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Wave Porn: Chronicle Books' Best Surf Reads

When not wet, there are ways for surfers to further their surf game aside from doing daily push-ups. By flipping through pages of inspirational photographs, reading about conquering fears, and learning about the culture of the sport, immersion leads to enlightenment. For non-surfers, absorbing oceanic imagery and scoping out hot bodies in boardshorts and bikinis can be a fun pastime, too. Arguably one of the most stylish sports, surfing is undeniably cool. But there's so much more beyond the water's surface. San Francisco-based Chronicle Books is a fan, pumping out odes by the month. Here's a rundown of the publisher's best wave porn...

The History of Surfing, by Matt Warshaw

If you really want to immerse yourself in surf culture, study it. Here's your textbook. 500 pages, 250,000 words, and more than 250 rare photographs, The History of Surfing reveals and defines the sport. Written by former editor of SURFER magazine, Matt Warshaw poured five years of research and writing into this dedicated piece. Obsessive? Maybe. But that's the name of the surf game. Warshaw also wrote Maverick's: The Story of Big-Wave Surfing, also by Chronicle Books.

 It's Always Summer on the Inside

Jack O'Neill: It's Always Summer on the Inside, by Drew Kampion

Inventor of the wet suit, Santa Cruz legend, and founder of O'Neill, this soon-to-be-released tome tells Jack O'Neill's story. Jack enabled surfers to uncover cold water spots in places like Scotland, Tasmania, and Canada in the dead of winter thanks to his curiosity with neoprene. The homage is lushly illustrated with vintage photos and iconic surfing images. Quotes from some of the most famous surfers of the past 50 years add flavor to the hardcover. Available for pre-order.

Surf Girl Roxy

Surf Girl Roxy, text by Natalie Linden

Published in 2008, this chronicle of tastemaker brand Roxy reveals the sweet life of The Roxy Girls. Spanning a decade, and the world, 200 colorful photographs of the Roxy girls' exploits are the epitomy of beach girl fun. With commentary by Natalie Linden, a San Francisco-based freelance writer and brand strategist for Roxy, it also includes notes by Malia, Carissa, Shannon, Oleema, Chelsea, and other sporty spicy girls. An inspiration to surfer girls everywhere, this book packs a spirited punch.

Ghost Wave, The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth

Ghost Wave, The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth, by Chris Dixon

While Mavericks and Hawaii hold fame to the most massive waves on earth, so does the Southern California coast. The fabled island of Cortes Bank, now submerged 15 feet below the surface of the ocean, generates one of the largest rideable waves in the world and journalist Chris Dixon tells the story. The non-fiction narrative follows a group of big wave California surfers in 2001 who set out on a secret expedition to ride a 66 footer. The results were terrifying...and inspiring. Available for pre-order.

The Eighties at Echo Beach, photographs by Mike Moir, introduction by Jamie Brisick

Rivaling Surf Girl Roxy as the most stylish of Chronicle's surf book offerings, The Eighties at Echo Beach offers a throwback look at a band of surfers from Newport Beach circa neon '80s. Photographer Mike Moir captured the Zinka-wearing surfers with a Canon fish eye. Once they graced the pages of surf magazines, they helped spawn a counter culture. On land, they wore Aquanet pompadours, Wayfarers, and neon boardshorts. On water, a zebra-striped twin fin surfboard and a hot yellow wet suit. Available for pre-order.

Kelly Slater, For The Love

Kelly Slater, For The Love, by Kelly Slater, with Phil Jarratt, introduction by Jack Johnson

This one dips into the incredible and unconventional life of ten-time world champion Kelly Slater. This beautiful book tells Slater's story for the first time — in full color and big water. Written with surfing veteran Phil Jarratt, the pages reflect on the twists and turns of the world's greatest surfer. Revealing interviews with friends and fellow surfers mixed with endless unpublished photographs make for an intense read.

Samantha Durbin (sami.7x7@gmail.com) is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of FabSugar.com. Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for 7x7 Magazine and Gilt City.