It’s 5 a.m. and I’m sitting on the couch at WY’s Scott Chenoweth’s house in Long Beach — wide awake because I just heard a car getting broke into right outside. I can’t sleep so I end up in the vortex of my phone and find myself hitting a link to a podcast featuring Beach Grit’s Chas Smith where he allegedly attempts to strangle someone. I’m interested in the strangling story so I waste an hour of my life listening to the back and forth argument about “surf journalism.” I am not going to recommend listening to the podcast (because you can’t actually see Chas strangle anyone) but it did make me think about some of the issues. Let’s discuss.
Listen to the podcast here (if that’s your thing):
1.) There is no such thing as surf journalism. The creative writing is cool to read, but don’t call it journalism.
2.) Everyone is so wrapped up in their own passions that they think theirs is bigger than it really is. I’m a photographer, so I always looked up to certain surf photographers growing up and thought they were the best thing ever. Fast forward a few years and you realize they are actually a lot of losers who don’t have a job now or a different skill set to apply to anything other than pointing their camera at surfers jumping in the water. Same goes for surf writers. They idolize people who, unless you are an aspiring surf writer, no one even knows of. And Chas points this out repeatedly saying: if you want to be a surf writer find another job and do writing on the side because you’ll never become a great writer working at Stab. And the other guy just can’t understand that. I’d say the same thing for any kid who wants to become a surf photographer.
3.) The other guy says, “We hire filmmakers to make art.” That was funny, I laughed a lot.
4.) What really interests me is the fact that people continue to try to pursue a career in surf media that has such little to offer them in return. A story online for a few hundred dollars. A photo in a magazine for $150. A position as the editor for the prospect of becoming the marketing manager at Sector 9 next year.
5.) Podcasts are frustrating when there’s a fight and you can’t see it happen. Oh, and Chas should have really punched that other guy for talking about his wife and kid like that. I know I would have.—Nate Lawrence