Portraits of the Planet’s Best Surf Spots
By Chris Towery and Matt Pruett

($27; Barron’s, book stores or www.barronseduc.com)

After decades of publishing grammar readers and college-board study guides, Wavescape is just what you’d expect from a textbook titan like Barron’s, taking the insights of experts and converting them into elementary themes any student can understand. And in this case, it’s Eastern Surf Magazine’s editors Chris Towery and Matt Pruett dissecting the basics of 60 surf breaks into digestible chunks that are part geography lesson, part history class. Touching upon each continent, Wavescape takes on both surfing Meccas like Indonesia and Australia, as well as less popular outposts like Easter Island, discussing the full range of surf travel, although not all that deeply. In fact, most entries are simply a synopsis of how they were discovered followed by their current state and a broad discussion of do’s and don’ts. In a time when the surfing world’s most private parts have been given a full-on colonoscopy, Wavescape may not be the most comprehensive travel guide or the ultimate cultural ethnography. And the images, although high-quality, aren’t necessarily the freshest. But the sections are well-written and offer an accessible mix of surfing mood and solid information. In fact, it’s the lack of daunting insider minutia and dudespeak that helps it stand apart, providing a perfect introduction for any novice looking to one day ace their SATs (Surfing Aptitude Test) at home or abroad. — Matt Walker