'The Encyclopedia of Surfing'
Credit: Courtesy Matt Warshaw / Encyclopedia of Surfing.com

'The Encyclopedia of Surfing'

Matt Warshaw's exhaustively researched, 816-page 'Encyclopedia of Surfing' came out to rave reviews in 2003. The project consumed three years of Warshaw's life, so you'd think he'd have had enough. But Warshaw, 53, knew something was missing. "The book is just a slab of text with a few black-and-white images," he says. "As soon as I was done being happy that I finished it, I looked at it and thought, 'Well, it's only half-done.'"

Now, with the launch of the book's authoritative companion website, the visually arresting, user-friendly encyclopediaofsurfing.com, the other half has arrived. Over four years in his home office, Warshaw worked to update the original manuscript and comb through a trove of rare images and videos provided by some of the sport's best photographers. (He raised $26,000 on Kickstarter and funded the rest himself.) The results are showcased on the site's vivid home page: an ever-changing collage of clickable photos in a palette anchored in bright orange. Each image delivers a tightly written entry bolstered by more photos, custom-curated videos, and a neat short list of related entries and links. A pop-out search window and a clickable alphabet are there to guide you, too.

Warshaw credits the site's clean look to his designer – and to the fact that it's ad free. Going forward, he plans to support the site with donations – it's a registered nonprofit – through which individuals can discreetly "sponsor" an entry. "It'll be like buying a brick in front of a newly designed wing of a museum," he says. "The site is designed to house as much surf culture as we can fit in one place. So I hope people will have fun with it."