Spawned by a listener comment on Instagram both Chas Smith (episode 172) and Dave Parmenter (episode 174) discussed the travails of “Surf Fiction”, in film and in literature, what are the challenges and why it struggles to accurately reflect surf experience and lifestyle.
A number of listeners sent suggestions for what they deem successful surf fiction, so I wanted to share those recommendations with you. Post your recommendation in the comments. Thanks!
David Scales

From listener, Ross Cauvel in New York @SessionStories
It’s a bit disappointing that surfers, who ostensibly read books waiting for waves, wind, tide, etc…don’t know more about Surf Fiction. The genre has been around for quite awhile, and there have been many well written books by now famous authors / Hollywood screenwriters.
When I discovered the genre, I was enthralled to read these stories because I love surfing. Just like Dave Parmenter said, the best stories have intriguing plots and memorable characters and surfing is more of the setting.
Here’s a list of my favorites:
1. The Dogs Of Winter by Kem Nunn – Kem wrote three surf books. This one is his Sophmore effort and its fantastically well written prose, great characters, and driving plot. I actually wrote a review of this book here. He also wrote Tapping The Source, which I enjoyed, but is a little cheesy.
2. Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow – Don has written several surfy books and has since become an expert writer on Mexican Cartel thrillers (The Force and The Cartel). There’s a follow up to this book called Gentleman’s Hour, which is great too. He also wrote Savages, which became an Oliver Stone film.
3. The Ride Home by Dr. Jacob K. Ray – here’s a blurb from Surfline, “This wild and racy page turner follows the story of a young psychology intern, Chance Feinman, who is trudging through graduate school while contending with his addictions to big surf, fast women, and the darker elements of night life in San Francisco, not to mention his battles with manic-depression, suicide, and unsettled grief over the loss of his best friend to an accidental alcohol related death on the beach. “
The Ride Home
Another thing, I’d love to see you cover more is Surf Art. You have access to some of the best surf artists in the world, like Andy Davis and Heather Brown. It’d be great to hear an interview from that side of surfing. I think more collaboration between artists and filmmakers would greatly improve surf films.
Keep up the great work. We’re loving it out here on the East Coast. The podcast often comes up and we appreciate the great conversation starters. Hope you make it to NYC to visit (may I recommend September or for a winter session?).
Stay salty!
Ross Cauvel


Chime in below or on Instagram @SurfSplendor


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