The Critical Surf Studies Reader

Book Pages: 480 Illustrations: 14 illustrations Published: September 2017

Cultural Studies > Ocean Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

The evolution of surfing—from the first forms of wave-riding in Oceania, Africa, and the Americas to the inauguration of surfing as a competitive sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics—traverses the age of empire, the rise of globalization, and the onset of the digital age, taking on new meanings at each juncture. As corporations have sought to promote surfing as a lifestyle and leisure enterprise, the sport has also narrated its own epic myths that place North America at the center of surf culture and relegate Hawai‘i and other indigenous surfing cultures to the margins. The Critical Surf Studies Reader brings together eighteen interdisciplinary essays that explore surfing's history and development as a practice embedded in complex and sometimes oppositional social, political, economic, and cultural relations. Refocusing the history and culture of surfing, this volume pays particular attention to reclaiming the roles that women, indigenous peoples, and people of color have played in surfing.

Contributors. Douglas Booth, Peter Brosius, Robin Canniford, Krista Comer, Kevin Dawson, Clifton Evers, Chris Gibson, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee, Scott Laderman, Kristin Lawler, lisahunter, Colleen McGloin, Patrick Moser, Tara Ruttenberg, Cori Schumacher, Alexander Sotelo Eastman, Glen Thompson, Isaiah Helekunihi Walker, Andrew Warren, Belinda Wheaton


"Editors Hough-Snee and Eastman have curated 18 essays that go above and below the waves to explore the deeper social, cultural, and political meaning of surfing. Recommended. All readers." — R. W. Roberts, Choice

"An exciting and important contribution to a field that is still relatively new to academics. . . . The book is an ambitious and innovative one that lays valuable groundwork for a field with a promising future. Beyond surf-oriented scholars, it will be of interest to scholars in the wider fields of sport history, cultural studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, geography, and political economy; and to a nonacademic readership that includes surfers and surf enthusiasts." — Elizabeth E. Sine, Journal of Sport History

"While [The Critical Surf Studies Reader] is underpinned by a rich diversity, essays collected here all find a certain degree of unity through a shared commitment to critical analysis and reflexivity that marks each as a serious intellectual engagement with the world of surfing. . . . High-quality scholarship and insightful critical analysis make this a worthy addition to other works in the field of Indigenous studies." — Barry Judd, Native American and Indigenous Studies

"Many of the chapters are written with a historical approach to studying surfing, making this book highly relevant for sport historians interested in surfing and other lifestyle/action sports. A well-written and recommended read for surfing history enthusiasts!" — Anne Tjønndal, International Journal of the History of Sport

"The cover of The Critical Surf Studies Reader is a black and white photograph of a surfer riding a wave taken from under the water. The photo is positioned sideways so that the book must be turned horizontally to view the image right side up. This collection does the same to surfing: turns it sideways and views it from beneath the surface. . . . an impressive collection of surf scholarship." — Lindsay E. Usher, Journal of Tourism History

"The Critical Surf Studies Reader is a thought-provoking book that will make important contributions to numerous fields including sociology of sport, sociology of action sports, sport for development and peace, cultural studies, media studies, leisure and tourism studies, critical race studies, and settler colonial studies. . . . [T]his collection of work should have a wide appeal within and beyond academia, and I can imagine it being taken up by those surfers who are critically engaged with the activity that defines such a part of their identity and communities." — Rebecca Olive, Sociology of Sport Journal

"What makes this book especially interesting is that even though it is of course an anthology, the strengths of the individual texts come through when consuming the collection holistically. ... All of the texts provide excellent insights and, taken together, produce a vivid image of the current state of surfing in its various facets." — Jeeshan Gazi, National Identities

“Surfing is beautiful, thrilling, fun. Everyone knows this. But surfing is also complicated and deeply paradoxical—and therefore a hell of a lot more interesting than it looks on the surface. The gathered writers in The Critical Surf Studies Reader understand this, and the sport is vastly more interesting for their contribution. An indispensable book to anybody who really wants to understand surfing.” — Matt Warshaw, author of The History of Surfing

“Focusing on surfing as a social act, these essays bring surfing into the study of postcolonialism, gender, ethnicity, media, and other fields. This collection offers the best surf studies scholarship to date.” — Joan Ormrod, coeditor of On the Edge: Leisure, Consumption, and the Representation of Adventure Sports

“Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman have produced a deeply informed and much-needed critical counter-voice on surfing's dominant culture and media. This volume offers a range of interventions on the current state of wave-riding and its many worlds. A go-to volume for figuring out critical surf studies.” — David Theo Goldberg, lifelong board rider and author of Are We All Postracial Yet?


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Price: $31.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee is a Ph.D. candidate and instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley.

Alexander Sotelo Eastman is a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Abbreviations  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction / Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman  1
Part I. Coloniality and Decolonization
1. On a Mission: Hiram Bingham and the Rhetoric of Urgency / Patrick Moser  29
2. A World Apart: Pleasure, Rebellion, and the Politics of Surf Tourism / Scott Laderman  47
3. Kai Ea: Rising Waves of National and Ethnic Hawaiian Identities / Isaiah Helekunihi Walker  62
4. Consolidation, Creativity, and (de)Colonization in the State of Modern Surfing / Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman  84
5. Decolonizing Sustainable Surf Tourism / Tara Ruttenberg and Peter Brosius  109
Part II. Race, Ethnicity, and Identity
6. Surfing beyond Racial and Colonial Imperatives in Early Modern Atlantic Africa and Oceania / Kevin Dawson  135
7. Pushing under the Whitewash: Revisiting the Making of South Africa's Surfing Sixties / Glen Thompson  155
8. Space Invaders in Surfing's White Tribe: Exploring Surfing, Race, and Identity / Belinda Wheaton  177
9. Indigenous Surfing: Pedagogy, Pleasure, and Decolonial Practice / Colleen McGloin  196
10. Appropriating Surfing and the Politics of Indigenous Authenticity / Dina Gilio-Whitaker  214
Part III. Feminist Critical Geography
11. Surfeminism, Critical Regionalism, and Public Scholarship / Krista Comer  235
12. Desexing Surfing? Pedagogies of Possibility / lisahunter  263
13. "My Mother Is a Fish": From Stealth Feminism to Surfeminism / Cori Schumacher  284
Part IV. Capitalism, Economics, and the Commodification of Surf Culture
14. Free Ride: The Food Stamp Surfer, American Counterculture, and the Refusal of Work / Kristin Lawler  305
15. The Political Economy of Surfing Culture: Production, Profit, and Representation / Douglas Booth  318
16. Soulful and Precarious: The Working Experiences of Surfboard Makers / Andrew Warren and Chris Gibson  342
17. Branded Primitives / Robin Canniford  365
18. Surfing and Contemporary China / Clifton Evers  386
Bibliography  403
Contributors  443
Index  449
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6972-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6957-8
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