As a surfer and environmentalist enchanted by remote waves and foreign cultures, I left California aboard my 40-foot sailboat, Swell, in early 2006 with the hope of succeeding at my life-long dream of surf exploration via sailboat. Since then, the voyage has presented more fantastic friends, waves, adventures, natural beauty, opportunities for personal growth and insights than I dreamed possible.
Swell serves as my floating home and transportation. I travel at a pace not much faster than you can run. Weather, swell, and tides dictate my days. This isn’t just a surf trip–it’s a lifestyle, passion, and search for better ways for humanity to inhabit our shared
Living aboard Swell has allowed me to drastically reduce my daily impact on the earth. Solar and wind power provide my electricity. I live closer to nature, and take time to cherish and appreciate it. I use less, need less, and want less–yet have never felt more fulfilled. At times the boat work seems endless and the uncertainties too daunting, yet without these adversities, the simple joys would never be as sweet.
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. To experience the sensation of venturing into the unknown and being rewarded is, for me, as precious as the empty waves themselves.
The voyage evolves as I continue to grow and learn. I spent the first year and a half gaining confidence as a captain, with different friends as crew, while traveling down the western coast of Mexico and Central America. After announcing that I intended to sail to the South Pacific alone, my mother volunteered to accompany me, an offer I gladly accepted. We spent 22 unforgettable days sailing across the largest expanse of open ocean on the planet. With the mysteries of blue water sailing behind me, I spent the next year exploring French Polynesia and Kiribati mostly on my own. I enjoyed the contrast of travelling alone–indulging in the freedom of solitude and making choices based on weather and swell forecasts rather than itineraries.
Upon my return from Kiribati, Swell had a mysterious leak, a broken forestay, and was in desperate need of an overhaul. Over a series of labor intensive haul-outs, from late 2008 to 2010, I finally succeeded in locating and replacing the leaky ‘shaft tube’ along with all the other repairs. Water tight and intent to sail again, I set off in 2011-12 on a 2,500 nautical mile loop through French Polynesia’s outer islands.
After another overhaul to Swell in 2013, I was offered a book deal with Patagonia Books, and spent 3 years completing a 100,000+ word manuscript about the voyage thusfar. The book will be released in April of 2018!
I want to sincerely thank all of my friends and faithful readers whose letters, comments, support, and positive thoughts give me the inspiration and energy to continue voyaging and writing. Your feedback and encouragement keep me believing that by developing personal awareness, living our passions, and relentlessly utilizing Love, Light, and Positivity in our everyday lives, we as individuals can collectively change the world for the better!
Rich Pat WotrubaJune 22, 2019
Yeah enjoy life be thankful
Carissa CroftJuly 30, 2020
You’re an inspiration and have quickly become my idol. I have always dreamed of this but felt limited because I’m a girl. Now I feel like I can do anything and don’t need to find a man to make my dream a reality. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with such vulnerability. I am currently working on a sailing yacht listening to your beautifully written audiobook! X
Captain LizSeptember 30, 2020
Yes!! Music to my ears!! Keep chasing your dreams!!!