Surf Book Review

There are only a handful of non-fiction surf books that I’m excited about and Surf Survival, the Surfer’s Health Handbook by Andrew Nathanson, Clayton Everline and Mark Renneker is one of them.  The canon of essential surf books has long been missing a comprehensive resource to cover the myriad of potential threats surfers deal with on a daily basis.  Surf Survival covers everything from the basics of how waves work to techniques to avoid injury in a tube riding wipe out.  The writers are all MD’s and lifelong surfers (one is a big wave rider), so they are comfortable digging into discussions of rotator cuff injury, sun/skin issues and improvised backboards and collars to transport a surfer with a neck injury. My particular favorites were wound closure (including using dental floss for scalp wounds) and dealing with dislocations.  They also pepper the book with gnarly real life stories illustrating their points. Last winter I was with a friend dealing with a super painful dislocated shoulder. We were miles and miles from any medical facility and facing a long ride on a bumpy dirt road in a car with no shocks that would have had him passing out from pain. Luckily another friend of mine with experience putting shoulders back in was there to help, but I couldn’t help thinking about what would have happened if it had just been me.  Reading through Surf Survival I feel better prepared for that and a whole lot more.

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