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Jacket Notes: Chris Bertish Discusses His Book Stoked!

Published in the Sunday Times

Chris Bertish (Penguin Random House)

I never believed I could be an author until the day I decided to free my mind of this limiting belief. By then I had achieved many of my lifelong goals and fulfilled my dreams through hard work, sacrifice, resilience and self-belief. Once I had won the Mavericks Invitational big-wave surfing contest and set a couple of world records in other sports, I realised it wasn’t that I couldn’t write a book — I had just imposed that limiting belief and that was the only barrier.

I knew I had a powerful story to tell, as people always told me how cool and exciting my adventures seemed — it was just a case of getting those stories down on paper, then streamlining and structuring them to make the narrative flow. If I could do this, it would hopefully become the inspiring story I envisioned. My mission was to help people overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams through the experiences and lessons I had learnt.

Once I changed my mind and my perception, I made a simple choice that I would try – no matter the cost and the time it would take. I put everything into creating this book. I paid for everything, from editor fees to illustrations, transcriptions and the surfing animation that runs on each page. I spent days, nights, weeks, months, years on this book, and invested my heart and soul in the project. It took sacrifice, focus, perseverance, passion, and blood, sweat and tears. I believe these are necessary to achieve anything great in life.

Among the obstacles and challenges were my publishers accepting my first manuscript then retracting their offer three weeks later. And the ghostwriter who started to write the book with me didn’t work out. After he left the project, I wrote the entire manuscript again, from scratch, and just before the last chapter was complete, my computer crashed and I lost everything. I was so distraught I actually threw up.

The next day, after realising the file couldn’t be recovered, I decided I would start from the beginning again. I sketched the visual animations and paid for them to be done professionally. I contacted photographers for permission to use their photos, got the initial cover design done, and had the book edited by a professional. Then I pitched the manuscript to the publishers again.

I managed to convince the team at Zebra Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, that it would be an epic and unique read. Finally, after almost three years, my dream has come true. I hope that thousands of people around the world will read my story, so that they may be truly stoked!

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