You see a fin? This book says to stay calm, let your legs hang, and guide the shark away with your hand. Good luck with that. Photo: VanSwae

You return to the lineup smiling from ear to ear. The last wave was one of the best you've ever caught and you have not a worry in the world. But the mood changes when five feet away a fin slices its way through the murky surface of the water. Panic sets in. What do you do? The Surf Trip Survival Guide knows.

The Surf Trip Survival Guide covers all the bases of traveling the world as a surfer. Based out of the French Atlantic coast, authors Melanie and Stephen Bernhard have been around the world and back. Broken boards, localism, malaria, theft, natural disaster, shark attacks, and a thousand other ways to kook it on a trip are things most surfers are familiar with, and the guide serves as a reference tool for all of them.

Broken down into seven chapters, the book addresses dealing with local crowds, natural disasters, dangerous animals, surviving as a girl surfer, unpleasant surprises, avoiding scandal, and thorough preparation for lengthy journeys. It contains details of past experiences from pro surfers and adventurers, accompanied by a wealth of knowledge from tropical doctors, crime specialists, and survival gurus.

Since most travel guides are subject to mostly one area, and don't explore notions of dangerous situations or the best techniques to either avoid or best handle them, The Surf Trip Survival Guide functions as a beneficial tool for all surfers alike. You might find yourself thanking it for your life.

The Surf Trip Survival Guide
Better be ready when the shit goes down
By Melanie & Stephan Bernhard

Excerpt on cold-water surf survival: