Like, besides us! Wait, do we matter?
Was it really only a handful of years ago that we’d wait a month for the latest surf news? A surf contest would go down and it wouldn’t be until a journalist had written a story, the photographer had developed all his shots, the story had been submitted to a magazine and then edited, the photos had been scanned into a digital format, the magazine had been designed, printed and then distributed that we’d actually hear and see what had happened.
What a mockery of… everything!
Now, the good surf websites will have a photo gallery of the day’s action along with an analysis within a couple of hours. Shark attack? Yeah, the inside story is up. Someone loses their sponsor of 20 years? You’ll read about it in five different ways. There’s plenty of dross out there, however, so let’s point you in the direction of the sites that matter.
Most surprisingly edgy site: Matt Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing isn’t what you’d expect, at least if you’re unfamiliar with Warshaw’s work. Sure, he’s a historian now, and that’s the genre of this one-stop shop of everything to do with surfing history, but the former editor of Surfer and pro surfer is the sport’s most underrated writer. Combine an ability to write with his enyclopediac knowledge of surfing (hence his current gig) and a fearlessness of opinion unheard of in modern surf writers and you have a site that entertains…and…informs.
Most complete website: With its formidable arsenal of surf cams and surf forecasting team, the foundation upon which the site was built, Surfline is the one-stop shop. The overwhelming taste of vanilla can be a little disheartening (Hello dull!) as can its obvious sexual proclivities, but, if it happened, it’s on surfline.
The overwhelming taste of vanilla can be a little disheartening (Hello dull!) as can its obvious sexual proclivities, but, if it happened, it’s on surfline.
Best photography: Despite its lack of any breaking news, Surfing presents the bests online photo features in the biz, a result of it having too many staff shooters, and therefore having to disperse its myriad of brilliant imagery… somewhere. The flipbook here (click!) from this year’s Fiji event, is typical. Any other print magazine in the world would kill for what are supposedly Surfing’s outs.
Best original clips and most interesting photos: What Youth is part-owned by the filmmaker Kai Neville and counts the Indonesia-based photographer Nate Lawrence. So what do you expect when they follow and film some hot young thing for a week in their Fairly Normal series or, as is evidenced in the main photo here, follow Craig Anderson to Desert Point? You don’t wanna miss.
Best aggregator: Boardistan. From surf to snow to skate, Boardistan trawls the net and press releases from all the PR companies, provides a very readable synopsis of the event, with links to the original source.
Best architecture: Surfermag.com. The design of the site (and the magazine) is so simply perfect it’ll move an aesthete to the happiest of tears. It ain’t breaking ground in any other sense but… to look at… superb.
Most interesting insight into a surfer: Marinelayerproductions is the website of Dane Reynolds, the 28 year old from Ventura and, currently, Quiksilver’s most highly paid surfer. What makes the site is it’s the musings and photography of Dane and not the work of a media minder. Like this, as he posted a collection of his outs from the movie Cluster.
“i emailed a friend of mine a link to ‘SAMPLER’ the other day to see what he thought and he texted me back that it was ‘pretty cool.’ i said ‘that doesn’t sound very enthusiastic.’ and he wrote back that it was ‘a little too b sidey for me.’ then the next day he sent a long winded explanation saying he just expected more. i wrote back ‘that text leaves me more confused than before, so your saying you were just disappointed? i don’t really care i like it… it’s b sides whatever i’m not gonna force people to watch it or pay for it so if they’re disappointed then fuck em’
man… expectations, what a stoke killer. every time you do something, the expectation is that whatever you do next has to be better. do you understand how unsustainable that is? the pressure caused by this principle has stressed me out, burned me out, i eventually cracked, hid out, dropped out, turned away… but then it get’s to a point where you’re just like ‘fuck it.’ that’s when i’ve done my best surfing. when there is a complete absence of consideration for what people expect.
so here’s SAMPLER, which is a collection of surfing i’ve done the past year that didn’t make it into ‘cluster.’ so yeah, it is ‘b sidey’ but that is not a disclaimer, i’m proud of it. every moment can’t be your best, the waves aren’t always perfect, the more you expect the more your disappointed, do what you can with what you’ve got, surfing’s an art, there’s no winner and no loser, no right or wrong way to do it, there’s a big difference between saying ‘fuck it’ and genuinely feeling it, and as much as i wish it did, writing it on my boards doesn’t really make me feel it, and i have to say that for the most part, while filming the past year, i was aware that i was one of the oldest guys in the movie with a reputation to defend, and that is not the right frame of mind to surf your best. or feel your best, or be yourself… but seriously… fuck it, forget what your sponsors expect, what viewers expect, expect nothing, do your best, clear your mind, be present, turn off, tune out, drop in.
or as ethan fowler says it ‘do what you want, do it well, or, if you don’t want to do it well, don’t do it well, just do it how you do it, and that shit shines through a thousand times brighter’”