Tova Mirvis

“Invigorating … it makes you want to get outside, try something new, live more fully and freely.”
—Tova Mirvis

Francine Prose

“A remarkably moving, entertaining … memoir of reinvention and resilience.”
—Francine Prose

Kirkus Reviews

“A bighearted and uplifting memoir.”
—Kirkus Reviews

New York Post

“A moving memoir about reshaping your own destiny.”
—New York Post

William Finnegan

“A deeply satisfying ride.”
—William Finnegan

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.

Costa Rica surf camp At Surf Simply camp in Nosara, Costa Rica Surf camp Shredding a tiny wave at Surf Simply camp in Nosara, Costa Rica My new house My house in Rockaway Beach Rockaway bungalow back view The back of the Rockaway bungalow With Davina at the surf club Awaiting food orders with Davina at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club Rockaway surfing A morning session in Rockaway, wearing one of Kiva’s Grinder Girl bikinis (Photo by Josh Gosfield) With friends at the community garden Spring work day in the community garden At crashboat in Puerto Rico Afternoon at Crashboat beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico In Puerto Rico At the ruins of the old Borinquen Point Lighthouse in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico In Rockaway talking vintage board and fin with Colin With Colin in Rockaway, giving the vintage Hansen 50/50 I picked up in California the once-over With Todd and my neighbors on Rockaway boardwalk On the Rockaway boardwalk with Todd and my neighbors Dan, Mary Ann and Susan Montauk At a lesson with Corey’s Wave Professional Surf Instruction in Montauk At surf club with Todd With Todd at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club In Rockaway An afternoon session in Rockaway

 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.

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