key | Speaker | Surfing Professional
Sam Bloom is a 2 x World Para Surfing Champion, bestselling author, and inspiration behind the Australian box-office hit and global Netflix sensation Penguin Bloom, starring and produced by two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts.
In 2013, while holidaying in Thailand with her husband and three young sons, Sam unknowingly leant on a rotten balcony railing, falling through it and plunging six metres onto the concrete below. Sam’s injuries were horrific. The near-fatal accident shattered her spine, ruptured her lungs and caused severe bleeding on the brain.
Not only was Sam physically broken and facing the daunting reality of never walking again, but her soul and spirit were crushed. She was not the active, adventurous mother she once was and was convinced if she could not have her old life back, her new one was not worth living.
A serendipitous encounter with a frail and injured magpie chick, her sons dubbed Penguin, was to transform her attitude, change the course of her recovery, and save her family.
Sam and Penguin’s remarkable bond and extraordinary story of parallel recovery was sensitively captured through the lens by Sam’s husband, acclaimed photographer Cameron Bloom. The images formed the basis for the international bestselling book Penguin Bloom, a collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive.
Such is the sheer beauty and power of their story that it inspired a major film of the same name, starring Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln. The movie, released in January 2021, became an immediate hit, claiming #1 at the Australian box office and trending on Netflix in North America and across Europe.
Sam’s is a story for the times, with profound messages for us all – of the power of love and family, and of our innate ability to find determination and courage in the face of adversity.