Taking the drop: surfing memoirs, blogging and identity

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Hawryluk, L 2008, 'Taking the drop: surfing memoirs, blogging and identity', in DL Brien & L Neave (eds), The Creativity and Uncertainty Papers: the refereed proceedings of the 13th conference of the Australian Association of Writing Programs, Australasian Association of Writing Programs. ISBN: 9780980757316

Article available on Open Access


Surfing evokes images of sun-bronzed stoners with little more going on in their heads than the search for the next wave. Oceans of saltwater drown out any other thoughts. However, the number of memoirs and books describing surfing as a spiritual journey, using the surfing lifestyle as a metaphor for a greater search for meaning, belie these stereotypes. As a blogger, I've long struggled with the urge to reveal too much of my real identity online, preferring to hide behind Ambrose Pierce-like observations. A recent conversion to the surfing world has led me on a journey of a very different kind, one which has informed a change in my writing and identity. Previously stifled by academia's rigidity, I have found surfing has encouraged my creativity and allowed me to explore the idea of identity in my writing more than ever before. These changes in my online and real life writing are the focus of this paper, as well as providing an overview of the emergence of the surfing memoir and books about the spiritual nature of surfing.