Swell by Liz Clark, a book review

by Pascal
Published: Last Updated:
swell liz clark thefreesurfer.com

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swell liz clark thefreesurfer.com

You love surfing, traveling and the ocean? You love freedom and the idea of scheduling your day around tides rather than working hours?

So did Liz. But she has probably bigger balls than most of us! And she followed her own path with fewer compromises than society tells us we need to make.

Swell is not a romantic glorification to a life freed from work, but rather an honest and well-written protocol about a relationship with a surfer, a sailor, and a free spirit. It’s the story about the relationship of Liz Clark with her self and everyone who was part of that ride.

As in every relationship with a surfer, surfing is an essential part of this book, but only ONE part and not the whole story.

And as in every relationship (with a sailor), it is not only smooth seas and sunsets.

swell liz clark thefreesurfer.com
Happy place photo: Patagonia

Her more than 20’000 nautical miles are impressive and inspiring. And so are the stories of the waves and people she found along the way. But while reading this book, it felt like the biggest journey happened inside her self. The later chapters are written by a much more mature person than the ones beginning. It feels nice to be taken along for her personal transformation, and not only for the trip around half the globe.

What usually changes a person the most, are not the nice and easy experiences, but rather the hard and painful lessons we would like to leave out. But Liz is honest about those parts of her life too. About how frightening, tiring or boring a solo crossing can be. About the ups and downs of a romance, the difficulties of financing her chosen lifestyle and the personal struggles we all go through. But she also writes about how beautiful it can be, to be with only yourself without feeling lonely.

I would say it’s more of a sailing book than a surf book. Maybe even a book about a very personal journey of a fearless girl into a very mindful woman. Someone who is aware and outspoken about environmental issues, as much as self-healing, food and various other aspects of life. And the voyage is where her inner journey takes place, while she finds the perfect balance between surf talk, love stories, the reality about maintaining a yacht and everything else that comes along in life. Doesn’t matter if on the sea or on land.

An absolute must-read for every surfer, sailor, long time traveler or people who like the thought of it.

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