In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean
On Sale: September 14, 2010
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From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth,
an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue
waves and the surfers who seek them out.
For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves,
100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists
dismissed these stories—waves that high would seem to
violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as
a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has
emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing
in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February
2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex
of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including
several that approached 100 feet.
As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others
view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are
extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the
ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme
surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group
of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally
large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique
tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of
their sport, a 100foot wave.
In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and
his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent
efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from
the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in
2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of
the Alaskan coast.
Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly
portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
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