Title: Contributing Writer

Location: Encinitas, Calif. and South Kingstown, Rhode Island

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  • Snowboarding, Surfing, Skateboarding, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Soccer
  • Years in This Expertise: 30+

Education & Certifications

  • Education: BA: Boston College 2001; English and Creative Writing, MFA Emerson College 2006, Writing Literature and Publishing
  • Years of Writing: 30
  • Awards or Recognitions: Nonfiction nominated for Pushcart Prize; Unanimous Selection for Fellowship from Rhode Island Council on the Arts; Scholarship to attend Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal, 2011; Reader and Panelist at Disquiet International Literary Program, 2013; member of the Aspen Writers Network 


Brian Sousa’s life is spearheaded by two distinct passions. The first is to write and create in various forms, from stories to songs. The second has been driven by a love for action sports and the outdoors.

Growing up in rural Rhode Island, Sousa’s love for skateboarding began with big wheels on rutted dirt roads, and soon translated to an even stronger interest: after trying snowboarding once at age 11, he sold his skis and poles the next day. Winters became focused on snowboarding in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, and summers were for skating, skimboarding, bodysurfing and ultimately, surfing the beaches of southern Rhode Island.

A love for reading and writing in high school became a central focus in college, when Sousa began publishing stories and poems and playing original music in dark, crowded pubs where the Sox game was usually set louder than the sound system. After college, Sousa moved to Lake Tahoe to “work” for a few years at Palisades (then Squaw Valley) and ride powder for 100+ days a season, with the occasional surf trip to Northern California. He kept writing and a few years later, back in graduate school in Boston, Sousa published his first novel.

Sousa also channeled his songwriting into two successful indie bands, one of which toured out to South by Southwest. He also lucked into a winter surf gang of old college friends who showed him the joys of 6/5 wetsuits, frozen faces, and empty lineups, and took off for a year to ride pow in Aspen, work for Aspen Skiing Company’s Race Crew, and freelance for Outside magazine, Aspen magazine, Aspen Sojourner, and more. Plus, Sousa’s humorous biweekly column for The Aspen Times set the stage for his future work for The Inertia.

After a stint teaching writing at Boston College, Sousa’s fiancé asked if he’d be open to a move to Southern California so that she could pursue her PhD. The opportunity for a post-COVID change of scenery and the chance to surf every day was too good to pass up. Now in Encinitas, Sousa spends early mornings surfing and the rest of the day writing on the deck and trying to perfect his fish taco recipe.

Sousa’s first article for The Inertia was a subtle homage to his dad, a lifelong bodysurfer: “5 Reasons Why Bodysurfers Are Better People Than Surfers.” His next article, “7 Reasons You Should Quit Surfing Immediately” established the writer’s trend of taking humorous and ironic looks at surf culture while searching for deeper meaning in our behavior and values. When he’s out of ideas, Sousa paddles out to the lineup at his home break and listens until something ironic, insightful or wacky strikes him. His favorite piece thus far, “Explaining Surfers’ Dialect and Why They Sound Perpetually Stoned,” explores surfer language from an outsider’s perspective. He enjoys reading comments on his work, especially when the nameless social media masses get fired up, as they did when he compared “hearty New England surfers” and “picky SoCal shredders.”

Living in Southern California has elevated Sousa further into the realm of surf appreciation and addiction, even as he struggles to watch his beloved Celtics, Red Sox, and soccer squads. While working for The Inertia, Sousa is also at work on a third novel, a screenplay adaptation, and a solo LP.

A Word from Brian Sousa

If you’re still reading, thanks so much for checking out my work for The Inertia amid what songwriter Joe Pug calls the “vast cesspool of the internet.” In brief, I’m a lover of both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, powder-covered mountains, empty country roads, Portuguese soccer, and hazy New England IPAs that numb the pain of old skateboarding injuries. The creative life, for 99 percent of writers and creators, is not an easy one, any way you wax it. At the core of it, though, I am happiest when I’m creating something, whether it’s a song, a story, or an article about the transformative spirit of riding waves. Cheers.

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