Science of Surfing–New book takes young readers behind the scenes of the latest Olympic sport

Review by C.J. Bunce

One hundred years after surfer Duke Kahanamoku won an Olympic medal in swimming, surfing finally made it to become an official sport at this year’s games.  A new book coming this month is using the sport of surfing to teach kids about science.  Spinning out of writer-artist Kim Dwinell’s series of Surfside Girls fiction books for kids, The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean is a practical guide full of science facts every kid should know about the ocean and sea life.  Published by Top Shelf Productions, its available for pre-order now here at Amazon for your favorite youth who was glued to the competition at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan last week and looking for more.

Surfside Girls Sam and Jade take readers into the why behind not just surfing, but the “stuff” of the ocean, the ocean, its waves, its creatures, and humans’ use of it.  Dwinell breaks down her dive into the subject by biology, physics, and stewardship on the more serious side, expanding into strange ocean phenomena and a brief primer on surfing itself.

It’s all drawn comics style, light-hearted, and easy to read and understand.  What are tides?  How do they work?  Why do surfers consult a tide chart?  How many tides do all beaches have?  Are different tides better for different uses?  How does our moon’s gravitational pull directly have an impact on the tides?  Sam and Jade answer these questions and discuss the phases of the moon, what they mean for oceans and surfers.  Readers will walk (or surf) away knowing all the parts of the wave, from its molecules and its purpose to the scientific equations scientists use to explain it, which can be used by surfers to optimize their experiences.  Dwinell goes even further, discussing how weather specifically changes the ocean–and your local beachgoing.

Via drawings and notations, readers will then learn about beach-life, like pelicans, seagulls, sandpipers, crabs, mollusks, and starfish, deeper down to dolphins, otters, and sharks, and the ocean’s forests of kelp and creatures who dwell there.  The book briefly touches on bioluminescence, also the subject of a recent episode of NOVA on public television.

In her chapter on “how to surf,” Dwinell’s heroines discuss recommended swimwear for the sport and board basics.  If you saw on Olympics coverage athletes referred to as “goofy,” you’ll learn what that means here (it’s important for where your leash goes in surfing).  And she discusses rules for the oceanic roadway, followed by environmental considerations for every beachcomber.

Here is a preview from, The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean courtesy of Top Shelf Productions:

It’s a great introduction for kids from K-12 or adults who may not have learned this information before and wanting to know more about surfing. The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean  is a great natural science–and phys ed–supplement for teachers, and good reading for every kid.  Pre-order it now here at Amazon.

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