A coffee table book – defined as a large, lavishly illustrated book especially for casual reading – has grown to become a necessity in the home. But it still remains a talking point – whether you leave it out because it is beautiful, funny, mind-blowing, bizarre or for another reason entirely. Whatever the intention, the direct appeal of the ‘coffee crown’ stems from diversity; the fact that within seconds they can immerse you into another, more enchanting realm.
So if you have a spare moment in time, or a space left on your coffee table, “Surf Odyssey – The Culture of Wave Riding”, the new book from Gestalten, is for five minutes at least, the book that can make you feel like you’re in the action, or perhaps more poignantly, that you can actually stand up on a board.
Edited by Andre Groves, the book seeks to capture the vibrant subculture of surfing by encompassing all aspects of the sport, from cult surfers, communities and key figures that share their own travel stories and favourite places.
It has been said that surfing is a way of respecting nature – that the oceans and waves are made for our enjoyment – and the association between the board and the water is a surfers’ way of ‘worshipping’ the land. That romantic perspective of the sport is made tangible in the book, as the pages feature an abundance of photographs featuring stunning surfing locations around the globe. From the stretching shores below Table Mountain in Cape Town, the swelling sea under the daunting cliffs of Moher in Ireland and the gigantic waves of Nazare in Portugal to snow-covered beaches in Canada and Norway.
The eclectic and enchanting selection of photographs stretch from the majestic landscapes to more imaginative images, including mesmeric shots of surfers under water and the journey to the waves featuring our favourite 911.
Complementing the rich array of photographs are stories from adventurers such as Gary Conley, who set off upon an expedition across the west coast of Africa on his motorbike and navigated his way through bandits and hostile border patrols, to more poetic tales of the finest waves in the Baltic sea.
The diversity, enchantment and environmental sense of surfing is something that inspires and interests us all; and those delicate feelings radiate from artists, designers, illustrators and story-tellers who all feature beautifully and prominently in this book.
Check out our favourite images from Surf Odyssey and pick up your copy from Gestalten.
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