Saltwater Buddha

Mention that you’ve visited a surf mecca in Costa Rica, and a surprising number of people in your life reveal their own connections to the ocean. Yesterday someone I know mentioned that the best book he has read this summer is Jaimal Yogis’ Saltwater Buddha, which was published a few years ago. Here’s a review from Publishers Weekly:

A journalist, photographer, surfer and Zen practitioner, Yogis began the life of a roving seeker his junior year of high school, when he ran away from his Sacramento, Calif. home to learn how to surf in Hawaii. His subsequent travels include a handful of prime surfing spots, but Yogis’s more arresting journey is spiritual, taking him to monasteries in France and Berkley, Calif., and deep into the living tradition of Zen Buddhism. Captured here in short chapters and wonderful, visual prose, Yogis’s coming-of-age odyssey also takes readers into the culture of indigenous Hawaiians, who believe the gods were surfers. Yogis’s long-time surfing mentor Rom provides insight into the science of surfing, ocean swells, the bathymetry of the continental shelf, deep water canyons and sea mounts. Even land lovers will find Yogis’s lessons resonant and entertaining, but surfers will find this a quick, surprisingly deep tribute to the quest for surf and serenity.

The book came out in 2009, but right now filmmaker Lara Popyack is using Kickstarter to try and raise funds to make a film version–one that includes footage from Costa Rica. You can click here to view a trailer on the film’s site, or click here to be taken to the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends on August 14, so click through, read about the project, and, if you feel like it, donate a few dollars.

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