Surfer and author, William Finnegan, won a Pulitzer prize in non-fiction for his autobiographical tome, Barbarian Days, which is part introspective journey, part travel epic, part anthropological study of surfing culture. Finnegan’s provocative prose captures all the romance and mystique of the surfer’s path and explains how the subculture with its hallowed waves, intriguing characters and rapturous equipment can get a grip on a person’s life. Finnegan’s more intellectualised approach to the surfing experience empowers surfers to see themselves in a different light and also encourages the mainstream to dispel some of its long-held clichés about those who dedicate much of their lives to the pursuit of riding waves.

In this short film, Finnegan reads from his own work as Darius Devas sets the spoken literature against footage which is designed to reflect the essence of the words. Much of the imagery features Finnegan himself. It’s a simple but effective method for delivering another layer of meaning to an enchanting book. If you haven’t read Barbarian Days this may inspire you to pick it up. If you have read it then you should enjoy this visual interpretation.  

William Finnegan with his Pulitzer prize-winning winning book.