, and the deep bond between a surfer and the sea. His words touched the core of my surfing experience and made me want to welcome the journey with open arms.

Lopez’s autobiography made me remember that surfing isn’t just about beating waves; it’s also about finding yourself in the ocean’s vastness. His stories of great rides and quiet times alone made me feel something, and they made my love for the sport stronger than ever. “Surf Is Where You Find It” became my song on the waves, and it helped me get through the good and bad times of surfing with grace and understanding.

“Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan

There is no way to fully understand surfing without seeing what a real wave fighter does for a living. “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan offered me a front-row seat to the adventures of a lifelong surfer. Finnegan’s biography, which won the Pulitzer Prize, hooked me from the very first page, where he talked about his search for the perfect wave around the world. His vivid descriptions and honest thoughts made a vivid picture of the thrill, friendship, and sometimes danger of a life spent surfing.

Through Finnegan’s eyes, I saw how love can change things and how the ocean will always be beautiful. His autobiography reminded me that surfing is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life, a process of finding out more about myself and the world. As I read “Barbarian Days,” I felt like I knew Finnegan; we were both on the same twisting path through life as a surfer.

“The Surfboard Book: How Design Affects Performance” by Sean McCagh

I learned how important it is to understand the details of surfboard design as my surfing skills improved. “The Surfboard Book: How Design Affects Performance” by Sean McCagh became my trusted guide in navigating the world of surfboard technology. McCagh’s in-depth look at design factors, such as rocker and rail shape, fin layout, and material choices, gave me the knowledge I needed to choose the right gear.

Along with that, “The Surfboard Book” showed how much skill and creativity go into making the perfect board. I learned a lot about how science and creativity work together in surfboard design through beautiful pictures and interesting talks with master shapers and surfers. With this new information, I felt more sure of myself than ever as I paddled out into the lineup, ready to face any waves that came my way.


It has been a deep study of both the waves and myself as I’ve learned to surf. These best books for beginners on surfing have been like old friends who have been there for me through the good times and bad of this exciting sport. As I’ve turned each page, I’ve learned something new and useful about how to survive in the surf, the history of surfing, and the art of designing surfboards. As I swim through the ocean, these books help me find my way through the rough currents and find my place in the huge ocean.

The knowledge and inspiration in these pages make every experience better, from the rush of adrenaline I get when I catch my first wave to the quiet times I spend thinking. There you have it! If you want to start surfing, I suggest you read these books and use them as your guide. You’ll go on an adventure of self-discovery, friendship, and unending joy with their help that will stay with you long after the waves have gone out.

As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases. also participates in affiliate programs with ShareASale and other sites. is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.

Shawn Chun

Aloha! My name is Shawn and I Love the Beach and Ocean! From surfing to beach sports to boating and fishing I like it all. More importantly, I Love the people I get to meet who also share a passion for the sand and surf. Living and growing up near the ocean my heart has always been connected to the beach and its lifestyle. I wish to share my experience with those around the world. Mahalo (Thank You) for visiting and enjoy your stay here on my site!

Recent Posts