Words by Rebecca Parsons
Zane Schweitzer is a true waterman.
In addition to standup paddling, he hones his talents through an array of other board sports including windsurfing, kitesurfing, foiling, prone paddling and more. At just 24 years old, he’s already a three-time Master of the Ocean champion, has back-to-back Ultimate Waterman titles and also won an ISA SUP surfing gold medal.
Outside the water, Zane strives to make a difference in others lives through mentorship, environmental activism, philanthropy, and most recently, storytelling.
Despite a hectic schedule full of travel and competitions, he starts and ends each day for the past twelve years with journaling. But he’d never given much thought to writing a book until his grandma, Carolyn Jackson, fell ill in 2016 and inspired him to seriously consider putting a book together. Zane jumped into action and began sorting through journal entries, compiling stories and slowly shaping his life's lessons into his full-length book, Beneath the Surface.
"In a way it’s a self-help book, but it's also an adventure story," says Zane. "The adventures of a young professional athlete experiencing the adventures of the world and its people along the way. The whole book keeps a pretty consistent theme of beneath the surface, it's all about looking at the hidden motivations behind the decisions that we make."
As a professional athlete, Zane has been presented with a lot of incredible opportunities. While some may take his lifestyle for granted, Zane chooses to be grateful. In his journal entries, he lists things for which he is grateful, ways the day could have been made even better, and daily affirmations.
"I owe a lot of my credit of sanity and success to journaling," says Zane. "It's always been more like meditation for me, a way for me to ground out and start my day, finish my day, and make sure I'm not getting lost."
Through his book, Zane shares a number of incredible stories. Some are tales of travel and competition, while others focus on topics ranging from the InZane grom clinics, his appreciation for the environment and ways in which he strives to protect and preserve his favorite playground.
What remains consistent through each of these stories is the way Zane chooses to learn from each experience and appreciate his triumphs alongside his mistakes. His stories are relatable on so many levels, whether you're a standup paddler or just an average Joe.
Perhaps you’ve met Zane or maybe you haven’t. But no matter what you know about him, you're sure to learn something new. And not only about one of the world's best watermen, but also about yourself.
"When I read the book I felt like it was somebody else," says Zane's mom, Shawneen. "I felt like it was a 50-year-old Tony Robbins. I was inspired. It helped me think of my way of being in the world differently. I'm his mom, I know him the best of anybody, and his book surprised me over and over."
Unfortunately, Zane's grandma Carolyn passed away before he was able to finish the book. But as his biggest life coach, her spirit is woven throughout the book. Zane's main goal is to have this book encourage people to keep their dreams clear in their minds, just like his grandma taught him to do.
"I need more than the feeling of being content," Zane writes in his book. "I believe that if you're not growing, you're dying. For me to grow I need to experience diversity, share with others, learn for others, be there for my community and be influential in doing my best to innovate and inspire and make this world a better place."
As Zane would say: A hui you kakou. Until we meet again.