Roger Deakin

Roger Deakin was an English writer and celebrated environmentalist. Waterlog, the only book he published in his lifetime, became a UK bestseller, and founded the wild swimming movement. He also authored two other acclaimed works of nonfiction: Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees and Notes From Walnut Tree Farm. Deakin lived in Suffolk, England, and died there in 2006.


  • A beautiful ode to the act of swimming outdoors…. Through ecstatic and exacting descriptions of his many swims, Deakin introduces the reader both to the pleasures of outdoor swimming and to the richness of the natural landscape…. Deakin’s insistence on wild swimming for all is really an insistence on a better ecosystem for all.

    —The Atlantic

  • Sublime…. His swim isn’t just about moving, but about, literally and ecstatically, being moved.

    —The Cut

  • [Waterlog] might be the most romantic swimming memoir ever written. Its spirit, and the way it illuminates the joy and complexity of water, of swimming in the wild, places it next to Thoreau’s Walden. As Thoreau ‘went to the woods,’ Deakin went into the water.

    —Harper's Magazine

  • His prose is sensuous . . . and his sense of humor is as dry as his theme is wet.

    —The New Yorker

  • Extraordinary.

    —The Guardian

  • Delightful.

    —Mother Jones

  • Roger Deakin is the perfect companion for an invigorating armchair swim. Engaging, thoughtful, and candid.

    —The Telegraph

  • Part amphibious adventure memoir and part right to roam manifesto, beneath Waterlog’s delightful quirk lies a serious treatise on public access and the belief that swimming is intrinsically transformative…. Sublimely subversive reading of the highest order.

    —Adventure Journal

  • A classic ode to wild swimming.

    —Outside Magazine

  • [A] beautiful meditation on swimming in nature. . . . He writes with sensitivity and a great appreciation for the world around him.


  • Beautiful.

    —California News Times

  • Roger Deakin is a latter-day Thoreau.

    —Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland

  • Waterlog is an adventure, a meditation, a celebration of wild swimming—a delight. In this book, Roger Deakin has captured the magic of the liquid world.

    —Susan Casey, author of The Wave

  • His prose works a spell.


  • The foundational text for the international ‘wild swimming’ movement. . . . A beautifully written, loving tribute to the wonders found swimming in the wild outdoors.

    —Kirkus, Starred Review