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Embarking on an adventure that most only fantasize about, Liz Clark, set forth from Santa Barbara, California, ten years ago as captain of her 40-foot sailboat, Swell, headed south toward the wonder and learning that lies beyond the unbroken horizon.
In true stories overflowing with wild waves and constant challenges, at the whim of the weather, relationships sweet and sour, nature’s marvels and colorful cultures, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail in this memoir, sharing tales of sailing in high seas, of solitude and surprises, of finding connection to the Earth and commitment to living in harmony with it.
More than 10 years, 20,000 miles, countless adventures, and one cat later, she’s still out there.
“Journeying across the ocean is something most sailor’s just dream about. I hope to live that dream one day myself. Liz’s journey on Swell is as enjoyable as it is inspiring.” —Jimmy Buffett, Sailor and Singer/Songwriter
“Captain Liz Clark’s intrepid, joyful, courageous, beautifully illustrated, searingly personal, and occasionally harrowing memoir “Swell” is the perfect antidote to any malaise. Life is meant to be a great adventure, not a package tour. Clark’s story will inspire anyone who yearns to be at large in the world—and especially those who dream of a life aquatic.” —Susan Casey, author of Voices in the Ocean, The Wave, and The Devil’s Teeth
“Liz has excelled as a surfer, sailor, and explorer, but these descriptions do not in any way truly impart the spirit, courage and humility of her life. She is one of those rare people who has chosen to journey far from the comfort and security of the shore, to risk all and follow her heart’s calling.” —Wayne Lynch, Legendary Surfer
“I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone — not sailors, not women, not young people, everyone. I loved it. Liz carries us along, on a voyage that is about much more than sailing and surfing and exploring. The threads that are woven through are based on relationships, significantly with her mentor, her mother, her father, friends, lovers, and most significantly, herself. By the end she and the reader understand that its these relationships, good and bad, that allow everything else to matter at all.”
—Michael Robertson, Good Old Boat magazine
“[Liz Clark’s] story is one of the most entertaining and affecting in the genre of extreme sojourning (kicked off by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild). Like Strayed, Clark embarks on a testing path—in her case, heading out to sea and living her dream of environmentalism, self-reliance, sailing and, yes, surfing remote waves. Her account is also refreshingly candid about her fears, inadequacies and the process of mastering a complex piece of equipment, her aging Cal 40 sloop.” —Honolulu Magazine
“On paper, Clark’s adventure seems like one of those badass trips you daydream of at your cubicle every Monday morning. But in Swell, Clark paints a much more realistic picture of what a 12-year, transoceanic swell chase really looks like. From the high points (scoring remote reef breaks with no one out) to the low (almost getting struck by lightning, having to repair a broken engine, getting a rare fungal infection, etc.), the experiences laid out in Clark’s autobiography are worth the read.” —Surfer Magazine