Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

2015 • 447 pages


Average rating4.2


This book is filled with lovely writing that captures the author's awe and respect of the ocean, and his lifelong obsession with surfing. The prose is at once winding and meditative as it is forceful and reckoning, much like waves themselves. Being a (hitherto) lifelong competitive runner, I can also relate to the obsessive dedication to a physical pursuit; however, his nearly scientific knowledge of the ocean, and the terminology of surf culture, and the adventures of various elite beaches across the world was previously wholly unknown to me; so in that way, the book is an invitation into a completely different lifestyle. Each beach, with unique waves that the author describes in great detail, become more than setting, evolving into powerful characters that yet resist anthropomorphism. Yet, I did find myself getting a bit tired of the writing style, which grew more indulgent with each chapter. While each wave is described differently, the prose starts to feel recursive halfway through, I suppose like the waves themselves. Still worth a read, I think, if for nothing else than to read majesty and nuance and depth into what (I, at least) have always considered a bro culture.

February 4, 2021Report this review