In October 2005, Liz Clark sailed out of the Santa Barbara harbor. She was alone and she was going to sail around the world. Almost two years later, not long after she crossed the Pacific in her Cal 40, Swell, I had the good fortune of climbing aboard with Liz to adventure through some remote islands in French Polynesia. We scored legitimately perfect waves with nobody around, caught dinner off the side of the boat and were gifted black pearls by locals. It was, in fact, paradise — coconuts and all. Two weeks later I left so that she could continue on her sail around the world. At least that was the plan. Corresponding with her today, she’s still in the same area I left her. It seems her itinerary flew overboard halfway across the Pacific, and the pearls of paradise are shining brighter than ever. —Taylor Paul
LIZ: Plans are almost as useless in sailing as they are in surfing — both require adaptability to be enjoyed to their fullest. I’ve learned that the more flexible I am, the more I luck into good surf and find a rhythm with the right winds and weather for passages. Naturally, that way of thinking and flowing has spilled over into the rest of my life decision-making. Always trying to flow versus force things.
My first surfs over the reefs were often frustrating and painful! I’ve sacrificed plenty of skin along the way, but I’m finally proud of my tube riding.
It’s the freedom of this lifestyle that keeps me out here. It’s addicting. There are too many rules back home. I love not having to get into a car and battle traffic. I eat and shower and live under the sky and stars. The warm clear Pacific never gets boring — exploring remote islands, surfing uncrowded waves, playing in coconut trees. Aside from boat work, missing family and the occasional food craving, it’s pretty dreamy.
Follow Liz’s never ending story at Swellvoyage.com and on Instagram @captainlizclark.