Big wave surfer Rusty Long publishes a book about the sport and its daring athletes
By Andrea Swayne
With so many images of incredible big wave feats having seen the light of day maybe once—on the pages of a magazine or in a video posted online—one of the sport’s most talented practitioners set out to create a more permanent record of fellow wave riders, their stories and the behemoth mountains of water they set out to slay.
“I have always had the dream of putting together a book but knew that to get a big publishing company interested, it would have to be something that really stands out,” said San Clemente-based professional big wave surfer and now author, Rusty Long. “I set out to document the most amazing timeframe in big wave surfing.”
A year later, with awe inspiring images from about 20 photographers and featuring approximately 100 surfers, Long’s book, The Finest Line: The Global Pursuit of Big Wave Surfing is here.
“I knew so many of the best moments were ending up buried somewhere in photographers’ archives,” Long said. “I wanted to gather all of these incredible moments together and put them in one place, to create a spot where this timeframe in big wave history could be preserved.”
The book features the top surfers who have led the charge in the sport, as well as the underground heroes and legends of each region, all of whom have contributed greatly to the whole fabric of the sport.
“I wanted to gather all of these incredible moments together and put them in one place, to create a spot where this timeframe in big wave history could be preserved.”—Rusty Long
“I really tried to get that balance right in this book and give a lot of credit where credit is due,” Long said. “The story goes back to 2004, the point when tow surfing was at its peak. I covered a bit of that—some of the last major tow-in sessions at Cortes Bank and Jaws during that time. Tow surfing never went away, but from that point on is when the sport really changed and the best surfers in the business went back to wanting to paddle into the biggest waves possible and create a much more significant challenge for themselves. That’s really the big story of the book.”
The book is available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Costco and a variety of surf shops.
A book signing event will be held on Saturday, May 2 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Interval Gallery, 412 N. El Camino Real in San Clemente.