Surfing is more of a companion to literature than you might believe. It isn't just a sport, it's a poetry, a dance. You know the clichés.

But it's true. Surfing lends itself to dissection in the literary form. Non-fiction, fiction, self-help, it's a spectrum that has something for everyone.

And here, below, are five great books about surfing that you most certainly should not miss.

1. Surfing and Health by Dr Dorian Paskowitz
Ol doc Paskowitz was a Russian Jew who went to Stanford, became a doctor and threw it all in to chase surf. In doing so, he introduced surfing to Israel (and later to the Palestinians of Gaza), reared children, surfed up and down the American coastlines with nine kids in a 21-foot van, following his philosophy that wisdom comes not from formal education but experience. He also wrote books, taught at community college, inspired the hell out of cats like Rob Machado and Kelly Slater and, still, in his 90s, surfed the waves of Hawaii’s South Shore, albeit on his knees after his hinges gave out. His book Surfing and Health is part memoir, part self-help, part diet book. As a manual for life it's without peer.

2. Bustin’ Down the Door by Rabbit Bartholomew with Tim Baker
There isn't a surfer alive who can weave a story like the former ASP chief and 1978 world champ Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew. I read this book, in its entirety,  from dawn to dusk as I sat in a beachfront carpark in Western Australia. Bustin' Down the Door was sewn together by the journalist Tim Baker so there's a cohesiveness and ease-of-reading that makes it sing.

3. Mr Sunset: The Jeff Hakman Story by Phil Jarratt
Who knew the man who started Quiksilver in Europe and who was The Man at Sunset in the late-60s and early-70s, was a junkie? This frank and beautifully written biography sits near the top of the surf-book pantheon because it's a book you can read even if you don't surf. The lesson? As long as you're beautiful and you can surf well, people will look after you no matter how rotten your behaviour gets.

 4. Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn
A well-crafted, but dirty as hell, fictional tale centred around Huntington Beach. Our hero Tucker, a hick from San Arco, doesn't find the golden idyll of his surf dreams but one filled with punks, bikers, sex, death and drugs. Dingy but compelling! And, yeah, he does tap the source.

 5. MP: The Life of Michael Peterson by Sean Doherty
The most mythical of Australian surfers, Michael Peterson is, at least in Australia, part deity, part bad dream. In this ferociously researched book, Sean Doherty tracks every significant character in MP's life and, in their own words, has them recount their exchanges, and their experiences, about the drug-addicted schizophrenic surf star. If you've ever wondered why Australians were so en thrall to the guy, read this and you'll know.