Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

By: on July 06, 2016
$12.03 - $16.63
Check It Out

I've heard more than once that a lot of musicians and music lovers consider the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" to be one of the most perfect songs ever written. Here's a recent article that calls it "the perfect marriage of lyric and music." Now my mama loooooves the Beach Boys, and that's pretty much all I listened to, with some Linda Ronstadt thrown in here and there, when I was a kid in the car with her. So I actually appreciate the band--their harmonies, their musicality, their addition of Uncle Jesse in the 80s. But I'm not sure I get all the reverence and accolades for "God Only Knows" in particular. It just sounds like a Beach Boys song to me.

But it's possible I'm an idiot.

Similarly, William Finnegan's Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life sounds like just a book about surfing to me. Surfing's cool, and I respect those who are good at it, but I don't relate to the obsession with it, and the almost religious aura it carries for some. And unless there are sharks and amputations involved, I'm not sure how a memoir about surfing could be worthy of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography.

But again, it's possible that I'm an idiot and Barbarian Days is a damn good book about surfing. Maybe even the best beach read of the summer.

Finnegan's story takes readers through his life of part-time surfing the world and part-time wandering it. Growing up in California and Hawaii, he picked up surfing young and stuck to the books until adolescence. His rebellion spanned joining a whites-only gang in his Honolulu high school and dropping LSD before hitting the waves of Honolua Bay on Maui. He then went on to chase them through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, and Africa, stopping along the way to hang in a Somoan fishing village, maneuver through the Indonesian black market, and almost die of malaria. Eventually, Finnegan returned to the books, becoming a writer and a war reporter.

Barbarian Days is described as "an old-school adventure story...a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little-understood art." Perhaps the perfect marriage of sport and life.

Check it out

Fitzke Bootlegger Paddleboard

By: Fitzke »

Fitzke begins its foray into paddleboard builds with a nod to airplanes and illicit booze. The Bootlegger SUP is designed after prohibition-era airplanes and wood boats from the 20s....

Check it out

Fat Boys Blob Water Launch Pad

$3,500 from Fat Boys »

You don't need to be a fat boy, or even a boy, to assume the position of Launcher or Launchee on the Fat Boys Blob. All you need is a craving for a rush of adrenaline and a fearlessness in the face of heights....

Check it out

aRks 3D Printed Bikinis

aRks 3D has prototyped a series of 3D printed bikinis they call Coral. And I know what all the dudes out there are thinking: that's some Coral I'd sure like to come across in the ocean. In stark contrast what's running...

Buy Now

See Through Bottom Canoe

Sold Out from Amazon »

Ahhh. It's a see-through canoe/kayak that seats two and provides the perfect setting for a romantic, yet adventurous date of paddling the high seas and taking in all of its technicolored fishies, regally swaying anemones...

Check it out

Scorkl Handheld SCUBA Tank

$200 - $600 from Kickstarter »

Bite down on a Scorkl and you'll score 10 minutes of untethered underwater breathing. No snorkel confining you to a foot below the water's surface, and no loading up with a 35-pound SCUBA tank and BC like an aquatic pack...

Check it out

TRITON - Human Gills


TRITON, the human gills design concept I showed you dudes here 2 years ago (and which many of you had mucho to say about in our comments section) is running a crowdfunding campaign to actually produce the equpiment. TRITONs....

Buy Now

WaterBlade Stingray Motorized Stand Up Paddleboard

$1,999 from Amazon »

Whoa, the WaterBlade Stingray has a lot more than stand up paddleboard going on. Where to start with this rideable surface glider?...

Buy Now

The Wonder Cart Table & Beach Cart

$40.23 from Amazon »

Calling this beach gear cart and table combo The Wonder Cart might be a bit of an overstatement. Sure, it's handy to be able to use the carrier to schlep all your towels and floats to the perfect spot, and then flip it...

Check it out

SCUBAJET Underwater Scooter

$1,400 - $1,750 from SCUBAJET »

SCUBAJET is a new underwater scooter for propelling your person while diving. You can also attach the water jet to small watercraft, such as a stand up paddleboard, canoe, or kayak. No word yet on whether or now it's...

Buy Now

Halo Sport Neurostimulation Headset

$749 from Amazon »

Halo Sport suggests the latest performance-enhancing drugs aren't pills or shots. They're wearables. Technology. Halo Sport designers claim the neurostimulation headset helps athletes, musicians, surgeons, and others...

Buy Now

8-Person Island Raft

$120 - $319 from Amazon »

What is there to say about Tropical Tahiti's floating island raft fit for you and 7 of your favorite water-lovin', sun-soakin', float-happy, swimsuit-clad cats besides P-A-R-T-Y and O-R-G-Y?...

Check it out

Jetfoiler Hydrofoil Electric Surfboard

I'm about to Jetfoiler your plans to learn to surf this summer, because Kai Concepts has stuck a hydrofoil under a surfboard and added an electric motor to create a wild-looking water toy and transporter that's probably...