Women on Waves: A Cultural History of Surfing; From Ancient Goddesses and Hawaiian Queens to Malibu Movie Stars and Millennial Champions

Pegasus. Jul. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781643137247. $27.95. SPORTS
Sandy beaches and crashing waves have beckoned for centuries, but most surfing history to date has focused on men’s prowess in the sport. Journalist Kempton (former editor in chief of Surfer Magazine) now tells the comprehensive story of women in surfing, starting with 11th-century Hawaiian legends and lore and continuing right up to today’s fearless and innovative young surfers. Kempton’s narrative is accompanied by margin notes on the evolution of women’s rights and roles on dry land; he also explains how women helped surfing culture spread throughout the world. This is 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. His deep research and thorough timeline reveal a perhaps lesser-known side of surfing and put women surfers on equal footing with men.
VERDICT As surfing will make its Olympic debut in 2021, this book’s eye-catching cover and well-organized history make it an outstanding choice for sports and surfing aficionados. Recommended for public library sports collections, especially in areas where surfing is popular.
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