Work underway on Clay Marzo biography
LAHAINA – Surfing star Clay Marzo and his mastery of the waves, as well as his life with Asperger’s Syndrome, are the subject of “Just Add Water.”
The biography by Robert Yehling is scheduled to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014.
The book will explore Marzo’s rise to greatness as one of the most unique and gifted surfers ever, as well as his lifelong struggle to deal with everyday life because of what was diagnosed as Asperger’s Syndrome – a developmental “rewiring” of the brain – in 2007.
“Clay’s life is amazing for a number of reasons,” said Yehling, who is in Maui working with Marzo on the book.
“What strikes me most is not that he blows all of us away in the water despite living with Asperger’s, but that his laser focus on surfing and the ocean may make him so great because of Asperger’s, at least in part.”
Marzo, who grew up in Lahaina, was already well-known to the Hawaii surfing community when he traveled to California in 2005 and won the NSSA National Championships’ Open Division at age 15 with two perfect ten scores – the only time it’s ever happened in the 35-year history of the prestigious event.
His power and ridiculously difficult maneuvers prompted onlookers to consider him the world’s next future surfing great.
In 2007, after years of misdiagnoses, Marzo learned that he lived with Asperger’s Syndrome. It came as a relief to Marzo and his family.
Shortly thereafter, he was the subject of a major documentary Quiksilver produced, also called “Just Add Water,” which showcased his relationship with waves, the ocean and Asperger’s. Major articles followed in Rolling Stone, ESPN: The Magazine and Outside, and a segment on ABC World News.
Yehling has a long background as both an author and in the surf industry. He promoted most of the ASP World Tour events in the U.S. Mainland and Hawaii during the 1980s and early ’90s, as well as the Marui O’Neill Windsurfing Championships on Maui.
A former writer for Surfer and Breakout magazines, and longtime editor of the ASP World Tour Guide, he is the author of ten books and ghostwriter of five others.