Almost an apology...
Yesterday I had a wonderful meeting with Sharp Eye’s Marcio Zouvi in which we discussed surfing’s past, present and future. You’ll be able to read that whole interview shortly, but for today I’d like to touch on one of Marcio’s biggest gripes.
“The Internet has really done a disservice to the world of surfboard design,” Marcio told me.
“Nowadays, nobody really knows who’s for real and who’s not. You’ll see guys with not a lot of talent, but who have a lot of ‘techniques’ online, taking off. So they become the next ‘guru’ even though they don’t know what they’re doing. You know, the boards aren’t really impressive. ”
Marcio continued, “This is where you guys, Surfline, and Surfer really need to put out the correct information. For a long time I’ve seen a lot of information and coverage being bought. So people are getting this misinformation — stuff that’s not real. And that’s sad.”
And damn it, he’s right! Surf media is majorly responsible for the lies that consume us all. I’ve never ridden a Channel Islands, Chilli, Sharp Eye, Slater Designs, or many other of the major board brands, yet I ponder incessantly about how hard I’d be shredding on all of them. This can only be due to all the positive coverage they get, and to Marcio’s point, a vast majority of that adulation is purchased.
This is, of course, the crux of what we do. Surf media exists only with the help of advertorial funding, and most of that funding comes from surf-endemic brands. In an effort to maintain our financial bond with said brands, the media caresses them with flattery, product placement and the odd reach-around.
That’s why Surfing did a wetsuit review with zero negative feedback. That’s why Stab no longer rates their In The Dark boards numerically.
Without ass-kissing and falsified endorsement, surf media can’t exist. With ass-kissing and falsified endorsement, surf media hurts certain businesses and consumers. It’s a double-edged sword and somebody’s gotta fall on it.
So unless you guys decide to stop clicking on BeachGrit, Surfline, Stab, and The Inertia, the media will continue to deceive until we are old and bald and still very poor.
We fall on the sword together like a shish kabob of surf misery!