The Story Behind the Cover Photo

Photo from  Ashes in the Ocean : Early yoga days with  John Maher . La Jolla, Ca. Circa 1990

Photo from Ashes in the Ocean: Early yoga days with John Maher. La Jolla, Ca. Circa 1990

I’ve known John Maher for as long as I can remember. We grew up together in La Jolla and his family and mine were very close. There was no shortage of opportunities (beach gatherings, family picnics and barbecues, surfing and boogie boarding, etc.), to hang out and adventure around together as little tykes. John was not only a close friend but in many ways like an older brother to me. He looked out for me at school, on the swim team, and in and around the ocean.  

When my dad died by suicide, the Mahers were incredibly supportive to my mom, sister, and me.  My sister and I would go to their house before and after school in order to give my mom a break and allow her to continue to work and provide for us. During that time, it felt like John’s family was an extension of my family. His parents, Michael and Lisa, were like parents to my sister and me.  His younger sister, Page, looked after my younger sister.  Even John’s grandfather, the late Richard Farson, was there for us and remained a close friend and mentor for many years.  

A little while after my dad’s death we moved out of La Jolla and up the coast to be closer to my mom’s work. While we were in different towns our families remained close. John and I kept in touch as we grew up, albeit much less often.

Looking back, it’s interesting to see that John and I ended up pursuing similar paths both centered in and around the ocean. John pursued competitive surfing and me bodyboarding. John became a lifeguard in La Jolla and I joined the Del Mar Lifeguards. We both developed a love for travel and adventure and were given the opportunity to travel extensively through our prospective sports (surfing and bodyboarding). We stayed in touch throughout and regardless of how much time had passed when we got together the bond from our youth was still there, as strong as ever. We even collaborated with work, leading groups on surf and yoga travel expeditions for a time.

John remains an amazing friend and one of best humans I know. He’s an incredible waterman putting his ocean skills and knowledge to great use helping people and saving lives as Lifeguard in La Jolla. He is a talented artist sharing his unique perspective of the world through his photography: John Maher Photography. I could go on and on with the list of his skills and talents.

When I first started writing Ashes in the Ocean I had a vision for the cover photograph. I wanted some element of individual water drops on the surface of the ocean. I wanted a photograph of the ocean that showed both light and dark. And, I wanted to use a photograph by John. When I came across this photo of John’s titled “Waterdrops” of the back of a wave off of the Mentawai Islands, I knew it was the one.  I am grateful and honored to use this piece for the cover of Ashes in the Ocean. Thank you John.