Saltwater in the Blood

Surfing, Natural Cycles and the Sea's Power to Heal

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Pub Date 14 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 7 Sep 2021
Watkins, Watkins Publishing

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Description

Powerful feminist nature writing by the pioneer of women's big-wave surfing in Ireland. Easkey Britton provides a rare female perspective on surfing, exploring the mental skills it fosters, and the need to recognize the value of the ocean and of nature's cycles in our lives.

This is an incredibly inspiring exploration of the sea's role in the wellness of people and the planet, beautifully written by Easkey Britton – surfer, scientist and social activist. She offers a powerful female perspective on the sea and surfing, explaining what it’s like to be a woman in a man's world and how she promoted the sport to women in Iran, surfing while wearing a hijab. She speaks of the undiscussed taboo around entering the water while menstruating – and of how she has come to celebrate her own bodily cycles. She has developed her own approach to surfing, which instead of seeking to dominate the waves, works in tune with the natural cycles of her body, the moon and the seasons. In a society that rewards busyness, she believes that understanding the influence of cycles becomes even more important – and we all have them, men and women. 

For Easkey, the sea is a source of mental and physical wellbeing. She explores the mental toughness needed in big-wave surfing, and presents surfing as an embodied mindfulness practice in which we can find flow and connect with the movement of the waves. She stresses the need to recognize the ocean as our most powerful ally when addressing our greatest global challenge: the climate crisis. Above all, Easkey’s relationship to the sea has taught her about the need to meet life and evolve with it, rather than seeking to control it. By such wisdom our planet might just survive and thrive.
Powerful feminist nature writing by the pioneer of women's big-wave surfing in Ireland. Easkey Britton provides a rare female perspective on surfing, exploring the mental skills it fosters, and the...

Advance Praise

PRAISE FOR SALTWATER IN THE BLOOD

“Reading this truly marvellous book made me feel vulnerable, uplifted and most of all honoured to be given access to a world I would never otherwise know, in the company of an extraordinary and the most gifted of guides. A book that will leave an indelible mark on the memory.”

— Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project

“Saltwater in the Blood tells the powerful story of Easkey Britton’s relationship to the ocean – the ways it moves her, literally, as surfer, and figuratively as an educator, advocate, and visionary – to rethink the ways that our connections to the planet and to each other are born from the essential power of belonging to this earth. Her journey as a surfer and as a woman are an urgent reminder of the spiritual power of this one ocean as a source of inspiration, humility, and connection that we all need in this moment of human and planetary crisis.”

— Dr Persis Karim, Poet, Editor, and Professor, San Francisco State University

“A fantastic read – beautifully written and brimming with wisdom, wildness and stories that enlighten and inspire. Easkey’s passion for life bounces off the page, inviting the reader into the realm of adventure and possibility. She reminds us that our true nature lies in our connection with the natural world that sustains us while encouraging us to immerse ourselves in the wonders of the sea. Saltwater in the Blood is a book for these times from a soulful surfer, scholar, and artist who offers us a compelling and hopeful vision for how things can be.”

— Ruairí McKiernan, bestselling author of Hitching for Hope

“Easkey Britton’s story is uniquely, authentically, wholly, powerfully, and untouchably her own. She tells us how to bring water – in all its forms – into our own lives as mother, muse, coach, confidant, healer, lover, sparing-partner, and best friend. I hope everyone listens.”

— Dr Wallace J Nichols, author of Blue Mind

“We learn of a woman’s deep sensations from Easkey’s book. She is not coy. She says it how she feels, in water and on paper and in this world.”

— Pauline Bewick, Irish artist and author

“Saltwater in the Blood is a compelling and moving read about the thrill, wonder and danger of surfing, and how Easkey’s relationship to the sea and surf has awoken in her a responsibility to life itself and above all to the sacred and powerful art of encounter – that capacity to meet life and evolve with and through it rather than seek to control it. By such wisdom our planet might just survive and thrive.”

— Alexandra Pope, co-author of Wild Power: Discover the Magic of the Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power

“Shaped by the cold-water aloha at the Atlantic edge of Ireland, this beautiful book is much more than a celebration of place. It is a powerful story of an incredible woman at the front line of surfing for social good from Iran to Papua New Guinea to the Celtic coast of Europe. And it’s the deep blue spaces in-between – from solitude to solstice, from the wild roar of huge Irish waves to surfing as dance – that reveal the true essence of the ocean as healer and teacher. Easkey’s blue heritage runs deep through her bloodline, and she will draw us all closer – both inside our bodies and the bigger body of the world – to water as we flow through these pages. ‘The sea is honest,’ writes Easkey. ‘It is truth, without discrimination.’”

— Sam Bleakley, surfer, filmmaker and author of Mindful Thoughts for Surfers: Tuning In to the Tides

“In Saltwater in the Blood, Easkey invites us into her intimate relationship with the sea, and shows us how hearing its calls has given her new eyes, profound connections, and a fierce courage to release the wild woman soul that yearns to come out of hiding in her, and in all women.”

— Captain Liz Clark, author of Swell

“When I began this book, I thought it was an autobiography. But it is much more. It is a love story of the exhilarating relationship between a deeply sensitive, courageous woman and the Ocean. The author, a world-class surfer, describes how the people she has met on sea coasts around the worldhave shaped her life, inspiring achievements we can scarcely imagine. With such an intimate personal account it also illustrates how each person can have their own rich and fulfilling relationship with the natural world.”

— Professor Michael Depledge CBE FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Environment and Human Health

PRAISE FOR SALTWATER IN THE BLOOD

“Reading this truly marvellous book made me feel vulnerable, uplifted and most of all honoured to be given access to a world I would never otherwise know, in the...


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ISBN 9781786785558
PRICE CA$18.95 (CAD)

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Featured Reviews

Saltwater in the Blood is a unique and wonderful book that combines spirituality, creativity, and athleticism. Easkey Britton is an Irishwoman who learned to surf in the cold, wild water off the coast of Donegal. Both her parents and extended family had been in love with surfing for decades and it never occurred to Easkey that surfing was considered a male sport. As a child she became fascinated with all experiences inspired by the sea - the poetic and artistic, the physical and psychological connection, and the scientific study of the water itself and the creatures that live within it. Britton earned a PhD in marine studies and participated in many research projects. But beyond the academic exploration of the ocean, the author remained captured by her early sense of oneness with the sea. She began to equate its cycles with those in her own body, and her spirituality became attuned to the rhythms of the tides. Barron began to travel in search of more challenging and larger waves to surf, beginning with a trip to Hawaii at age thirteen with her mother. She eventually surfed in California, Newfoundland, Iran, and many other countries. She has surfed competitively, even taking on giant waves that require being towed out by a jet ski beyond the surfline. Dr. Britton is an artist, an athlete, a scholar, and a student of all expressions of the feminine in nature and in humanity. This is a marvelous book that should appeal to a wide variety of readers.

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