Welcome to “Girl Surfs World,” Independent.com’s new online column following the adventures of Liz Clark, the 26-year-old UCSB graduate currently sailing and surfing all around the world.
Clark, a former collegiate women’s surfing champion, spent nearly a year outfitting her 40’ sailboat, appropriately named Swell, and finally set sail in November 2005 on a mission of global circumnavigation devoted to surf exploration, open-ocean adventure, and promotion of environmental awareness. She worked close with Santa Barbara Maritime Museum founder and UCSB Environmental Studies professor emeritus Barry Schulyer to prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
What began as dream in the fourth-grade, when Liz’s parents took her out of school for the year and embarked on a 5,000 mile sailing odyssey along the coast of Mexico, has, over time, become an unfolding reality. The young sailor/surfer spent her senior year of college living aboard a 50’ sailboat often captaining trips out to the Channel Islands and up the coast to the Hollister Ranch. She then followed those adventures with a post-college surf-oriented sail along the coast of Central America, making it as far south as Costa Rica.
Upon returning, her desire to realize her childhood dreams burned as strong as ever, but only one key ingredient was missing: a boat. A meeting with Schulyer, who’s an accomplished ocean adventurer in his own right, offered a possible path. After initially considering his 26’ foot boat as an option, Schuyler helped her find and raise funds to purchase the locally anchored Alisio, which they turned into the Swell of her dreams.
This blog is dedicated to following Clark’s dreams, complete with photos and text from Clark as she sails down the coast of Central and South America and beyond. Our plan is to post Clark’s tales every Monday morning on this website, but that all depends on her computer access while in the middle of the ocean.