Matt Warshaw writes really long, really well-researched books and articles about surfing and its history. He’s quite maniacal about it all and it tickles me that surfing has someone psycho enough to document its rich history so damn well. Matt has been the editor of Surfer Magazine and written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Esquire — but it’s his Encyclopedia of Surfing project that really blows my mind. For quick reference it’s like a Wikipedia page for everything that’s ever happened and that’s happening in surfing at any point. Hell, we’re even in there. So is basically anything and everything about surfing ever.
Now before I tell you more about this thing you’ve likely never heard of but should have (It’s OK, it’s not that sexy, but it’s so fucking awesome) we must understand that it desperately needs our help. And I think you know by now I would never send you clicking and subscribing to something if I didn’t deem it a worthy endeavor. Lord knows our “surf industry” has become a slimy pit of sponsored ads, budget cuts, job shuffling, sadness and gimmicks — but I assure you this is not one. The Encyclopedia of Surfing is legit. And I’m actually an owner of the hard copy version and I use it all the time when I need absolute assurance on how to spell Reno Abellira or want to see a picture of me and Kai with beer in our hands and a definition of just what the hell What Youth is. (Sometimes I need reminding).
But apparently, the site needs some money to stay afloat. So let’s help: Can we all go subscribe? It’s like 3 bucks a month and you’ll have so much fun impressing your friends with your vast knowledge of surfing. Great facts for Happy Hour and around the fire. Our entire office is subscribing right this second. Let’s keep this one alive. And hell, maybe Matt will buy us all a beer at Vesuvio in SF next year if we pull this off. —Travis
If you wanna read the details of where your money is going and want to enjoy the penned words of Matt himself asking you for money to keep his project going, see below:
Well, this is a tough one to write, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Encyclopedia of Surfing is underwater. We need to raise $30,000 by December 31, or the whole online project—Encyclopedia, History of Surfing, Above the Roar—goes away.
How did this happen? Short answer: funding a website is really, really hard. In 2010, when I started building EOS, the goal was to have it up and running and modestly profitable by 2012. For three years, with SURFER Magazine’s support, it was very close. But the SURFER deal wasn’t renewed, and I couldn’t find anybody to step in and take their place—as many of you know, the surf industry is having its own problems. Surf-biz fluctuations, in fact, are why I believe the subscription model I’ve had in place for EOS since May is the only way to create a sustainable revenue stream. But at this point, EOS is still in the red . . . and out of time.
So there it is. Down but not out. We’re looking at no-holds-barred $30,000 December fundraiser, and I’ll be doing everything short of selling major organs to hit that 30K target.
But why? Why do I keep flogging away on a project that is unlikely to ever be much more than a break-even deal? Two reasons. The work is incredibly satisfying. Not just the day-to-day building of the site, but also the fact that it allows me to pay down the huge debt I owe the sport. Surfing has shaped me, inspired me, fed me, taken me around the world, and put me in contact with multitudes who are just as stoked and crazed about the sport as I am. So there’s a huge personal incentive for me to keep EOS going. I simply love the job.
The second reason I stick with EOS is because, as the old expression goes, it’s good for the sport. Nothing else does what EOS does, or at least not on the same scale: preserving, archiving, curating, and presenting our shared history; connecting present and past; creating a stage big enough for all the savants, freaks, outcasts, champions, and adventurers who have built their lives around surfing—and have in turn built surfing itself. To that end, I’ve assembled a peaceful army of surf-world filmmakers, photographers, and writers, all of whom donate their work to EOS for free. Look at the photo and film credits on the site. Every name you see there contributes to EOS not for personal gain, but because it makes all of us look good; because surfing is elevated by EOS’ presence. No other sport has a set of websites that can touch EOS, HOS, and Roar. It costs you three bucks a month, true. But we’re ad-free and independent. The sites are not built for advertisers. They’re for us—for surfers.
How can you help? Three ways.
1 – SUBSCRIBE: Just 1,000 new subscribers this month, and we’re good through 2018.
2 – DONATE: I’ve added a “Donate” page—silly me for not having it up six months ago. Fernando Aguirre, Bob Hurley, Kelly Slater, Nick Woodman? Any one of you could put this fundraiser to bed right here, right now, one click and done. The rest of you, choose your amount— anything is appreciated, nothing is too small. Note: if we don’t hit $30K, your donation will be refunded.
3 – SHARE: Word of mouth is going to make or break this drive. Light up your social, send a group email, hold forth in the parking lot. Keep it short and sweet if you like. “I’m a satisfied Encyclopedia of Surfing subscriber, and you will be too!” Grab an image or two from the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to include these two links.
I’ve tried to anticipate some of your questions (see below), but if there’s anything else you’d like to ask, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for listening. Thanks for supporting the site! Now help me pull this drive off so I can get back to making videos about boards flying off cars and stuff.