Yesterday, after 53 years of publishing SURFING Magazine closed down. This is strange and sad for a few reasons. My first being personal: I worked there for 8 years. Hell, I was practically raised there. Learned to be a pro and a punk at the same time and am proud that somehow when every title in the building was banned from drinking at work we were granted asylum because it was so rooted in who we were at the time. Eventually I held every single editorial position there: Intern, Associate Editor, Managing Editor and then Editor-in-Chief. It began when I was quite literally plucked from a Shakespeare class at San Diego State by surfer and writer Kimball Taylor who recognized me from the beach and went on and introduced me to the big bossmen Evan Slater and Nathan Myers at SURFING. “Here, this kid should intern,” he told them. And for some reason they listened. I was hired shortly thereafter.
I could probably fill a book with inside jokes and stories and talk forever about the life-altering experiences I had with that team and title, compile a laundry list of things I’m proud of, people I’m happy I know, surf and photo legends I somehow now have a relationship with, but for the same reason SURFING is no longer with us, I won’t. We just don’t have time, kids. On with the show. And fuckin’ hurry, there is no time to waste. I will definitely be reaching out to them all for a beer as I pour through the memory bank, but until then, I must say now we’re really in some uncharted, sharky waters and there isn’t much time to waste.
We’re offically unsustainable as we once were. And while that will spell trouble for a lot of really good people, companies, surfers and the general economy of surf, there is nowhere I feel more comfortable than when things are fucked. Because
we thrive upon “choosing between wine and dinner and making it work without a corkscrew.” And to be honest, surfing as a culture could use some reminding of that. Let’s wake up in the sand, at the bottom of everything and make this better.
If you’ve read any of my intros in What Youth, you’ll understand that we’ve seen this coming for a while. Not the end of SURFING, but the beginning of a very conservative time in surfing. And you just can’t be conservative in this culture. It’s fucking disappointing. Do not limp into anything. When brands or people limp in, unsure of themselves, things like SURFING Magazine go away and you get a WSL full of people you know nothing about. You end up with brands and surfers who are all the same, professionals with white boards, no stories to tell and even less education. You end up with a corporate and boring WSL, pros having panic attacks for being themselves and the culture becomes an aquarium of antiseptic.
There are less outlets starting today, we lost a great one that was once the magazine for the punks, the outcasts, the aerialists, the characters and photographers with an edge, and thankfully I still have them all — the mags, the stories, the memories, the friendships, the history for myself, but there’s now less for this generation. And I’m sorry to say Pottz’ commentary isn’t going to cut it. It’s up to someone else. And I know we’re happy to still be here, swinging a wrecking ball above our head hoping it collides with anything, just to see what happens. We aren’t joining the pool party just yet. We’re still out there early, working on our “Core Score.” Thanks SURFING, without you there is no us. “It’s better to burn out than fade away” anyway. —Travis