Customer Reviews for

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A major adventure

National Geographic published a list in May of 2004 of the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All time. It included such classics as The Worst Journey in the World, Into Thin Air, and Terra Incognita. I will take bets that The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Gia...
National Geographic published a list in May of 2004 of the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All time. It included such classics as The Worst Journey in the World, Into Thin Air, and Terra Incognita. I will take bets that The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey ends up on their next list.

This fine work is a skein of three interconnected stories, the dawning recognition in the scientific community that the "Giant Waves" long thought to be myth do indeed exist, a review of some of the most deadly effects of great waves, and the thrilling stories of the men and women who challenge the sea for sport.
Strange and frightening events have happened at sea. In 1982 a 337-foot-high oil platform which was built to withstand 110-foot seas and 115-mile-per-hour winds capsized and sank close to instantly, killing all eight-four people on board. The author's investigations at Lloyd's of London reveaed an almost unnoticed list of maritime disasters. In the years from 1990 to mid-1997 a total of ninety-nine huge bulk carriers were lost. Then in a four-month period in the winter of 1997-98 twenty-seven vessels along with 645 people were lost in a single four month period.

Weaving through this story is the growing belief by the scientific community that things are most likely to get worse before they get better. The effects of climatic change will be significant at sea. Effects that range from higher sea levels to more frequent tsunamis are likely as the increased weight of water makes the sea floor itself more prone to underwater landslides and collapses.

In the mist of this change and concern came a startling announcement. In July 2001 a man named Bill Sharp speaking for a surf wear company issued a press release. It offered a prize of $500,000 to anyone who rode a 100 foot wave. This "Golden Carrot" created a huge surge in people attempting to ride big waves and brought many people into the extreme sport who had no business being there.

Ms. Casey spends almost half of her book on the sport of surfing and its many manifestations and on the individual who choose the extreme end of the sport. She writes with power and with a deep understanding of the experience. She choose her narrators early and follows them through the period when the fall out from this challenge made a huge and often tragic impact on the sport of surfing.

From start to finish this is a wild ride of a book that manages to be as educational as it is exciting. It is hard to review this book without falling into "my heart beat faster" or "I was on the edge of my chair" but it is in truth that good of a tale.

posted by Paul_McFarland on August 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

My inner scientist enjoyed the waves, but I had surfer fatigue by the end.

How many ways can you describe surfing and waves. Apparently not enough to keep my interest. The Wave is written with chapters alternating between the science behind giant waves and the pursuit of extreme surfing. I realize that Ms. Casey probably got interested t...
How many ways can you describe surfing and waves. Apparently not enough to keep my interest. The Wave is written with chapters alternating between the science behind giant waves and the pursuit of extreme surfing. I realize that Ms. Casey probably got interested through the surfing aspect as Laird Hamilton's neighbor in Hawaii, but I lost interest in the surfing aspects of the book after a few chapters. There are too many surfers too keep straight and the waves at some point all come down to the same characteristics--they are big and bad ass and you should be cautious even if you know what you are doing. However, I did find the science fascinating and scary at the same time. I would not recommend reading this during a cruise or a beach vacation as you may have bad dreams. I was traveling while reading this and decided I should not read it in coastal low lands as the images of what could happen are somewhat alarming. I would have enjoyed more science and less surfing with the surfing used to humanize the story. By the end, I found myself skimming to surfing sections.

posted by Brad_the_nook_nerd on January 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Xd

    ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    G

    Srry!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Fascinating

    Written clearly. Thought about this book for weeks after i finished it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    De4we8

    Brilliant! Loved the mix of science, actual events, and surfing the monster waves. It was as close to slipping down the face of a monster wave as I'll ever get.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2011

    Excellent, science + adventure

    The author nicely mixed the science of rogue/huge waves and the stories of the surfers who seek them out. A very talented writer and a very interesting, compelling and unique story!

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Boring

    Thought it was boring.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Overrated

    I was disappointed by this book. A lot of fill-in and very little substance. More a travel log of people she met which is fine if that's what you are interested in.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    Fascinating stories

    If you're at all interested in the ocean, you'll enjoy this book. A lot of it focuses on a group of surfers that pursue the largest waves out there, but there's an equal amount of focus on scientists and mariners that talk about where and how the waves form. It will give you a new respect for the ocean.

    Well written, without too much scientific detail, though you can find more info (if you want to) on the internet via her notes.

    The only downside I might say is that there's not really a typical story here, so the ending just....ends (somewhat). There's a part of the surfing pursuit that has a conclusion of sorts, but the scientific parts just go on (of course).

    Still, I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    Beautiful Blend - Science and Story

    As a reader of books on 'science for real people' I have often read and understood science better, but The Wave brought that understanding to a new level. Ms Casey manages to incorporate good story telling, complete with (albiet real life) characters, climax, triumph and tragedy with the science behind the challenge and opportunity presented by the ocean waves. She has brought an oft ignored issue of missing ships and their crews and the global challenge in climate change to life in ways all of us can understand.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    great book if you are into surfing

    to much on the surfing activity, I thought their would be more information and stories on rogue waves

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    Recommended!

    Loved it. Want to read more about freak - and rogue - waves.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    T.N.T. Novel Review

    One thing I know I lack is the descriptive ability of Susan Casey, as she has mightily proven in her novel The Wave. She has taken subject matter that I find interesting, but never thought I would actually read an entire novel about it. I love the beach, I enjoy the ocean, but I would never do what some of the people described in this novel do, and that is surf on waves that are 70, 80, 90 feet tall and live to tell about it. Here is a short paragraph from the back cover:
    "In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' urgent efforts to understand the annihilating power 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 to the bigger and bolder waves of the future that climate change seems destined to bring."
    Susan Casey made the subject matter interesting to me. I don't know that much about waves and wave technology but when I was finished with this novel, I had received a mini education in it and I enjoy it. She did not talk down to me at all but I felt as if I was walking through the whole thing and experiencing it the way she did. Her descriptive ability was what made the novel for me. Her ability to put me in Hawaii watching Laird Hamilton and his group of crazy friends find a way to conquer the waves, not just ride them. Do yourself a favor and ride The Wave; it isn't such a bad trip.

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    Posted May 7, 2011

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    Posted July 29, 2011

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    Posted September 23, 2010

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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    Posted October 3, 2010

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