Staff buy Surfing Life and White Horses from their public company master!
Do you like your surf mags and co’s to be in the hands of surfers rather than, say, a bank or an investment firm? It’s crazy, I know, a magazine or a company existing for more than the relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of integrity of product.
So I like Future Fins, I like Lost Surfboards, I like What Youth, I like Dark Seas, I like The Surfers Journal and…
I like…White Horses! I like… Surfing Life.
Those two markedly different surf titles, once under the banner of Morrison Media until it was sold for $10 million to Pacific Star Network almost two years ago primarily for the cardigan-culture mags Frankie and Smith Journal, have just been bought back by three of the company’s pivotal staffers: Craig Sims (who owned the South African mag Zig Zag before moving to Australia to work for Morrison Media), Graeme Murdoch (White Horses creator) and (former pro superstar and sales guy) Rob Bain.
It’s a real nice story, I think.
No one’s going to make bank out of the titles, but the trio do want to tell stories, present photos in a manner that does ’em a little more justice than on a telephone screen, and maybe squeeze out enough shekels to cover their own rent and whatever else.
“We’re small, we’re having a swing and we’re surfers,” says Bain. “We want to keep a certain amount of realness to it.”
“We’ve sent off our first issue of White Horses and, tomorrow, Surfing Life is off to the printers so we’re stoked to have done this with minimal disruption to our publishing schedules,” says Sims. “It was a long, drawn-out affair buying magazines from a public listed company, but we’re through it and proud to be a small surfer-owned business, consisting of three guys with complimentary strengths and talents, having a go during one of the most volatile and uncertain times in media history.”
Ooowee, he brave. How long’s he think paper magazines are going to be kicking around?
“We have a firm belief in the power and importance of print in delivering brand messages for surf companies, especially at this time when digital is everyone’s obsession, including ours… as digital media lurches toward ad blocking, programatic buying and advertising spend consolidates to the global platforms of Google and Facebook, we think surf brands will be looking to separate themselves from the mainstream maelstrom.”
Which means print magazines, says Sims.
“My hunch is that the humble surf mag will provide one avenue for surf brands to demonstrate their importance within the sub culture and separate themselves from each other by producing beautiful ads. We don’t have all the answers but we have strong fundamentals – and we’re keen students of media, real surfers who are passionate about the sport and industry. Hopefully that’s a recipe for the modest success we’re hoping to achieve.”
Is Sims on the money here? Is print going to take a little of the limelight back? Is online a dead-end (yike)?