“Invigorating … it makes you want to get outside, try something new, live more fully and freely.”
“A remarkably moving, entertaining … memoir of reinvention and resilience.”
“A bighearted and uplifting memoir.”
“A moving memoir about reshaping your own destiny.”
—New York Post
“A deeply satisfying ride.”
The inspirational story of one woman learning to surf and creating a new life in gritty, eccentric Rockaway Beach
Unmoored by a failed marriage and disconnected from her high-octane life in the city, Diane Cardwell finds herself staring at a small group of surfers coasting through mellow waves toward shore—and senses something shift. Rockaway is the riveting, joyful story of one woman’s reinvention—beginning with taking the A Train to Rockaway, a neglected spit of land dangling off New York City into the Atlantic Ocean. She finds a teacher, buys a tiny bungalow and throws her not-overly-athletic self headlong into learning the inner workings and rhythms of waves and the muscle development and coordination needed to ride them.
As Cardwell begins to find her balance in the water and out, superstorm Sandy hits, sending her into the maelstrom in search of safer ground. In the aftermath, the community comes together and rebuilds, rekindling its bacchanalian spirit as a historic surfing community, one with its own quirky codes and surf culture. And Cardwell’s surfing takes off as she finds a true home among her fellow passionate longboarders at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, following the most joyful path through life.
Rockaway is a stirring story of inner salvation gained through a challenging physical pursuit—and of learning to accept the idea of a complete reset, no matter when in life it comes.
Photo by Nina Subin
Photo by Nina Subin
About Diane Cardwell
Diane Cardwell, a founder of Vibe magazine, is a former reporter and editor for The New York Times, where she ranged wide over two decades. An inaugural writer of “Portraits of Grief,” the signature profiles of those killed in the 9/11 attack, she also covered alternative energy, politics, urban development and even surfing, focusing on how new priorities, tastes, policies and technologies change people’s lives. Before coming to the Times, she was an editor at 7 Days, an award-winning New York weekly that folded in 1990, and an arts and entertainment contributor and editor at several national magazines. She lives, gardens and surfs in Rockaway Beach, New York.