Book Review – Numb by Tim Nunn

Another epic travel based surf photography book, this time by Tim Nunn.

I live in the UK and surf here year round, the water gets to about 9 degrees Celsius in the South West at the very coldest part of the year, I have surfed in the North East of the UK and Scotland which get colder, but that’s as far as I want to push it personally, Tim Nunn and Ian Battrick take it to another level with cold water locations, and have documented their experience in this well produced coffee table book.

My well thumbed copy of Numb
My well thumbed copy of Numb

There’s actually a lot of writing in the book, which I enjoyed and appreciated, significantly more than The California Surf Project for instance, and it’s inspiring stuff which doesn’t linger on the harsh conditions, instead focusing on the rewarding experiences of this type of surf adventure, with some awesome photo’s along the way.

Spread from the norway section of Numb - photos by Tim Nunn
Spread from the Norway section of Numb – photos by Tim Nunn

I like the style of the writing, the photo’s are well laid out to compliment the story, there’s no contrived cliff hangers or cool miss spellings, I really enjoyed reading it as well as looking through the photo’s, at first I was trying to get through the text so I could get to the next spread of photo’s and make it through the book, but I settled into a nice rhythm of reading one section at a time, then going back through the photo’s, not rushing to the next one, then when I came back the next night starting the next and repeating.

Proofs of the book pages laid out, photo by Tim Nunn from
Proofs of the book pages laid out, photo by Tim Nunn via

My favourite section was probably the Scotland trips, I’ve been to the Thurso area and even surfed a couple of the waves that are featured in the book, making it easy to relate to Tim and Ian’s story, I also found it to be a pretty friendly atmosphere in the water, even if the waves and weather can be on the harsh side.

My shot of a wave in Scotland that also features in Numb, it was as small as it looks this day unfortunately
My shot of a wave in Scotland that also features in Numb, it was as small as it looks this day unfortunately

I’ve also been to Vancouver Island in Canada, but I was just visiting distant relatives and didn’t get to surf at all, I do distinctly remember seeing some photographs pinned up on a surf shop wall of some amazing looking waves, my relatives didn’t seem to know anything about the surf scene, this was back in 1999 I think, so I imagine there were even less people surfing up there than when the trips happened for Numb, but I did get to take in some amazing surroundings and I’d love to go back with my camera and board now to see a bit more of the area after reading more about it.

Even (or especially) if you live, surf and take photographs in a warm part of the world, I’d recommend this book to you, it’s got a theme, a decent story and loads of amazing photographs, buy it and help fund projects like this so we can see more of them in the future.

Anyway, this has turned into a very long review. Tim Nunn has recently posted on his blog about the possibility of a follow up, Numb 2, so I eagerly await the next one in the series.


Out of all the surf/photography coffee table books I’ve read, this is my favourite so far, highly recommended, 5/5.

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