Matthew Moseley Shares Lessons From His New Book 'Soul Is Waterproof'

Matthew Moseley Shares Lessons From His New Book ‘Soul Is Waterproof’

Guest post by author and open water swimmer Matthew Moseley

Long-distance open water swimmers we are often asked, Why? It’s a good question. My answer is that I try to use my swims to raise awareness about water issues around the world. Because of our unique connection to water, more than most anyone, I believe open water swimmers can be Ambassadors of the Water.

In my new book Soul is Waterproof, I describe how as endurance swimmers we are not just observers of the water or looking at it from the shore, we are immersed in it for long periods. After many hours of swimming, I feel an ancient connection to the water. It can be an intensely spiritual experience—until it becomes intensely physical. 

The water tells us it’s secrets.

As wild swimmers we intimately know the water’s trials and tribulations. It’s currents and confluences. We are sommeliers of its various tastes. Like a familiar lover, we know how water feels and its emotional tides. Swimmers understand how water is impacted by agricultural runoff, pollution and damming of rivers. 

When I swam 25 miles across Lake Pontchartrain, it was about cleaning up the lake and the water quality with Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Doing the first long distance swims down the Colorado River for 47 miles and Green River for 40 miles, I teamed up with American Rivers to sound the alarm about aridification and drought in the West. In the Caribbean I swam to bring attention to plastics in the ocean and cleaning up coral reefs.

Walking across sandbars in the Green River, I’ve come face to face with the impacts of climate change and a river with the lowest flows since we’ve been recording water. I’ve learned that people can’t live where fish can’t swim.

Another lesson that runs through the current of Soul is Waterproof is about adaptability. Swimming in the open water, we are constantly being forced to adapt. Whether it be the icy-blue cold of Lake Tahoe or the warm waters circumnavigating Key West, we are always forced to deal with changing circumstances. Or we don’t and fail. Or worse, we die. Developing grit, determination and adapting to our environment are some of the most important lessons I bring from the water to my personal and professional world.

I am inspired by the organizations I swim for on the front lines of protecting our rivers, lakes and ocean. When the going gets tough on a long swim, I think about the people who have put their credibility on the line. I think of the fish and wildlife. I can’t let them down. That is the answer to the question of Why I keep swimming.

Ultimately, I have a mindset that the water is much more important than my adventures. As open water long distance swimmers we have a larger torch to carry. Let us use our sport for its highest purpose and to be a voice for our planet’s most precious resource.

Let us be Ambassadors of the Water.

Read Matt Moseley’s new interview with The Times-Independent “Open water swimmer cares about advocacy, not just endurance“.

Soul is Waterproof: Adventure Swimming and Stories of Water by Matthew Moseley

“One of the world’s most accomplished open water swimmers.” – Outdoor Swimmer magazine

“A spectacular effort and outstanding story interweaving Matt’s swims with the challenges of the rivers everywhere.” – Tom Kiernan, Executive Director, American Rivers

Humble and fascinating. I love the way Moseley connects with water and music through his amazing swims. Through his adventures and weaving of history, he develops a unique spiritual relationship with the bodies of water he swims in. If you love water the way we do, you’ll love this book. If not. Prepare to be converted.” – Ram Barkai, Founder and Chair, International Ice Swimming Association; Author of From Fire to Ice

Matthew Moseley is the CEO of a public relations firm and author. His most recent book is Soul is Waterproof: Adventure Swimming and Stories of Water. He has swam around the world and is the subject of two documentaries, Dancing in the Water and Silent River. He has also been nominated by WOWSA for Performance of the Year.

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