William Finnegan won the £28,000 (about $34,740) William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award (the "Bookie") for Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, which took the Pulitzer Prize for biography earlier this year and was on President Obama's summer reading list. The judges described the book as a "painstaking, intelligent, but above all, open-minded examination of an immensely complicated area." In addition to the cash prize, Finnegan gets a William Hill bet worth £2,500 ($3,100) and an exclusive day at the races.
Mark Lawson, one of this year's judges, said: "Although the author himself acknowledges the skepticism of some about whether surfing is a sport, the judges felt that Finnegan's account of the physical and psychological drive to achieve athletic perfection make Barbarian Days a worthy winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. The autobiographical detail and precision of the writing also make it rewarding to those who might think they would struggle to get on board with surfing as a subject."