Pacific Passages: An Anthology of Surf Writing

Paperback: $32.00
ISBN-13: 9780824831554
Published: May 2008

Additional Information

352 pages
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  • About the Book
  • A thousand years after Hawaiians first paddled long wooden boards into the ocean, modern surfers have continued this practice, which has recently been transformed into a global industry. Pacific Passages brings together four centuries of writing about surfing, the most comprehensive collection of Polynesian and Western perspectives on the history and culture of a sport currently enjoyed by millions of people around the world. The stories begin with Hawaiian legends and chants and are followed by the journals of explorers; the travel narratives of missionaries and luminaries such as Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and Jack London; and the contemporary observations of Tom Wolfe, William Finnegan, Susan Orlean, and Bob Shacochis.

    Readers follow the historical transformation of surfing’s image through the centuries: from Polynesian myths of love to Western accounts of horror and exoticism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to modern representations of surfing as a character-building activity in pre-World-War II California and the quintessential expression of disaffected youth. They explore the sport’s most recent trends by writers and cultural critics, whose insights into technology, competition, gender, heritage, and globalism reveal how surfing impacts some of today’s most pressing social concerns.

    Aided by informative introductions, the writings in Pacific Passages provide insight into the values and ideals of Polynesian and Western cultures, revealing how each has altered and been altered by surfing—and how the sport itself has shown an amazing ability throughout the centuries to survive, adapt, and prosper.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Patrick Moser, Editor