In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether it’s unified by topic, publication, writer, being a classic piece of work, or just a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re in the lazy, hazy days of August, where thoughts turn to the beach, and that evergreen topic of surfing. Here’s a collection of articles about our obsession with endless summer and the perfect wave.
“Life’s Swell,” by Susan Orlean, Women’s Outside, November 1998
The inspiration for the (really good!) Kate Bosworth teen surfing film Blue Crush, Orlean’s article shows exactly how cool it is to be a sixteen-year-old girl in Hawaii who can tame a wave.
“One Summer, Forever,” by Lili Anolik, Vanity Fair, March 2014
If most magazine writing feels like one mass voice, Anolik’s stands out for the sheer vivacity of her prose: “The Endless Summer poster features the silhouettes of three male surfers, faceless, though you just know they’ve got to be beautiful, total hunk dreamboats with chiseled everything and hair, streaked blond and tangled with salt, falling gorgeously into cool blue stares, and teeth of such dazzling whiteness that to look at them is like looking into the sun.” Keep an eye out for her byline.
“Mavericks,” by Alice Gregory, N Plus One, Fall 2013
“Surfers have the odd habit of saying ‘I drowned’ when they mean ‘I almost drowned.'” In this article honored by the 2014 edition of Best American Sports Writing, Alice Gregory goes to the Mavericks Invitational, where surfers careen down 100-foot tall waves.
“Big-Wave Paddle Battle,” Outside Online, March 2012
Surf legend Laird Hamilton was talking shit about other surfers, other surfers reacted accordingly… with annoyance, brah!
“Stephanie Gilmore’s Violent Attack Forced Her to Start Over,” by Ann Binlot, Marie Claire, August 2014
How world-class surfer Stephanie Gilmore, the subject of the new documentary Stephanie in the Water, overcame the trauma of a random attack in her home to become a champion once again.