cover image The Surfer and the Sage: A Guide to Survive and Ride Life’s Waves

The Surfer and the Sage: A Guide to Survive and Ride Life’s Waves

Shaun Tomson and Noah benShea, illus. by Dan Merkel. Familius, $17.99 (204p) ISBN 978-1-64170-655-1

Mixing self-help with photography and poetry, professional surfer Tomson (The Code) and philosopher benShea (We Are All Jacob’s Children) present a charming program for connecting people to their “true purpose.” The authors compare navigating life’s ups and downs to riding waves, share reflections on hardship, and offer guidance on how to stay afloat. Tomson describes his “Code Method” for finding purpose, which helps one articulate one’s priorities by creating 12 statements that begin with “I will” (e.g., “I will be better”). He also shares personal anecdotes about surfing and family, including how the death of his 15-year-old son shook his faith. BenShea contributes poems with such enigmatic admonitions as “Your calm is not at a distance from you unless you are at a distance from you,” and waxes philosophical about surfing (“Faith is believing that the great wave destined for you is still out there”). Merkel’s vibrant photos, meanwhile, depict the waves and surfers of California and Hawaii. Aside from Tomson’s “Code Method,” the advice is sparse, but benShea’s offbeat wisdom is worth sticking around for (“Hope and despair are both equal opportunity clothing options in every closet”). Open-minded surfers will want to catch this wave. (June)