Susan Casey is the author of The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks and The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean.
From her 2010 Q & A with Lauren Mechling at the Wall Street Journal:
What led to your decision to write a book on waves?--Marshal Zeringue
Things added up. I had been injured by a wave about at tall as I am. I was surfing in San Diego and I got pulled under and got cut pretty bad. The fall injured my lower back and it caused a rupture of my kidney. I was a swimmer—I’d been on the Canadian national team. The fact that the water could hurt me like that was hard to wrap my head around. That’s why I understood later when [surfer] Brett Lickle would say, “There’s always the wave that will get you down. They have their own personalities.”
Then I was vacationing in Hawaii and I was there standing on Sunset Beach, which is known for being pretty gnarly, and I saw the surfers paddle surfing in waves that were between 25 and 30 feet. I was terrified. Then I was [working as Creative Director] at Outside Magazine and I started seeing pictures of Laird on 60 foot waves and I was mesmerized. . . . I only want to write about the ocean. I can’t think of anything more interesting. There’s all these mysteries here and we don’t know much about it.
What was the scariest statistic you uncovered while working on the book?
The notion that climate change could increase earthquake and volcanic activity was really surprising to me, and every scientist agreed. I asked every scientist if the storms are going to get more intense and there wasn’t anybody who dissented at all. That was another surprise, how despite all the arguing, they all agree that climate change is happening and the ocean will be deeply affected. We all think it’s going to be hotter on land but...[read on]