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A captivating look at two centuries of surfing—"the Sport of Queens"—from Native Hawaiian royalty to the breakout style and jaw-dropping feats on the waves today.
Few subjects in the world of sports and or the outdoors is more timely or compelling than women’s surfing. From smart, strong, fearless women shattering records on 80-foot waves to professional athletes fighting for equal pay and a more fair and just playing field, these amazing, wave-riding warriors provide an inspirational and aspirational cast of powerful role models for women (and men) across all backgrounds and generations.
Over the past two-hundred years, and especially the past five decades, the surfing lifestyle have become the envy of people around the world. The perception of sun, sand, surf, strong young women and their inimitable style, has created a booming lifestyle and sports industry—and the sport that is set to make its Olympic exhibition debut in Tokyo 2021. A massive shift from when colonizers tried to extinguish all traces of Native Hawaiian surfing and its sacred culture.
What is it about the surfing that intrigues people of all ages, from all corners of the world? The beaches and idyllic locations? The unique style and mystique that surfers project? These women, on the beach and riding giant waves, or in the media, have made their mark on not just their sport, but our wider culture.
Women on Waves is filled with phenomenal athletic performance, breakthrough female achievements, and plenty of inspiration and fun to see us through until the time when we can all hit the surf once more!
Spanning a millennia from Hawaii to Malibu, New York to Australia, South Africa to the South Pacific and beyond, Jim Kempton presents a fascinating new narrative that will captivate anyone who loves sports and the outdoors.
About the Author
Jim Kempton is the award-winning former editor in chief of SURFER magazine. He is the author of three books, the including First We Surf, Then We Eat and Surfing: The Manual. Currently, he is the President of the California Surf Museum and served as project director for a 70-foot surf exploration vessel, the Indies Trader, which traversed the globe in search of new wave discoveries while mapping the location and health of the world’s reefs.
"Fascinating and spectacular. The detailed history easily bobs along thanks to Kempton’s riveting narration. This is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the sport."
— Publishers Weekly (Starred)
“This is going to be the Gold Standard for women’s surfing history around the world. The visual story telling interwoven with historical facts is stunning.”
— Shannon Aikman, Co-Founder, Women’s International Surfing Association
“I believe in the power of personal narrative, in the voices not first heard. Women on Waves is a rare gem. The sheer number of stories, from competitive triumphs to personal struggles makes this fascinating history of women's surfing more than just comprehensive. It is, in effect, the entire sweep of surfing culture—told for the first time through the lens of women’s experiences."
— Samantha Dunn, author of NOT BY ACCIDENT and special projects editor at the Souther California News Group
“I love being part of women’s surfing right now! There are so many girls rocking it and pushing hard. It’s so awesome to see and inspires me to push hard too. I can’t wait to see what women’s surfing will be like when I’m an oldie!”
— Bethany Hamilton
“A sublime, heavily researched, well-written, labor of love.”
— David Rensin, author of the New York Times best-seller "Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In"
“An engaging, inclusive history of surfing, full of unforgettable women and their stories. Kempton has a smooth narrative voice and a talent for uncovering the hidden heroines of the beautiful, dangerous, always enthralling sport... An outstanding choice for sports and surfing aficionados.”
— Library Journal
"Readers will learn about women surfers in each decade whose achievements were ignored by the surfing media and who battled issues of gender inequality while creating opportunities for the next generation. Kempton presents a comprehensive and important group portrait and an enriching contribution to women’s sports history that honors influential wave riders and celebrates surfing sisterhood."