Fred Haywood has a blend of the intellectual, philosopher, athlete, adventurer, quiet warrior, and curious student. This book entertains, informs, and inspires. There are heroes amongst us, and Fred is one of mine. – Laird Hamilton
From being one of the best swimmers on the planet to becoming the fastest man on a windsurfer and so much more, I am honored to know someone as humble and inspiring as Fred Haywood. – Kai Lenny
I have a single, enduring image of Fred—a man smiling broadly, ready for what storms may come. In my mind, he is always carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon for that last biggest wave to ride, the last fastest windsurfing run, or the last swim meet we swam in together. – Mark Spitz
The author draws a rich and detailed portrait of Maui, capturing an island developing quickly amid the swirls of change in the latter half of the 20th century. His writing on water sports is compelling and vivid with action. From start to finish, his affection for Maui shines through: “I will always come home to Maui because Maui will always be home.” – Kirkus Reviews
How he came to set world records and ride the biggest wave in the world makes for invigorating "you are here" reading that will delight avid surfers and armchair enthusiasts alike. To view Racing with Aloha as a memoir alone would be to do it a disservice. Haywood's exploration of surfing, Hawaiian culture, and how his own life unfolds creates a multifaceted read recommended not just for memoir readers, but anyone with an interest in Hawaii and surfing culture. -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews
Racing with Aloha is an engaging account of a life spent navigating through often choppy waters. Haywood is a solid writer, and his depictions of surfing and swimming exploits are energetic and concise enough to engage even lounge chair adventurers. -BlueInk Review
Racing with Aloha is an adventurous memoir about competition and friendship in the world of water sports. Haywood displays a genuine love for all things water, from his own sports (swimming, surfing, and windsurfing) to fishing and sailing. That love is infused throughout the book, giving it a lighthearted and breezy feel.
Haywood’s father features into the text as a mentor and challenger, reminding him to remain humble even as he breaks swimming records and becomes a well-known windsurfer. This is a lesson well learned, as every competition-related anecdote is filled with respect and camaraderie for fellow competitors, many of whom are now water sporting legends. Haywood’s story is just one example of how embracing aloha leads to lifelong friendships among competitive athletes. -Clarion Review
In this debut memoir about growing up in Hawaii, a man reflects on a life spent in the water.
Haywood was born on Maui in 1949, after his parents relocated from San Francisco. His father was a doctor for the sugar plantations, working at a hospital and making house calls at the plantation camps. The author’s dad is a central figure in the book, a lover of the outdoors who taught his children the importance of hard work and humility. The opening chapters are full of observations of island culture and awe for the natural beauty that was the kids’ childhood backyard. Competitive swimming soon takes over the memoir. “Swimming was second nature to us,” Haywood recounts, “and second in priority to our schoolwork.” The author, in his high school years, became a formidable backstroker. After transferring to a high school in California for his senior year to focus on his training, he won the backstroke competition at the Amateur Athletic Union Indoor Championships. He earned a spot at Stanford, where the swimming came easier than the academics. An atrial fibrillation—an irregular heartbeat—put his swimming career in jeopardy, and Haywood began to consider life after college. He returned to Maui, looking for work, and after several false starts, he settled into real estate. He also seriously took up surfing, even traveling to Indonesia in search of great waves. Soon, he found a new passion, windsurfing, a sport in its infancy. The author became a pioneer, devising innovations in technique and equipment. Haywood’s swiftly paced book is a straightforward, compact account of growing up, told in steady prose that sometimes resorts to clichéd phrases. But the author draws a rich and detailed portrait of Maui, capturing an island developing quickly amid the swirls of change in the latter half of the 20th century. His writing on water sports is compelling and vivid with action. From start to finish, his affection for Maui shines through: “I will always come home to Maui because Maui will always be home.”
A concise, vibrant, and fast-moving tribute to sports and home.