Devon
Critically Acclaimed Memoirist
Renowned Adventurer
Travels from: Seattle, WA

“The overcoming-obstacles memoir succeeds only if you grow to care about the person overcoming them. Hulk? Maybe not ― he’s touchy and volatile. Dr. Strange? Full of himself. But Devon Raney is good company: modest, down-to-earth, grateful to the people around him. See him today on his surfboard and you’d probably think, ‘Lucky guy.’” — San Francisco Chronicle

Devon Raney, renowned adventurer, and award-winning memoirist lost eight-five percent of his eyesight at the tender age of thirty-three. He is deeply interested in inspiring young adults through his experiences as a blind author, athlete, and father. As a gifted storyteller he does this by sharing about a lifetime spent outdoors, humorous stories from a unique childhood and vulnerable moments learning to live with his disability. Devon was born in Goleta, California. He lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife Rebecca and daughter Madrona.

When he lost his vision, Devon was in the early days of fatherhood and making legendary strides toward the life he and Rebecca had dreamed up. Currently Devon is developing the Bainbridge Island Youth Endowment in hopes of exploring the state of fundraising in America as part of his next work. His grounded faith is core to his identity, and he enjoys every opportunity to partner with faith-based organizations.

For as much as Devon enjoys writing and speaking, he enjoys adventuring just as much. Devon is a World Cup Snowboard Gold Medalist in the Para Division and Silver Medalist in the New York City Triathlon, Para Division. He has cycled from the northern tip of Washington state to the edge of Tijuana towing a trailer and surfboard. Devon has been profiled in The Snowboarders Journal, The Surfers Journal, Surfer Magazine, Outside Magazine, and Forbes Magazine.

Devon navigates the world boldly, living as though there were no limits – in spite of his visual limitations. He continues to be active in pursuing the passions he has known since childhood although it requires a very different approach these days and he often accepts help from a friend. Still Sideways is his memoir; Gold Medal Foreword INDIES Book Award and second book.

Devon’s Authors Outside Profile: 

Devon's Featured Titles

Still Sideways: Riding the Edge Again After Losing My Sight

Patagonia |
Memoir

Before a surfing accident caused thirty-three-year-old Devon Raney to lose all but 15 percent of his vision, he had already lived an extraordinary life. Time and again he’d gone against the grain to maximize time for his passions–surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding–bringing him into the direct path of colorful characters, unexpected adventures, and even the occasional brush with death. Through it all, Devon’s commitment to outdoor adventure never wavered. If anything, he learned to approach the other commitments he would make in life–as a husband and as a father–with the same passion and dedication he’d applied to board sports.

So when facing a devastating mid-life challenge, Devon once again went against the grain — sideways. Instead of retreating into a life made smaller by the things he could no longer do–drive, build houses, read to his young daughter–Devon resolved to keep his commitments to the same passions that had defined and sustained him. Using his remaining peripheral vision, he developed a style of tandem snowboarding, figured out how to read the waves, and carried himself through his daily life in such a way that few people other than his close friends and family were aware of his vision loss.

Still Sideways makes the case for the sustaining power of nature for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts: the late Gen X / early millennial generation that has one foot firmly in adulthood and the other foot buckled into a binding. Readers will relate to Devon’s stubborn refusal to organize his life around convention and will be inspired by how his dogged devotion to shredding brings him salvation, not comeuppance, when it all hits the fan. A must-read for any mid-life adventurer, Still Sideways intersperses a gripping narrative of Devon’s incredible decade and flashbacks of formative experiences from his youth and young adulthood with humor, candor, and authenticity.

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The Beauty of Being Disabled: A Positive Perspective After a Significant Life Change

In this talk, Devon shares a few cool unexpected results that have accompanied his vision loss. For example, he can no longer judge people at first glance based on their appearance, clothing, race, gender, etc. Instead, he has to get to know them before he can draw any conclusions as to who they are as people.

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Showing Up: The Intentional Effort It Takes to Show Up and Be a Part of The Result

This is one of Devon’s favorite topics. In this open lecture, he enjoys inspiring young people by sharing funny and heartwarming stories from his book that support the idea that life needs to be experiences in the arena and not from the sidelines.

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Faith: The Important Role it Plays While Living with a Disability

In this keynote lecture, Devon shows both a presence of faith and lack of faith throughout his life and the impact they had on good and bad times.

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Parenting with a Disability: The Gifts and Challenges of Raising a daughter as a Visually Impaired Dad

In this talk, Devon invites participants to take a closer look at the incredible experiences he has had alongside his daughter, despite having very specific challenges like being a father who is unable to drive a car. How did he take his daughter snowboarding 70 days a year? What was it like walking her to and from school every day? What were playdates like when you had to walk the kids to a restaurant for dinner?

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Books Are Cool: The Staying Power of Books in a Digital World

In this keynote lecture, Devon shares with humor the importance and power books have had as a tangible object throughout our history. Form follows function; just like the timeless fashion of a soup spoon which is perfect in its design, books too are perfect in their design and have been doing the same thing for centuries providing us with a story while being read cover to back.

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Giving Up: A Tough Habit to Break

In the same fashion as topic #2, Devon enjoys inspiring young people by sharing funny and heartwarming stories from his book that support the idea that life needs to be experiences in the arena and not from the sidelines.

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A Defiant Spirit: When Defiance is a Good Thing

In this talk, Devon explores specific moments in his life where a defiant spirit has served him in a positive way. For much of his childhood he was negatively labeled defiant, but as an adult he would use defiance as a way to keep moving forward in challenging circumstances.

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Hope: Hope Lost, All Lost

A powerful keynote, Devon combines the importance of showing up with the idea of not giving up and rounds out the lecture with his belief that hope is the glue that keeps it all together.

Devon’s Links

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Still Sideways is a 2020 Foreword Indies Gold Medal winner
Forbes magazine called Still Sideways the second most important Patagonia book to read right now

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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