Use Wikipedia to change the actual course of surfing history!
It’s a damn shame that our collective surf history has been written by, like, three people. Ok, or maybe like thirteen, but they’re basically all the same person (white bread, white bread, and more white bread, of the Wonder, not the Pan Bimbo, variety).
Except for Matt Warshaw. The mold was broken with the Godfather of surf historiography. And, for the record, I found MW infallible long before surfing’s widely acclaimed gossip rag/literary mag/fashion blog/imminent corporate lawsuit took it upon itself to drop Dr. Warshaw (honorary degree forthcoming, from somewhere good, I’m certain!) into their S.E.O. with deserved regularity.
But you know what? You too can write surf history!
“But,” you ask, “how can I do that without a direct line to Scott Hulet or the acquisition editor at Chronicle Books? What indiscretions might Nick Carroll ask of me in return for 300 words? Is Phil Jarratt even around for a favor after the Quiksilver exposés?”
But: fuck nepotism, I say. Yes, backroom bro bias and alumni networks might grease every wheel and every industry that you or I or our beloved fellow commenters can name. But not surf history! Not anymore.
Oh the fun that can be had by contributing to Wikipedia. Remember when Chas wrote the official brand identity of the World Surf League ? And it ended up on the WSL’s Wikipedia page for, like, seven hours before Travis Logie reverted it back from the QS event in Portugal after being tagged in a BG instagram comment? That was fun, right?
See, you, me, ANYONE can officially write surf history for the massive 300-gazillion rabid surf media consumers worldwide. It all starts with a click of the “edit” tab and ends with your own personalized, official amendment to surfing’s official record. Pick any topic, any personality, any surfer, any shaper, and fill in the blanks surrounding their illustrious existence. Just remember to cite your source (any old website will do! Or make one up!) and it’s a totally valid edit, contribution, or revision to the page in question!
Yes, technically Wikipedia deems erroneous or malicious edits vandalism.
And, fuck that, vandals are like thieves with no payout, morally destitute with no compensation, which means they are also like popular bloggers, err, writers. But the introduction of well-presented fact—like the fact that Paul Speaker doesn’t surf on the WSL page—doesn’t constitute vandalism.
Not in the least! It is, rather, a valued real-time contribution to the historical legacy and a correction to the record of our beloved pastime! Surf history for the masses, by the masses!
By the way, you know who doesn’t have a Wikipedia page?
Matt Warshaw? No! He does, and it’s impeccable!
Those future Pulitzer winners who founded Stab Magazine…