The Book

For years, people have seen my Science of the Surf talk and told me I should make it into a book…so I did! Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book is everything you wanted to know about surf, sand, and rips.

You can purchase this bestselling paperback from UNSW Bookshop or Amazon book store. Or download the eBook from the iTunes store.

UNSW Bookshop Amazon eBook (iTunes AU) eBook (iTunes US)

Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book

Published in October 2010 by UNSW Press (ISBN / Catalogue Number: 9781742230979)
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What's the book about?

Here's how the publishers describe it:

Many of us live near the beach, and many more visit the beach on holidays. But just how much do we understand about the beach and its potential hazards? The types of waves and the way they break, tides and their currents, dangerous rips and how to spot them, and why some beaches are safer than others. Every year tens of thousands of people need to be rescued from the ocean because beach-goers don't possess basic beach safety knowledge and skills. The Essential Beach Book by Rob Brander (aka Dr Rip), a surf-lifesaver and scientist who studies beaches, rips and currents, is a simple, entertaining and useful guide to beach safety, with a solid scientific basis. He explains how beaches form, what drives waves and how rips develop, and offers practical advice to show you how to get the most out of your day at the beach - without risking your life.

rip current on a californian beach

Here's how that author describes it:

I've always had a feeling that a lot of beachgoers have an innate desire to understand a little more about what makes their favourite beach tick. So I've really tried to capture that interest by telling a story about why beaches are where they are and why they behave the way they do. The book is definitely about the 'science' of beaches and certainly has a beach safety theme, but it's also is about the joy of beaches and how we can use a little bit of knowledge to have as much fun as possible on them. So I've written it for families, surfers, and holidaymakers alike. It's packed with fantastic photos as I really believe that a picture tells a story and beaches are always photogenic! I'm hoping it's the sort of book that you can pick up and glance through at your leisure and come across things that make you go 'wow, that's neat'. I've also included some personal stories and tried some humour in places. Not sure if it works, but it's my book and I'm allowed to be self-indulgent!

thai beach, no waves, huts under the trees
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What's in it?

Lots of neat stuff. The chapters are as follows:

  1. The Sands of Time: Beaches Past, Present and Future
  2. Waves: The Science of the Surf
  3. Motions of the Oceans: Tides, Tsunami and Storms
  4. White is Nice, Green is Mean: Rips and Other Currents
  5. Life's a Beach….but Which One?
  6. Shark Fin Soup and Other Things That Can Kill You: Beach Hazards and Safety
Plane landing metres above a beach.
Photo: Lawrence Lansing

There's also a 'Using the Beach' theme throughout that includes incredibly valuable information on:

  • How to Build a Sandcastle
  • Beachcombing and Beach Fossicking
  • The Art of Bodysurfing
  • Boogie Boarding for Young and Old
  • Learning to Surf
  • Rockpool Rambling
  • The Rip Current Survival Guide
  • How to Spot a Rip
  • How to Observe Proper Beach Etiquette
  • An Idiots Guide to Driving on a Beach
  • The Shark Attack Survival Guide, and The Beach Safety Checklist.
tide pools

Finally, beaches are full of quirky stories, myths and facts so there's a range of 'boxes' throughout that cover topics like:

  • The Whitest Sand Beach in the World
  • The Curse of the Black Sand Beach
  • The Biggest Wave ever Surfed
  • How to Measure Wave Height
  • The Myth of the Collapsing Sanbar
  • Beware of the Undertoad
  • and many more.
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What are people saying about the book?

Well, according to the official endorsements on the cover:

So good it should be compulsory reading at school and in planes flying to Australia

Dr Karl (extremely famous and popular Australian scientist!)

The beach is a fun, but dangerous place. Everyone who loves the surf should read this fantastic book

Mick Fanning (World Surfing Champion 2007,2009)

Dr Rip's knowledge of how beaches work has helped save many lives

Bruce 'Hoppo' Hopkins, (Chief Lifeguard at Bondi Beach and star of the hit TV series 'Bondi Rescue')

Everyone interested in the beach should read this entertaining and informative book

Peter George AM (Chief Operating Officer, Surf Life Saving Australia)
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Beachgoers Bible

Catherine Proctor, Manly Daily Newspaper 11/12/10

Rating: 5/5

If you live near the beach, this may be the most important book you've ever read. Written by Australia's best known surf scientist (who is also a former surf lifesaver) Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book is a fascinating and accessible guide for all ages to everything beachgoers need to know to keep themselves safe at the beach.

This full colour book is packed with incredible photographs and fascinating facts. It tells you everything you need to know about sand, waves, rips, the surf, tides, tsunamis, currents, as well as potentially harmful creatures. It is the sort of book you can just dip into or read from cover to cover. The information is so vital to our way of life that as Dr Karl says on the front cover 'It should be compulsory reading at school and in planes flying to Australia'

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How can you buy it?

The RRP is $32.95 in Australia and the Essential Beach Book can be found in all good bookstores. But if you'd like a discounted copy of the best selling paper back, you can order it from UNSW Press or download an order form here.

If you have an eBook reader, such as iBooks on iOS, you can buy the eBook from the iTunes store.

The Essential Beach Book is also available online direct through Amazon, for people who live outside of Australia.

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