SPEAKER-Sam-Bleakley

Sam Bleakley

Mindfulness & Surfing

I am a travel writer, geographer, presenter, filmmakersurf contest commentator and former multiple European Longboard Champion from Cornwall in the UK. I produce, perform and curate creative and intellectual work on surfing through books, films, articles, workshops, events and educational programs. My work focuses on more challenging off-the-beaten-track locations, many of which are post-conflict or post-environmental disaster. I always intend to celebrate surfing’s potential to inspire positive change in both local and global contexts. I have a PhD from Falmouth University (researching travel writing and surf exploration in Haiti), and a MA in Geography from Pembroke College, the University of Cambridge. I am also a former Senior Lecturer in Cultural Tourism at Falmouth University.

I produce and present a processional series of documentaries called Brilliant Cornersexploring emerging surf cultures, sustainability, cultural exchange and the power of surfing for social good in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. My roots, however, remain in Penwith, where I live with my family above Gwenver beach, close to Land’s End.

Alongside freelance writing and editing work, I host the live broadcast for the World Surf League and International Surfing Association World Longboard Championships and continue to be an active professional surfer as an ambassador for FinisterreKoalition SurfCab9 Eyewear and Hueys Choice Surf Wax. I also regularly collaborate with Soul & Surf on a number of cutting-edge projects, and have run annual residencies in India and other locations, where I support grassroots movements and emerging surf communities.

My first book Surfing Brilliant Corners details a decade of extreme global surf travel, illustrated by the photographs of John Callahan. I journey from my birthplace in Cornwall to the living vodou of Haiti, through vibrant African highlife, to the Middle East and Asia. Surfing Tropical Beats (also translated into Mandarin Chinese) explores the wide belt around the Equator and charts a rollercoaster ride through Haiti, Gabon, India, Vietnam, Algeria and China. The Longboard Travel Guide : a guide to the world’s best longboarding waves does what it says on the tin, while Mindfulness & Surfing : reflections for salwater souls and Mindful Thoughts for Surfers : tuning in to the tides do something a little different. They do not simply take us inside ourselves to find a still centre, but rather orient us within the environment to find place. We are immersed in water and the salt-soaked zone just above the sea’s skin. I have also contributed to and co-edited numerous books on surfing, travel and mindfulness, and edited The Surfing Tribe : a history of surfing in Britain and Children of the Tide : an exploration of surfing in dynastic China.

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