Travel & Exploration Tips from Liz Clark

Pro surfer, international sailor and explorer, Liz Clark is known for her strong advocacy of environmental awareness and her passion for adventure. Her career highlights include winning the National Scholastic Surfing Association and College Women’s National Surfing Championship. In 2007 Surfing Magazine named Liz one of five “World’s Most Committed Surfers.” In 2008 she completed the first solo ocean crossing to and from the Line Islands from French Polynesia – a voyage of over 3,500 miles.

Photo courtesy

“My most powerful activism is through the choices I make in my daily life,” says Liz; “being true to myself, loving my fellow humans, and honoring the Earth every chance I get and I only partner with companies that embody these same values.”

Liz has logged over 18,000 nautical miles on the Swell, her sailboat.

ZEAL Optics recently caught up with this self proclaimed she-pirate to get her Top Ten Tips for making the most of every journey as she travels the world in search of adventure, connections, and the perfect barrel.

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Eight days out on a solo, 1,570 nautical mile trip from Line Islands to French Polynesia.

1. Get in Nature’s Groove—Before you go, and while you’re out there, keep tabs on the weather forecast, seasons, tides, swell, snowpack, water levels, etc… all things natural that move and flow and can impact your safety and the success of your exploration. Talk to locals if you don’t already know the area.


‘Brand new’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘it works’ these days. Super stoked after fixing up my bilge pump system!

2. Know Your Equipment—Always a good idea to wear/use/test your vitals before the foray into the wilderness begins. Do a test drive, shake down, or campout in the backyard before going too far.


Up the mast before a big passage to make sure all is in order…

3. Prevent Problems—Mark Twain said, “It is easier to ‘stay out’ than to ‘get out’.” When it comes to adventuring, I have to agree…When you see them coming, it’s best to avoid possible problems before they are upon you.

4. Find the humour—When things get tough or don’t go as planned, laugh it off. Getting angry or frustrated only makes it harder or more miserable. Laugh at yourself, at the ironies, at your mistakes…just keep the humour alive!


Be still and listen. The answers are within.

5. Develop Intuition—Go within. Use your time away from the busy world to learn to listen to your feelings/intuition when making decisions. The more you use it the more you trust that it’s almost always right!


The result of NOT heeding my own safety rituals… The carnage after a car jack exploded in my face while trying to repair the engine mounts.

6. Safety rituals—No matter what or where you are exploring, develop good habits to remind yourself of the crucial steps/items/procedures that keep you alive.


Rushing always takes twice as long…s l o w  d o w n…

7. Go slow—Take your time and feel things out. Don’t rush anything. Hurry kills!


The more flexible and resourceful you are the greater your chances of success and enjoyment! Here, two sons creatively help dad cross the lagoon in the Republic Kiribati.

8. Adapt— It’s never going to turn out exactly the way you imagined it. Be flexible and open to changing your plans. You never know what unexpected jewel may be on the path ahead. Flow, don’t fight.


Swell’s old sail went off on a new adventure with this happy Kiribati fisherman who made new sails for his sailing canoe…

9. Giving=Receiving–Giving goes in circles. Be helpful and generous with others along the way… You never know when you will be in need!


Amazing surprises await every time we stop our thoughts and just observe.

10. Find the Present— Focus in on what’s happening right here and now. Nature’s gifts and secrets are plentiful for those who are paying attention. Give your mind to your surroundings and every moment can be magic!

Liz Clark is a ZEAL Optics and Patagonia ambassador. This article reblogged from the ZEAL Optics Tumblr. All photos courtesy ZEAL and Liz Clark except where indicated.