A Surfer's View of the Universe

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
264 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2022
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Author Biography

Andrew Pacholyk is an American dancer/choreographer, director, and producer. His transition to a second career with a Master's and Doctoral degree as a licensed acupuncturist and healer seemed like an unlikely path. But his love for surfing and the sea was the catalyst that helped with his transformation.

Through life lessons of courage, conviction, and dedication, learned through the joys of surfing, Andrew’s ability to see beyond the horizon gave him the curiosity to seek out more.

Surfing has been his life-long love and passion taking him all over the world in search of the perfect wave

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Barefoot: A Surfer's View of the Universe by Andrew Pacholyk is a non-fiction inspirational memoir in which the author details his life through the lens of a man who spends as much time riding the waves as he possibly can. Part self-help and part autobiography, Pacholyk shifts between what he's experienced and what he knows in ways that can be broadly applied to a reader's daily life and outlook regardless of whether or not they've ever set foot on a longboard. Much of what Pacholyk conveys is through dialogue he's had with others. I took so many notes because there were absolutely loads of quotable quotes. The people the author is in contact with and the situations that arise are ones most readers can relate to, such as meeting someone down the road who was not a positive force in your younger, more fragile years. Most won't end up dating a family member, but Pacholyk takes it in measured stride, riding the highs and lows of life with the skill of a seasoned surfer. “If you ponder the questions of the Universe and beyond, just stop and take a good look around you. You just might see the answers."

My wife grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent a great deal of time on a surfboard, which was honed under the more comfortable waves of Hawaii where she spent much of her summer. The lifestyle is fascinating to me. I didn't even learn how to swim until I was in my 30s and so the idea of someone on a wobbly epoxy plank in the middle of the ocean was inconceivable. There's a culture to surfing and Barefoot by Andrew Pacholyk takes a deep dive into it without resorting to clichés and he narrates in a voice that is distinctly his own. We all have our stories and Pacholyk's is well written, engaging, and without the self-indulgence many other similar life-lesson books have. Pacholyk also integrates his experiences as a respected player in the performing arts. There is a scene where he is offered a coveted spot and his first-ever role, which happened to be on Broadway, and his girlfriend was incapable of being thrilled for him. Still, the voice of an almost omniscient Big Steena speaks out to him and reassures him, “It’s our moments of struggle that define us...” Indeed they are. Very highly recommended.

Vincent Dublado

Barefoot: A Surfer's View of the Universe is a true-to-life tale of one man's journey on his own path of enlightenment. Author Andrew Pacholyk narrates how taming the waves as a surfer has led him to carve a new calling for himself as a licensed acupuncturist and healer. As his inner beach bum gives him a strong affinity with the water, this is where his epiphany and enlightenment begin. He traces his early beginnings of how he became drawn to the ocean and found his footing as a surfer by pushing his physical limits. He reveals that part of his spiritual awakening was born out of heartache and learned from standing his ground. With all the challenges he has faced, lessons learned, and a sense of renewal, he continues to connect with the waves on his board. Surfing has been his key to getting to know the world, people, and his own existence.

Andrew Pacholyk finds spirituality in surfing, a kind of communion that many surfers find among the waves. Such communion has become deeply transformative for Pacholyk and it reflects in the passionate narrative of Barefoot. His fraternity with the waves and his surfboard as his blazing saddle have given him access to our evolutionary formation, with the power and mystery of the ocean turning him into a sage. Religious scholar and conservationist Bron Taylor describes surfing as an aquatic nature religion. If this is so, then Barefoot: A Surfer's View of the Universe is a must-read for anyone interested in getting to know how surfing can be transformative in how it has transformed Pacholyk.

Foluso Falaye

As a child, Andrew Pacholyk was constantly picked on and bullied for his acne and glasses, which had a major part to play in his high levels of anxiety and teen angst. Fortunately, he found refuge in surfing, dancing, and spending his summers with his favorite aunt, Martha, in Los Angeles. Barefoot: A Surfer's View of the Universe tells the story of the freedom and surfing adventures Andrew experienced in the early stages of his life. As Andrew faced discrimination and ridicule for following his passion for dancing and being himself, he learned to accept himself as he was and discovered the importance of awareness and living in the moment with the help of his surfing friends. Follow Andrew on his journey of enlightenment and self-discovery as he navigates through life's troubles and blessings.

This intriguing, profound, and highly descriptive memoir about surfing the deep blue seas will appeal to those who wish to know what it feels like to do something so dangerously thrilling as surfing and others who have previously experienced it and want to feel the excitement again through another's story. I was completely immersed in the memoir; the scenes, people, surfing styles, and the other elements are described down to the last detail. Andrew Pacholyk shares several quotable and bookmark-worthy insights on different concepts like rejection, loss, insecurity, bullying, growing up, overcoming challenges, having the right mindset, and some philosophical ideas. Barefoot contains some of the most interesting, free-spirited characters I've seen in a memoir, and I really enjoyed the deeply therapeutic and scenic descriptions. What a blast! Thank you, Andrew!

K.C. Finn

Barefoot: A Surfer’s View of the Universe is a work of non-fiction in the inspirational and self-help subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Andrew Pacholyk. In this truly fascinating work, we get a glimpse into the journey of a young man who was once searching for contentment and the true happiness his heart longed for and has now found through the medium of surfing. At one with the water and at balance in his life, Andrew offers readers the chance to share in his many experiences and how they have led him to a unique perspective of self-love, the appreciation of nature, and daily practices that encourage discipline and dedication to build the life you truly want.

Some memoirs are simply written to express a unique perspective of an author or a sport, but this one really homes in on how to turn those experiences and ideas into a universal message of harmony and happiness for any reader with an open enough mind. Author Andrew Pacholyk writes with the ease of a friend telling you a really interesting story, but also possesses the great narrative skill and a philosophical authorial style that inspires you to want to keep reading more and more. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Barefoot to fans of surfing, but perhaps especially those who have yet to try it, and generally for anyone who is still searching for their bliss in this life. With a book like this by your bedside, you might just find it.

Pikasho Deka

Barefoot: A Surfer's View of the Universe is the tale of Andrew Pacholyk, who tells his life story from the days of growing up as an awkward farm kid in New York to becoming a lifelong surfer, professional dancer, and acupuncturist. Growing up on the landlocked farms of New York, Andrew experiences an entirely different world when he visits his Aunt Martha's home in Los Angeles in the summer of 1978 as a sixteen-year-old. After his cousin Bill introduces him to his surfer friends and the beaches of Venice and Malibu, Andrew realizes that he may have found his calling. Training under the watchful eye of Big Steena, Andrew slowly learns the ways of the waves. Years later, he travels to the Far East, gaining little nuggets of wisdom from places like Bali, India, and Thailand, and comes back to the States as a changed man.

An inspiring glimpse at the life of a free-spirited man, Barefoot gives you a fresh perspective on life and makes you wish you were living near the ocean. Author Andrew Pacholyk leaves nothing behind and bares his soul in this unflinching memoir recounting his story as a surfer and dancer navigating his way through the waves of life. This is a coming-of-age story as much as it is a memoir. Pacholyk writes in an easygoing style that is accessible and a breeze to go through. I especially enjoyed the parts where he spent his days on the beaches of Los Angeles, making friends with unique people with a healthy lust for life that feels almost infectious. Highly recommended.