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Ghost Wave
Cover of Ghost Wave
Ghost Wave
The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth
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Rising from the depths of the North Pacific lies a fabled island, now submerged just 15 feet below the surface of the ocean. Rumors and warnings about Cortes Bank abound, but among big wave surfers, this legendary rock is famous for one simple (and massive) reason: this is the home of the biggest rideable wave on the face of the earth. In this dramatic work of narrative non-fiction, journalist Chris Dixon unlocks the secrets of Cortes Bank and pulls readers into the harrowing world of big wave surfing and high seas adventure above the most enigmatic and dangerous rock in the sea. The true story of this Everest of the sea will thrill anyone with an abiding curiosity of and respect for mother ocean.
Rising from the depths of the North Pacific lies a fabled island, now submerged just 15 feet below the surface of the ocean. Rumors and warnings about Cortes Bank abound, but among big wave surfers, this legendary rock is famous for one simple (and massive) reason: this is the home of the biggest rideable wave on the face of the earth. In this dramatic work of narrative non-fiction, journalist Chris Dixon unlocks the secrets of Cortes Bank and pulls readers into the harrowing world of big wave surfing and high seas adventure above the most enigmatic and dangerous rock in the sea. The true story of this Everest of the sea will thrill anyone with an abiding curiosity of and respect for mother ocean.
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About the Author-
  • Chris Dixon's work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Men's Journal, Surfer, and Surfer's Journal. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2011
    Journalist Dixon, founding editor of Surfermag.com, has written an engaging, multifaceted story of an obscure locale off the California coast that draws the most daring big-wave surfers in the world. Rising sea levels submerged the Cortes Bank thousands of years ago, but the former islands are so close to the surface that they make for dangerous seas. Dixon chronicles the history of human interaction with the bank, starting with Native Americans before Columbus and encompassing the days of sail and steam before bringing in contemporary surfers with their jet-skis and adrenaline addiction. Dixon’s ambition takes this story well beyond the realm of most surfing books. Early chapters include a daring reconstruction of an imagined journey to the area by proto-Chumash Indians. Accounts of American explorers and treasure hunters and the bizarre attempt to found a nation atop Cortes in the 1960s are equally fascinating. The second half of the book loses focus as Dixon tries to cover the entire history of big-wave surfing. Yet Dixon always writes capably, and his insider knowledge brings the allure and danger of this turbulent locale to life.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2011
    Like Mark Kreidler's The Voodoo Wave (also reviewed in this issue) journalist and surfer Dixon's engaging book explores the history, culture, and even the mythology of a popular surfing destination. Cortes Bank is an underwater mountain range whose highest point, known as Bishop Rock, reaches almost to the ocean's surface. Under the right conditions, this natural phenomenon creates some of the biggest waves in the world, and Cortes Bank draws all manner of surfers hoping to ride in front of a 30-foot tower of water. The bank was named after the steamship Cortes, whose commander, in 1853, witnessed massive eruptions of white water in the middle of the deep blue sea, and Bishop Rock for the clipper ship Bishop, whose 1855 collision with the undersea mountain peak is the stuff of legend. It's hard to say which is more interesting here, the stories of the surfers, explorers, divers, and sailors drawn to Cortes Bank or the history of the bank itself. Either way, terrific reading.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

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    Chronicle Books LLC
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Ghost Wave
Ghost Wave
The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth
Chris Dixon
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