Surfing the Pages: Bookshelf Bio Hangs Ten

Stephanie Hunt

The temperature shot up close to 90 today. Kids are coming home from school with much lighter backpacks—the homework wane is on and the final bell will soon ring (all-too-soon, if you ask me!).


It's here folks.... summer.  Which means the kids will be stir-crazy after about one or two weeks, unless, of course, you are a wise and resourceful parent who knows that surf camp is the best summer survival plan, bar none.


My girls love paddling out and catching waves, and I love watching them take to the water as bold surfers—graceful, daring, and strong. Their love for the sport is due in large part to their dad's enthusiasm for it, and due in equal measure to their way-cool instructor, the talented Kai Dilling.  Thanks to Kai's gentle approach to teaching and sharing his general stoked-ness, my girls and hundreds of young surfers have learned the finer points of popping up, duck-diving, wave-taking etiquette, water safety and respect for Mother Nature at Sol Surfers Surf Camp.


While he's an unabashed surfer-dude, Kai's also a gnarly reader. We caught up with this former science teacher in between surf sets, to learn more about what's on his bookshelf.


What are you reading now?

I'm reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. My daughter Olivia suggested it before we see the movie. I don't know how I've persuaded her not to see the movie until I finish.


Just finished?

I finally read The Wave by Susan Casey. Highly recommended.


Wish you'd read but never have?

When my oldest boy, Ian, was younger I would read a chapter of Harry Potter to him every night. We read the first several books together. At some point we stopped, probably because he had gotten older. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot. I guess there's three or four books we missed… He read them though.


Book that first made you change the way you understood things or challenged your world view?

I read Dove when I was a teenager. It's about a kid who sails around the world and learns to take care of himself and he falls in love along the way. I can't remember his name but it definitely influenced me in some big ways.


Favorite book and/or literary scene about Charleston?

I don't think I've read a lot with Charleston in the setting. I have not read much of Pat Conroy. I've read Prince of Tides, but it wouldn't really qualify as any sort of favorite. I enjoy learning about the history of Charleston and it's neighboring islands. The pirate tales are a lot of fun!


Your go-to book for a (graduation/birthday/special occasion) gift?

I'm a surfer, and I try to rub off my love for it on my friends; so, there's a few coffee-table/picture books that make nice gifts.


Ideal or favorite reading location?
We have a nice reading chair that I like to sit in. It has a view of the backyard but it's private enough not to be too distracting. I have a bit of ADD.


Real old-fashioned pages or a NOOK/Kindle/iPad?
Old-fashioned pages for sure! Computers make me dizzy.


Section of the library where you're mostly likely to be found?
I graduated from the College of Charleston and during my years there I did a lot of studying in the library, so you would have found me in some quiet cubicle without any distractions. Now I tend to stay with Fiction. 
I subscribe to:
…a bunch of Surfing magazines. I generally read them from cover to cover.
Writer you'd most like to take to dinner and where (in Charleston area)? 
I would go surfing with Stephanie Hunt and her family at Folly Beach and go to Taco Boy afterwards.
(NOTE to future interviewees: Kai got bonus points for that one!