“the dharma of surfing” began as a book in mid-2016 as a collaboration between a writer, me (Sal), and photographers Scotty Johnson and Huon MacKinnon-Farnworth. I only ever intended it to be a one-off book.

Then it seemed fair to make a website so folks could learn a bit more about the book and order it if they wanted to buy a copy.

But I realised I didn’t just want to advertise and sell a book on a website. So I started blogging about some of my surfing and ocean experiences – not a hardship because I sure do love surfing, the ocean and writing.

And another collaborative book was born in late 2018…”Surfing as a dance: How one woman found grace in and out of the water”, at least partly inspired by the blogs and reflecting upon my 10 years of surfing. Which incidentally have been the happiest 10 years of my life so far. I had the great priviledge of working with photographer Alison Gowland (Currumbin Ali), designer Ingrid Schroder and editor Dianna Timmins to bring this magic story-picture book to life.

Both books are released in their own time and friends, neighbours and even people I don’t know, order them. I deliver the books to many people and we have conversations about them, about dharma and practice and surfing and spirit and so much more.

Over the years I have also started running more ocean-based and mountain-based retreats that stand on the practices I do and write about – meditation, mindfulness, writing, surfing, yoga, qi gong, breath awareness…and so in late 2018 the website grows to include a retreat section as well as a small bookshop.

These books, these collaborations, this website, the blog, this ever-emerging body of work, and our emerging community of readers and retreat guests is evolving I think. I wonder where we will go next?


Sally MacKinnon is a fully qualified surfing, yoga and fitness instructor who lives and works in the mountains and on the beaches of South East Queensland, Australia. She has a PhD in Adult Education and a Masters degree in Social Ecology, both of which she is finally learning to integrate with love into her regular classes and retreats.

Hi! I am something of a soul surfer of life diving into experiences that nourish an open heart, playfulness and peace. My grounding practices personally and professionally are surfing, yoga, meditation and walking, and sometimes I  love a good run along the sand at the beach too. I understand Anne Lamott’s advice that getting published won’t heal your life, but writing will and so I write every day.

I learned to surf at the age of 46 after a lifetime of longing and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to both free surf and teach surfing nearly every day. I made a mid-life career change from professional environmental activism and consulting to surfing, yoga and fitness (through Your Fitness Friend and Surf Easy) at around the age of 50 so I could spend the second half of my life laughing and playing with Mother Nature. I have a PhD in Education – Adult Learning – from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS, 2004) and I am also a Mental Health First Aider.



Alison Gowland (Currumbin Ali)

I am an ocean/animal/adventure loving designer, based on the Gold Coast, spending any free time happily beneath the surface – surfing, diving and capturing life underwater, through photography.

Living in beautiful Currumbin for 10 years, has provided me with the opportunity to meet a wonderfully eclectic mix of characters out in the surf – where we generally paddle out in the dark most mornings. It was here, that my love of ocean-based photography was born. With this, it is my desire is to creatively capture emotion and an entire story, within one static frame at a time.


Ingrid Schroder

Ingrid is a nature-loving yoga-mama drawn to the art of surfing, meditation and qi gong. She is the owner of a boutique creative agency on the North Coast of NSW – Be Visual Co – specialising in design, illustration, websites and photography. She made a seachange from Sydney with her husband and two joyful boys a few years back – seeking wider spaces, sweet waves and salty days. She has certainly found that in this slice of paradise she now calls home. Ingrid lives for the beach, to float in the aquamarine, to play on its shores and to connect with the soulful teachings of the sea.


Diana Timmins

Diana discovered yoga in her 20s and since then has explored the powerful synergies between yoga and writing, surfing and serving others. She devotes much of her time to nourishing and administering the not-for-profit organisation A Sound Life. Her writing has featured in Wellbeing, Australian Yoga Journal, MiNDFOOD, body + soul, Australian Yoga Life and Women’s Fitness. She also pursues her passions of long-distance running, painting and connecting with the ocean whenever she can.

Di Headshot


Scotty Johnson is originally from Grafton in Northern NSW, Australia. He grew up on the Clarence River and tasted the water from an early age, both fresh and salt, weekdays in the river and weekends at the beach. He has spent 29 years at sea on various craft and witnessed first-hand the vastness of nature’s offerings. He has a passion for photography and aims to capture the beauty that surrounds us in and out of the water. Scotty recently took up surfing and finds it to be a sincere challenge for the mind, body and soul. He relishes and embraces the challenges presented by nature and surfing.

32 - It's best not to define the ocean by the surfability of the swell...

Huon MacKinnon-Farnworth has been a creative soul since he was very young, particularly in the areas of music, drama, photography and multi-media. He grew up in the rolling green hills of Beechmont in South East Queensland and is a happily-casual surfer and body boarder. He is currently studying Education majoring in Drama and History Teaching and is engaged to his childhood sweetheart Sammy.

Hu Sammy 2