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History: Don’t let thinking surfers win!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

It will be a Stalinist erasing.

I woke this morning to troubling news. Zach Weisberg and his merry band of “thinking surfers” at your other favorite Venice-adjacent surf website is attempting a coup. Attempting to co-opt surf history in an effort to re-write the narrative, I’d imagine. Matt Warshaw’s epic Encyclopedia of Surfing and History of Surfing are in deep financial straits, you see, and need of a few more subscribers to stay solvent. Zach, in a coldly calculating move, saw his chance to strike.

In an open letter, he wrote:

As someone who understands how challenging managing the vagaries of business for a digital-based editorial outlet in the surf and outdoor space can be, I refuse to allow the Encyclopedia of Surfing to exit Google’s fiber optics without a fight. And I’m optimistic that with a call to arms of this magnitude – with this much on the line for folks truly passionate about the history of the most fun thing to do on earth – surfers will unite, pony up a few bucks, and let Matt Warshaw (and the work he’s done on our behalf) know that it is appreciated and will live to see another day.

We cannot let this bald cynicism stand. If “thinking surfers” save both the Encyclopedia and History of surfing then they will effectively have the ability to transform our shared past into a “woke” version of themselves. Troubling episodes, like the very first production surfboards being called “swastikas” and Michel Bourez being described as “a eunuch fainting on a daybed” will be disappeared, replaced by “good vibes.”

Triggering words or phrases like “cunt” and “BeachGrit” will be forgotten forever.

It will be a Stalinist erasing and the ocean will soon fill with happy people on all manner of SUP and longboard attempting to “share the stoke” and “live aloha everyday.”

The only thing standing between that reality and our current racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, angry one is you.

Subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing and the History of Surfing today. Give a subscription as a gift.

Save surfing from Venice-adjacent’s chubby little goat cheese and wine stained fingers.