Tim Baker – SALTWATER THERAPY: How surfing and the ocean has helped me manage a stage four cancer diagnosis

SALTWATER THERAPY: How surfing and the ocean has helped me manage a stage four cancer diagnosis

Tim Baker

Key words: Surfing, saltwater therapy


In July 2015, best-selling surfing writer Tim Baker was diagnosed with aggressive stage four prostate cancer, and was told he could expect five years of reasonable health, and that six would be “exceptional”. Nearly nine years on, Tim is not just surviving, but living a rich and full life, still surfing almost daily, writing, travelling and remains in excellent health.

His self-styled cancer self-care mantra, “Remember to take your MEDS – meditation, exercise, diet, sleep” has gained traction with the medical mainstream, leading to him speaking at cancer conferences and running patient forums. Surfing and the ocean has been a key element of his self-care, offering a blissful form of exercise, immersion in nature, being absorbed in something great than the self.

His candid cancer memoir Patting The Shark was chosen by the Review section of the Weekend Australian as one of the best books of 2022, and a published extract was named by Apple News as one of its most read stories and “fascinating reads” of 2022.

Tim shares his journey and how surfing and the ocean, and his MEDS mantra, can help anyone manage a chronic illness or just maintain robust physical and mental health.

About the presenter/s

Tim Baker is an award-winning journalist and storyteller specialising in surfing history and culture and the best-selling author of numerous books on surfing. His latest book Patting The Shark documents his journey managing a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

Tim wrote Patting The Shark as part of a creative writing PhD scholarship from Griffith University. He is a former editor of Tracks, Surfing Life and Slow Living magazines, and a two-time winner of the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Culture Award. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, the Sunday Age, the Bulletin, Inside Sport, GQ, Text Journal as well as surfing magazines around the world. In July 2015, Tim was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and nine years on remains in good health and spirits, still surfing, writing and travelling.