The New York Times bestselling author of The Devil's Teeth probes the dramatic convergence of baffling gargantuan waves that pummel oil rigs and sink massive ships, the extreme surfers willing to stare down death in order to ride them, and the marine scientists trying to unlock the physics of these waves, the climate changes that are provoking them, and what chaos they might wreak. Susan Casey explores the phenomenon of monster waves and how they have become an obsession for extreme surfers like Laird Hamilton — who serves as the author's guide as she takes the reader into the intense, white-knuckle world of 100-foot waves.
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
Having wandered some distance among gloomy rocks, I came to the entrance of a great cavern… Two contrary emotions arose in me, fear and desire - fear of the threatening dark cavern, desire to see whether there were any marvelous things in it.
Leonardo da Vinci
Eight miles east on Maui's Hana Highway, in the shadow of the Haleakala volcano, away from the tourists streaming to the island's lush southern beaches, there is a candy box of a town called Paia...
1. Why do you think there isn't more news coverage on sunken freighters, tankers, and bulk carriers? Do tragedies at sea strike a different chord in the popular imagination than say, a plane crash?
2. What's the difference between surfing a wave and surviving it? What drives people to extreme situations and how does one draw the line between determination and courting disaster?
Praise for The Wave
"[A] captivating hybrid - an intro to the mind-melting physics of waves and a ride-along with the scientists and surfers who chase after them… Fascinating."
"[A] breath-snatching thrill ride."
"It's an exhilarating read, almost like riding a 100-foot wave yourself, but not nearly as dangerous."
—Garden & Gun
"Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. [She] also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us."
"This book is adrenalin. You don't want to surf the waves described herein. Read the book. It's safer that way."
"Like the surfers and scientists she profiles, Casey lived and breathed giant waves for years. Combine this kind of insane passion for craft with an uncanny ability to describe the indescribable and whisk the reader off to unimaginably surreal settings and scenarios, and you have the rogue talent that is Susan Casey. The Wave sucked me in like the undertow at Pipeline."
—Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars
"Reading The Wave is the closest most of us will ever come to the sensation of riding, or even seeing, one of these towering monsters of the sea. Itʼs exhilarating, astonishing, and, not infrequently, terrifying. Brace yourself."
—Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt
"At once scary and fun, The Wave surprises at every turn."
—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes From a Catastrophe
"Something is stewing in our seas, and Susan Casey - traveling, and in some cases swimming, all around the world - is eager to find out what it is. Both a rollicking look at the ocean's growing freakishness and a troubling examination of our ailing planet, The Wave gives new meaning to the term 'immersion reporting.'"
—Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound On His Trail
From the Hardcover edition.