The Wave ~ Reviewed

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

I am a beach bunny at heart! Have lived most of my life around the beach. Had the pleasure of living on the island of Oahu for 4 years in the 90's. During that time we spent most of our time on the North Shore away from Honolulu where the tourists were. During this particular "winter" season from December to January, like there is winter in Hawaii, Australia got a huge storm. Our housing area was flooded with lots of rain, and the waves at Pipeline were up over 25 feet. We went over there to watch the surfers. It was amazing! I could not believe the crazy things these guys and gals were doing! It wasn't but a few weeks later that Laird Hamilton was going to be surfing Pipeline and we went back to watch him; which was quite the experience! He is quite the surfer! This book brought back some awesome memories of that time in my life, along with how fascinating WAVES are in themselves. I have always loved the ocean, and this book really shows you how AWESOME it is in so many ways! Susan does a fantastic job of showing these guys in their element. It was like you could feel the spray of the ocean on your face, feel the water at your feet, and hear the waves rolling in. I highly recommend this book!


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