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A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

To be alone at sea – a thought many have, and a dream few chase. The divinity of the simple solitude of sailing transoceanic toward that iconic expanse of blue horizon is hard to ignore.

Captaining and living aboard her own forty-foot sailing boat aptly and affectionately named Swell, Liz Clark takes on the big blue in search of more than just adventure. For the past ten years, Liz has been on the hunt not only for the perfect surf, but in search of her true self.

“Each of us has a unique journey that is ours to claim,” she writes, gently cooing out to the little voice inside each of us that tells us to do and be more. But this book was not only written to inspire the masses. Swell seems to have been written for the writer herself as she endeavours to discover the life within by enjoying life itself. Three years and 100,000 words later, Swell – A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening is born from a sponsorship deal between Liz and Patagonia Books.

Packed with punchy lines and a feel-good flow, Swell is a light and easy read. Considering the surf and open ocean are Liz’s passions, her prose is exceptionally well-crafted. Swell is more like a diary or memoir of adventures, as opposed to a traditional autobiography, which gives it the edge and appeal to many readers who, presumably, are lovers of the ocean, sailing, surfing, or soul-searching. Between the covers and chapters lay stunning full-page illustrations by Daniella Manini, and four photo galleries featuring Liz and her adventures, some taken by the Captain herself, and others by those she has met along the way. Swell doesn’t evoke the same emotions that come from reading a traditional tale of adventure; rather it sucks you in, swirls you around, and truly makes you feel part of the story.

So, what can the reader expect to gain from reading Swell? Clearly, the first and most prominent emotion registers something like inspiration or motivation. But the truth is that past the cover, there is so much more to be found. Liz writes honestly and openly from the heart about all aspects of her adventure and life, oftentimes taking us to a deeper understanding of the woman underneath the captain’s hat. She captures her soul and her spirit, and the soul and spirit of the world in which she travels, through her stories and her photographs.

Writing about more than just her sole existence or the voyage, Liz covers a spectrum of environmental issues and magnifies the lessons she has learned in regard to leaving a lighter footprint. Exploring topics like plastic pollution in the oceans, alternative and green energies, organic and plant-based diets, and personal growth and self-awareness, Liz has taken her partnership with Patagonia to spread the word of conscious living.

Having sailed since the age of seven, the self-proclaimed practitioner of relentless positivity set her pen to paper and produced a truly magnificent, wholesome read. Leaving port a decade ago from Santa Barbara, California, the solo female captain proves to the world that dreams do come true… if you work hard for them. Swell is a story not only about relentless perseverance and searching for the perfect wave, but also a story that dwells within many of us – the story of self-discovery through adventure and honest hard-work. As an environmentalist and lover of the natural world, Liz writes Swell as if she is writing a note to each of us. “I enjoy, but don’t exploit the waves I find, leaving out their location so that those who get inspired enough to go looking might still find spots without surf camps and crowds,” she writes.

Swell hit the shelves and e-book screens in April 2018. Liz had taken the time while on her voyage to anchor in the south pacific and explore the raging seas within her creative mind. She is now on the road (and waves), having travelled and surfed her way through Australia, holding book readings at Patagonia stores throughout the country. As a Patagonia Surf Ambassador, Liz proudly sports the brand and her other partners in her book, her website and social media platforms. You can follow her story of living aboard her sailing boat, the honest hardships and the voyage to finding oneself between the pages, on her Instagram, or her website. If you find yourself reading through, inspired to follow your dreams or follow the sun, just remember, the voyage is always evolving.


By Kimberley Bernard

Cover image by Jianca Lazarus