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

Jim Kempton. Pegasus, $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-643-13724-7
Kempton (First We Surf, Then We Eat), former editor-in-chief of Surfer magazine, chronicles the fascinating history of women’s surfing in this spectacular work. He begins in 17th-century Hawaii, where the world’s oldest known surfboard belonged to a Polynesian princess—then skips ahead to the 1920s to reveal that famed mystery author Agatha Christie was an avid surfer at a time when “very few British people were surfing.” That changed when women’s surfing clubs in Great Britain introduced the sport to the masses in the 1930s. Moving through the 20th century, Kempton surveys surfing’s postwar popularity, particularly its rise in Hollywood, where stars including Marilyn Monroe “were regulars in the surf.” Bringing the narrative up to the present, Kempton looks at the competitive surfing scene around the world and the ongoing battles for gender equality within it—such as the push by surfer Jessi Miley-Dyer to establish equal prize money in the World Surfing League (which only began awarding men and women the same amount in 2019). Dense as it is, the detailed history easily bobs along thanks to Kempton’s riveting narration. This is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the sport. Agent: Suzy Evans, Sandra Dijkstra Agency. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/16/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 490 pages - 978-1-63936-214-1
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