Tough times call for tough measures!
I am still wearing black, in mourning over our dearly departed Surfing magazine. My black t-shirt that reads BeachGrit! More fun than coke, Acapulco and Fleetwood Mac! (buy here)
In all honesty, though, I continue to be confused by its sudden demise and ponder it often. There were over a million Facebook fans, near a million Instagram followers, a nice archive, etc. That has actual value in our modern Internet age. Why not keep it alive online only? And how is Surfer, a magazine that has absolutely zero point-of-view, a stack of glossy pages that dreams of one day growing into The Surfer’s Journal but never will because it is gutless and has red hair, how is Surfer still alive?
And then it hits me like a meaty false crack. There is no such thing in this world as Surfing the Bar but now there are two Surfer the Bars. One on Oahu’s North Shore at The Turtle Bay. The other, just opened, in Jacksonville, Florida.
The concept is described thusly:
Each Surfer The Bar is unique to its locale, much like the wide range of surf trips you plan all year. Our brick and mortar destinations allow you to experience first hand what you have loved for over 50 years from SURFER Magazine: award-winning photography, provocative interviews with living legends, film screenings, live music, oh yeah, and the perfect drink and bite to soak it all in. Drop in some time. We won’t disappoint.
I think the one in Jacksonville serves “a Polynesian infused food menu” from an indoor airstream trailer and maybe Alligator Sperm (a cocktail made from melon liquor, lime juice and heavy cream) and I’m sure doesn’t disappoint its clientele. As point-of-viewless as today’s Surfer is it still possesses an even richer archive and the name, in that chunky font, evokes wonderful pangs of nostalgia.
Quite frankly, I would image that Surfer the Bars could kill it all the way across the midwest or any place that hungers for surf kitsch. It really is a wonderful idea, and I’m not being ironic, because it is not aimed at surfers. It is aimed at people who want to dip in to surf culture for a minute while eating and drinking and then dip back out. Like ex-WSL CEO Paul Speaker!
Of course the two existing Surfer the Bars are not owned by The Enthusiast Network, Surfer’s parent company. The name is licensed but still. If there were ten, twenty, thirty Surfer the Bars peppered throughout Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Lubbock, etc. etc. it would be an actual going concern.
And the bar necessitates that the magazine and website stay alive. Without it existing still some of the charm would fall away.
Surfer is now a loss leader pushing booze and chicken satay.