Adventures / Sailing / A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

Liz Clark has spent her last 12 years at sea.

Surfer/Sailor/Author Liz Clark

Seeking a life of freedom and exploration, Liz Clark has spent the last 12 years sailing some 20,000 miles across Pacific looking for surf breaks. While making the ocean her home in her 40-foot sailboat Swell, she became an advocate for living sustainably. “I’ve come to believe that pursuing our dreams is as important to our souls as it is to creating a better world,” says Liz, whose memoir Swell comes out in April (see the book). “There’s a journey out there that is uniquely ours to claim. Doing so plugs us unto something greater than ourselves and our perceived limitations.”

>> Roam Moment featuring Liz Clark with footage by Jianca Lazarus, Teva Peronne, Patagonia Books, Patagonia


Surfing has been my greatest passion in life. It has pushed me to take this voyage, travel, explore, and push my limits physically and mentally. It really helped me become the woman I am today. It’s still my favorite play, my favorite exercise. It’s also my way of worship. When you are riding sea energy, it’s like being united with the ocean and cosmos all at once.

Swell is more than a boat to me. She’s been my home for the last 12 years, and the means to my dream, and the vessel for my personal growth. After all the work and love I’ve poured into her over the years, she’s almost like an extension of me.

Life at sea has really helped me distill what is important in my life. It’s given me the space to learn who I am. It’s humbled me, at the same time, it’s given me so much strength.

As a surfer, my voyage has made me more grateful for every wave. When you cross the ocean with the swells, it makes you realize how magical the act of riding waves is. So I guess I appreciate it all a lot more.

I am so in love with the ocean. Even though sometimes I am afraid of her, I love how she keeps calling me back for more not matter what. She is my muse, my guru, my place to connect to my spirituality. Like a best friend, she is always there but always challenging me to be my best, too.

ROAM: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
Heading home in their inflatable car. Photo by Jody MacDonald
ROAM: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
Facing my fears at Teahupoo, Tahiti; Photo by Tim McKenna
ROAM: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
Once the anchor is set, a quick saltwater dip takes away the sweat and angst of a difficult passage—a benefit when the ocean is your backyard. Photo by Jack Buttler
ROAM: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
Plotting her course; Photograph by Shannon Switzer Swanson
ROAM: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
Seeking union with all that is; Photo by Liz Clark


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