Mt Barney Blog

Surfing as a Dance

Friday, January 11, 2019


Popup Bookclub at Mt Barney Lodge

with local author Sally McKinnon


Finding grace through self-discovery and surfing

Easter Saturday 20 April 2019 from 3pm


The mountains around Mt Barney Lodge are our special place, and Innes loves sharing his “flow state” with others on his guided walks. The impact of the natural environment is especially powerful with beginners – those who haven’t entered a wilderness area before or stood on top of a significant mountain peak with only their own grit and effort allowing them to get there. Sometimes the mountains can be receptive and embracing, and the climb just seems effortless. At other times the elements are tough, gear and physical niggles get in the way, and there may not be a guaranteed clear view at the top … in fact the whole expedition may need to be abandoned.

There are parallels with this observation between mountain and ocean.

It is no surprise that when Innes is not mountaineering, he is surfing.

Innes and Tracey went along to Sally's first ever pop-up bookclub meeting at the beautiful Canunagra Books and Art, and had such a great time sharing stories and learning about Sally's journey that we wanted to bring this experience to guests at the Lodge. There were plenty of laughs as well as learnings along the way :) 

Mt Barney Lodge has had a long environmental association with local woman Sally MacKinnon, when she was a principle of the Ethos Foundation. Back then providing advice to the local council and government, as well as interfacing with tourism was her everyday job. However, 10 years ago, she changed gears and started surfing at the age of 46. Sally found the she couldn’t keep what she learnt quiet and in 2018 set about writing and publishing a book on loss, resurrection, grief and joy called Surfing as a dance: how one woman found grace in and out of the water. If you want to explore the close association between climbing mountains and surfing, if you want to be transported to an ocean environment by Sallys exceptional writing skills, if you want to be inspired by one womans proof that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself … then this one-off gathering is for you.

“The book is about finding grace, one of my favourite words as it encourages us to rise up and be everything we can be, to grow from the inside out and stand humble and resolute in all our power,” Sally said.

“This is an every-woman’s story about rediscovering meaning in life while still navigating the everyday – paying the bills, turning up to work, and being present for your family.”

The book was recently described as “achingly honest…delicately drawing out the Zen lessons of the surfing dance…” by seasoned author Tim Baker in a review in Coastalwatch.

In the same way that Innes shares his passion for the mountains with others on guided walks, in early 2019 Sally adapted Surfing as a dance to create a unique workshop program for mothers and daughters to nourish and empower them as individuals and as a family team.

The workshops include beach-yoga, qi gong and surfing lessons as well as interactive conversation and hands-on activities about inner and outer beauty, the power of gratitude and mindfulness, healthy bodies and minds, and compassionate communication.

Surfing as a dance is set against the backdrop of Sally’s local Gold Coast break at Currumbin and the book is a literary and visual exploration of self-discovery, made up of reflective essays, poems, prose, and dreamscape photographs, carefully curated by writer Sally MacKinnon, photographer Alison Gowland, designer Ingrid Schroder and editor Dianna Timmins. 

Come along to Sally’s popup bookclub on Easter Saturday 20th April, 2019. Meet at the office at 3pm for a discussion about her surfing journey and experiences. Signed copies will be available for $35.

About the author

Sally MacKinnon was a long-time professional environmental educator and communicator with a PhD in Adult Education before becoming a fitness, yoga and surf instructor in 2013 at the age of 50. She lives in the mountains behind the Gold Coast and often wakes at 3.30am in order to write and meditate before free-surfing at dawn. She has published three books, two independently:

  • Expanding Green Strategies: Creating change through negotiation – 2009
  • The dharma of surfing: wisdom from the water for life – 2016
  • Surfing as a dance: how one woman found grace in and out of the water – forthcoming 2018


Please RSVP to assist us in planning where to gather, but you are also welcome to turn up on the day.

RSVP by 10 April to 5544 3233


This event is open to guests and day visitors by gold coin donation.








Share this post:

Recent Posts

From The Australian - Journalist Charlie Peel @charliepeeled Read the original article here ...
Read More
It is that time of year again folks ! Do you always struggle to think of what to get your loved  ...
Read More
Summer afternoons and evenings are the best time of day to experience the beauty of the Sc ...
Read More

Subscribe for new content