DO NOT read Captain Zero, the author is a complete asshole. First the book is well written and does give a good idea of what its like to travel but jeez the man is a JERK. Captain Zero currently lives in Nica, you can even book a surf camp with him. He states that he has not seen a penny from the novel he inspired. What kind of "friend" is Wiesbecker. I clearly shows his character in the real world and I can't take his book whole heartly. The funny thing is Captain Zero doesn't even want the money but rather the recognition he deserves. He's the true spirit of that book so instead read Pipe Dreams by Kelly or I forget the title but the battles of Mark Fo and Ken Bradshaw. These are real surf books not some egotistical novel dissing us shortboarders who, "rip up the wave, rather than feeling the glide." What a joke!!!!
Weisbecker is a genuine a-hole. A real arrogant know it all prig. If you read "why cant you get along. . ." you will see more of his a-holism and see him get a bit of comeuppance. After reading his stuff (which is entertaining) you realize that he has edited his life from the typewriter to make himself seem more in control and less of a dumb-ass. The more he criticizes other writers for being full of crap,the more you should realize that he is just as full of it, too.
All that aside, the books are pretty good reading.
Kelly, John M. (1965). Surf and Sea. New York: A.S. Barnes. This is a well-written book that includes two major parts, the sport and the sea. The chapter titled Surfboards includes lots of good information on board design. Well worth taking some time to read through this book.
Klein, H. Arthur. (1965). Surfing. Philadelphia: Lippincott. Klein does a great job of covering the "world of surfing" organized in sets of waves, e.g., Set I is Preliminaries and Set II is Reviewing the Past. Set II includes 4 "waves" including Captain Cook Encounters Surfing and Dark Days Almost Wipe Out Surfing. Klein makes an interesting use of mathematics in discussing board displacements and fin (skeg) surfaces. Also of note is Klein's discussion of the Israeli hasake. All-in-all, he covers everything from bodysurfing through SUP-style waveriding.
Severson, John Hugh. (1964). Modern Surfing Around the World. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. A concisely written book that covers a wide range of topics and does it fairly well.
These books were published 45 or more years ago so they obviously do not cover innovations such as the leash and thruster, nonetheless they make for a good read.
i absolutely HATED west of jesus! what a friggin' waste of my time. wish i could have that day & a half back...
that said, i would recommend these, in addition to "good things love water" & "captain zero" (i also agree that weisbecker is an ass):
"big surf, deep dives, & the islands" by ricky grigg
northshore chronicles" by bruce jenkins
"joyrides" by chris aherns
"waves & beaches" by willard boscom
"a collection of short stories" by kimo hollinger
"30 years riding the world's biggest waves" by fred van dyke
i forget what it's called, but the biography of eddie aikau was really good, too
& if you're looking for something heavier...
"surfing & social theory" by nick ford & david brown
"Surfing: The Manual Advanced" is a pretty interesting book because it focuses on stuff that surfers who already know the basics would want to learn. So cutbacks, floaters, airs, getting speed, as well as nutrition facts and facts about waves themselves. It'll keep you busy for a while... of course, the only way you can really get better is by surfing, I think this book gives you a "push" over the edge when learning maneuvers.
"The Big Drop" by John Long is a pretty god read too. It's not a novel, but it's a collection of big-wave horror stories told by many of the most renowned big wave surfers, from the first paddle out at Waimea Bay, to towing in to Jaws. Who doesn't love a good, ol' fashion, fingerlicking, big-wave story?