Aug 16 • 1HR 18M

Episode 191: Bonnie Tsui - Why We Swim

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Matthew Barr
Presented by Matt Barr, Looking Sideways is a podcast about the best stories in skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and other related endeavours.
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Bonnie Tsui, San Francisco, March 2022. Photo: Finisterre / David Gray

A mere four years after I had Ross Edgeley on the show, I’ve finally managed to book another swimmer! Yes my guest for this episode is the great Bonnie Tsui, journalist, writer, swimmer, surfer and author of one of my favourite books of recent years - Why We Swim.

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As a total swim geek, I loved this book. But as well as being manna for swimmers, it is also just a really brilliantly marshalled and elegantly-styled treatise on our relationship with nature through the lens of swimming.

Photo: Sachi

Like all the best none-fiction crossovers, it has an appeal way beyond its subject matter; and as Bonnie is such a scrupulous journalist and an excellent none-fiction stylist, you know you’re in safe hands from the first page.

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I headed up to London to meet Bonnie in early July 2022, where we sat down to record this conversation about the book, during which I was keen to find out how Bonnie manage to condense such a vast topic into such a compelling, readable tale.

Photo: Sachi Cunningham

As you might expect if you’ve previously heard her on Rich Roll or Finisterre’s Hell or High Water podcast, Bonnie is a great conversationalist, able to switch between topics with ease and calm authority. This one is all about the opportunities and restrictions of creativity, told with great insight and candour from a writer in their imperial phase.

Enjoyed my chat with Bonnie? Let me know 👇

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