A state of mind. A lifestyle. A philosophy. A sport. Surfing embodies many things for millions of people, so the task of chronicling its history in a single book presented a challenge Jim Heimann, executive editor of Taschen America, was eager to take on. A cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian, Heimann spent three and a half years researching and gathering 900 images to paint a comprehensive picture of how surfing has evolved over centuries. The book is structured into five chapters and the first starts with 1778, the year when surfing is first recorded during the third voyage of Captain James Cook, even though the sport actually predates European contact. To collect all the vintage photos and information, the author worked with institutions and organizations from around the world, using images from various photographic archives. Readers can enjoy stunning paintings, illustrations, retro posters, vintage magazine covers, and photos taken at the start of the 20th century, through the 1950s and up to the present day. Other images show the evolution of the design of surfing apparel, or the use of surfing in advertising and media, as well as its influence on art, music, and film. Several essays written by top surf journalists are included to accompany the striking visuals. The book provides a thoroughly detailed history of this beloved sport and pays homage to its complexity and undeniable allure that have fascinated around 20 millions of people across the world. It’s a must-have for anyone who is fan of the sport and for those who appreciate its philosophy or want to understand the lifestyle in more depth. You can buy Surfing: 1778 – 2015 here. Photography by Mark Seelen, courtesy of Taschen.

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