If you’re a surfer, interested in philosophy or religion and love a good read, skip my review below and buy All Our Waves are Water now.
If you need more convincing, then here’s a bit more about the book:
Epic surf adventure
Jaimal’s father was a surfer and in the U.S Air Force. They travelled a lot, and for a while were based in the Azores. It was on this Atlantic archipelago that Jaimal’s love of the ocean was born, as he body surfed with his sister and father.
Yogis has a taste for exotic hardcore waves. Whenever life gets dull, he seeks saltwater salvation to balance the soul. When he was sixteen Yogis ran away to Hawaii, and taught himself to surf (read the full adventure in Saltwater Buddha).
He later swapped being a barista in San Francisco for the monster beach break barrels of Puerto Escondido. The problem was at this point in time he’d never learnt to tube ride. As Yogis says, there had been a couple of cover up occasions but you couldn’t call it tube riding, these were ‘cases of the ocean mugging me from behind’. After a few dawnies (to avoid the testosterone fueled locals) his girlfriend Siri perceptively enquired ‘how come you’re not riding the wave part of the wave?’
After days of saltwater self harming, Yogis saw the light. He witnessed a true master of tube riding at work. Watching like a hawk and memorising every movement he made, Yogis tried to mimic him. With obsessive perseverance and a little help from a local smoothie shack owner, he was able to enjoy the fruits of Puerto.
Having escaped the grind of being a journalist, Yogis recounts the elation of getting kegged at Padang Padang. And getting skinned by its razor sharp reef. More often than not Yogis finds himself back in San Francisco trying to make a living. But even here he finds secret sanctuary in the cold black barrels of Ocean Beach. Of course chasing waves has its price, and the cost of failed relationships can be painfully high.
Love and heartbreak
First there was Sati, who enjoyed fighting for the poor and protesting against war. She left Yogis for another man, one month before they were due to travel to India together. Yogis admits he perhaps should have spent a little less time surfing and more time with Sati. But he was still inconsolable. Eventually the anguish drove him to jumping, grunting, swearing and wailing high up in the Himalayas.
Siri was an artist, who Yogis met a few weeks before going to Puerto Escondido. A free spirit, she thought nothing of spending two months in Mexico with someone she had just met. Yogis loved her dry sense of humour, although not the quip about riding the wave part of waves. One day Siri returns from her daily wanderings enthused about two Italian men who had invited them for dinner. Having broken a board that day and feeling more than a tinge of jealousy Yogis grudgingly accepted. The meal, wine and company he remembers in detail to this day. It was the best meal he’s ever had.
It’s in stories like the Italian meal in Mexico and getting kegged in Bali, that Yogis takes another step on his path to enlightenment. As with every experience, Yogis reflects and shares his spiritual lessons learnt.
Jaimal Yogis was raised by Buddhist-yogi parents, who were from Jewish and Catholic backgrounds, and named after their yoga guru Baba Jaimal Singh. The surname was not chosen for mystic authenticity, its Lithuanian. Given his upbringing, and name, it’s no surprise that Yogis has more than a casual interest in religion.
In Dharamsala, Yogis meets a displaced Tibetan monk named Sonam. They strike a deal. Yogis helps Sonam with conversational English, and Sonam helps Yogis with his religious studies. Through many renditions of John Denver’s Country Roads and hanging out in the Himalayas, they become lifelong friends and Yogis learns a lot about faith.
Yogis has done serious time in Franciscan friaries, sobbed at the wailing wall in Jerusalem and spent two weeks on a remote Canadian island practicing Dream Yoga. The wisdom gleamed from these experiences are shared throughout, including quotes from the greatest spiritual poets and writers. Plus a few lectures from Uma Thurman’s father.
Whilst Yogis waxes lyrical about Zen, Buddhism, meditation and more, he never gets too evangelic. He always stops himself from going transcendental with a healthy dose of reality.
Jaimal Yogis has lived a life full of amazing waves, beautiful women and spiritual revelations. Just when you think he’s about to start chanting, he has a word with himself.
I think it’s his humility that makes Yogis so likable. Yes he hangs out with Tibetan monks in the Himalayas, yes he attracts virtuous women with beautifully short names, and yes he’s surfed some of the best waves in the world. It’s enough to make you vomit with jealousy, and yet he confesses his failings, insecurities, foolishness and own jealous madness in ways that you can not fail to like the guy.
I hope this preview has whet your appetite and encourages you to read All Our Waves Are Water yourself. It’s available now from all good bookstores and online.
Other books by Jaimal Yogis
Jaimal Yogis has written two other books with a surfing theme (both available on film): Saltwater Buddha and The Fear Project. After reading All Our Waves Are Water I immediately bought a copy of Saltwater Buddha. Having read and enjoyed that The Fear Project is now on my Christmas list!
Discover more about the life and works of Jaimal Yogis on his website.