Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean » User review

Surf Up, Science Down

  • Oct 27, 2010
I was surprised to discover The Wave to be more a study of surfers and surfing than the science of waves but I don't think Susan Casey had much of a choice. The ocean is huge, filled with waves (who would have thought), and the waves don't seem to follow any consistently discernible patterns. Wave science seems to be right up there with quantum physics in terms of complexity. Scientists who study waves spend a great deal of time scratching their heads wondering WTF. The scary part of this lack of science is that as the earth warms (yes, it is) the oceans are going to become even more complex, storm systems more volatile, and waves are going to grow in number and size. Those jokes about beach front property in Arizona are going to end up being not so funny. So, without the science we're left with the waves, their destructive power (chapters about Lloyds of London and ship rescue operations are fabulous) and their entertainment value - enter the surfers.

All over the world, at any given moment, (right now) the best surfers in the world (an obsessive lot) are awaiting the call to get on airplanes and fly to a spot on earth where waves are breaking somewhere near 100 feet. And when the call comes an elite group of surfers (all men, btw) show up and suit up. Now you just can't paddle into a hundred foot wave, so a new twist has been added that requires jet skis. Surfers are towed into the wave, catch the monster, and the pilot of the jet ski acts as the surfer's rescuer. People suffer from these rogues, freaks and giants of the ocean. They're held under and pummeled, slammed against rocks and reefs, lacerated by their own equipment, and occasionally die. The surfers are genius - highly skilled and in peak athletic condition - but the waves are big, unpredictable, and capable of swallowing coast lines, much less human beings on boards. I ended the book respecting the prowess of the surfers, and the force of the waves.

Susan Casey has written an entertainment that teaches you a few things in a compelling way, and in some cases - those of loss - touches you as well.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
More The Wave: In Pursuit of the Ro... reviews
review by . December 26, 2010
Right off, this book was not what I expected. While a little more research on my would have set my expectations, I assumed a book with the title The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean would focus solely on oceanic waves and the science behind them. Author Susan Casey, does include some science of giant waves (waves reaching 100 feet and, in some cases, beyond) however, she weaves another story within the pages, that of the surfers that travel the world to surf those …
review by . September 06, 2010
From the Amazon Vine program, I received a copy of Susan Casey's The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean. She mixes two different types of types of stories here. First, there's the surfer culture that goes after The Big One, waves that could easily kill them. That story revolves mainly around Laird Hamilton, well-known for his ability to not only find but ride waves that run 60, 70, even 80 feet in size. The Holy Grail in surfing is to find and ride a 100 foot …
About the reviewer
Richard Wells ()
Ranked #173
Community Organizer by profession, artist at heart. "I been all 'round this world..."
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
Recent reviews by rwellsrwells
About this book


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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
view wiki


Books, Surfing, Oceanography, Ocean Waves


ISBN-10: 0767928849
ISBN-13: 978-0767928847
Author: Susan Casey
Genre: Outdoors & Nature, Science
Publisher: Doubleday
Polls with this book
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since