Karen M. (Great Falls, VA)
Mythology, Fact, and Great Storytelling
This is one of the best books I read this summer. (And I read dozens of books). Susan Casey has created the perfect non-fiction book. Filled with details of the myths of rogue waves, the recent scientific proof of their measurement, Billabong's crazed reward of $500,000 to the first surfer who can prove by videotape that he or she has ridden a wave bigger than 100 feet and the intimate portrayal of the people who have attempted to win the prize. If there was room here, I'd quote great lines and descriptions from the book.
She can place you right there with Laird Hamilton and many many icons of the surf world. You're out on the jet ski feeling and seeing what the surfers are attempting, privileged to their thoughts as they tackle these giant, majestic, monsters of Nature. Through the author's eyes, I felt that I had traveled the world to the well-known and unknown spots where these waves routinely show up. Ms. Casey interviews all the people involved in the scientific and sport world who live for these occurrences with a natural intriguing curiosity that left me in astonishment that these waves have existed for thousands of years and will forever be a part of our world. Treat yourself to a great ride and read Ms. Casey's book!
Nikki R. (Irvine, CA)
Catch the Wave if You Dare
The Wave was infinitely more engaging than I had thought it might be. The author made the wave warriors real, likable, and bigger than life. The book is engrossing, informative, and at times horrific pondering these monsters of the sea. This read was made all the better since I was on Maui at the time, however the former is not necessary to have a great time with the book. Enjoy!
Sande O. (Rochester, NY)
The Perfect Wave Book
100 foot high waves? The mind boggles. Hundreds of sailors lost at sea every year due to rogue waves? Lloyds of London is on the line to pay out. Is climate change the cause or the effect? Why do a small cadre of surfers follow the really, really big waves around world from Hawaii, to California to South Africa...well you get the idea. There is a lot more to waves than you might imagine, and author Susan Casey certainly has found a way to educate the reader in all waves' many facets.
Casey alternates conversations and observations of giant waves with scientific understanding of what makes them tick. The result makes an intriguing and satisfying look at a mysterious and always engaging subject. It was a great ride and a great read.
Julie Z. (Bennington, VT)
Catch The Wave!
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.--John Burdon Sanderson Haldane
The science of oceanography has advanced greatly since the invention of sonar, and satellite technology. One result has been to confirm the existence of giant ocean waves, over 80 feet tall. Sailors had long described them, but were not believed, as there was no scientific explanation for them, until the advent of quantum mechanics. Now we not only know they exist, but are appearing more often.
Author Susan Casey profiles the scientists and researchers who work in this cutting edge field. She also enters the world of the elite surfers who vie to catch the tallest, gnarliest waves in the world. I found the science more interesting than the surfers, but there's plenty about both, for wherever one's interests lie. If you prefer to have an adventure from the comfort of your armchair, this is the book for you.
Susan Casey has written a book about sharks, and was the creative director for Outside Magazine during the 1990's. She is also the new editor of O, the Oprah magazine.
Gunta K. (Glens Falls, NY)
Fascinating Mystery with a New Twist
Sailors world over, for centuries, have talked of rogue waves a hundred feet high. Waves which sink huge cargo ships leaving no one behind to tell about it. "The Wave" is a book not for the faint hearted. Susan Casey is traveling across the world to observe, experience, these monster waves. She talks to famous surfers, Hamilton, a surfing legend, others as well, the daring, the fearless and the just plain crazy. They chase these waves as a sport and a means of living.
The author gives minute details on the preparations of these men prior to riding these taller than a skycraper, nasty, unforgiving waves. They come from Tahiti, Hawaii, Australia to ride, many times encountering sharks deep in the waves. Much is talked about the families, children, lovers of these guys. This is a closed society. One which lives only for the thrill of riding the waves wherever they can be found. Any time.
"The Wave" is also a terrific geography lesson on the waters covering our world. Many well known scientists and oceanographysts are mentioned here. Lloyd's of London has several pages explaining to the reader as to whom and what Lloyd's has insured and a description in detail of their method of assessing resulting claims. Much information is logged in this tome in term of names of ships, cargoes, dates and their time of disappearance or serious damage after surviving one of these monsters. Interesting discussion on tsunamis, their origin and size. The author's description of being in a boat to catch the swell of Ghost Tree a monster wave on the west coast of Calilfornia, is nothing short of sublime.
I like this book as there is not one boring page in it.
Vicki O. (Boston, MA)
How High "The Wave"?
Having read Susan Casey’s enthralling and gripping book, “The Wave,” I will view the ocean through a different lens, one that sees it as both powerful and mysterious. The author takes us on a journey that is as thrilling as the surfing challenges she describes. She travels with the select group of extreme surfers as they track down the seven most formidable waves, all of which have “a distinct character.” Interspersed between the wave chases are fascinating profiles of the scientists seeking to understand what causes the ocean’s unpredictable behavior. “The Wave” will not disappoint.
Karen J. (Bremerton, WA)
What a Ride!
Well, I’m back – a bit soggy but unbowed. I’ve traveled on the boat Discovery to Waveland in the North Sea with a group of scientists, who are studying how the ocean’s basic characteristics are shifting; surfed in Hawaii with a tribe of tow surfers who are chasing the elusive 100 foot wave; entered with great trepidation the T-shaped Lituya Bay in Alaska where I met a 1740 foot wall of water and lastly swung down to Capetown, South Africa where I learned about the Agulhas Current, so treacherous that it keeps four boat salvage companies in business full time.
If you are at all interested in rogue, freak, giant waves, the scientists who study them and the adrenaline junkies who crave to conquer them – grab your wetsuit for this is one heck of a ride!