Matt Warshaw needs your money to help save surf history and culture from the abyss…
A few days ago, Matt Warshaw, the surf historian who spends his days at his Seattle home surrounded by surf-centric books and wrapped in a tartan robe parted at a forbidden delta, launched his biennial donation appeal, subscriber drive.
If you don’t wanna dive even deeper, sign up here (it’s three bucks a month, for christ’s sake) or donate a little something.
If you’re late to the game, you’ll remember in December, 2017, when Warshaw announced he would quit and take his archive with him if thirty thousand dollars wasn’t donated immediately. Warshaw had made a deal with his wife in 2011 that if it wasn’t in the black within a year, expenses paid, he pulling out a modest salary, he’d shutter it.
One year turned into five.
‘It’s just kind of humiliating, to be 57 and making what I make. It feels like a judgement,” Warshaw said in 2017. “EOS, I think, does a such a good job at showing the world of surf in full. Look at us, maybe the most fucked-up wonderful interesting thing on the planet, it’s all here on the three sites I’ve made, in photos, video, and words — and for building that I get less than I did as a SURFER intern in 1985. It’s humbling. When I step away from the computer a few hours and think about it, I can get depressed.”
As Nick Carroll, another great surf writer who spends his days plucking at his dressing gown, wrote,
“Surfing is not culturally anything like it once was. It now has its very own .01% of very rich people. Eye wateringly, unnecessarily rich people. I hear about new ones every day. Most recently I heard about a near-billionaire ex tech guy who takes his chef and sommelier with him on surf trips, on chartered planes, and pays skilled older surfers to go with him too. Another one who has several people on permanent retainer combing the world for the best next surf trip he can take. Elsewhere this .01% is busy re-shaping the sport wherever they can, making it go to the Olympics, putting it on show in lakes, doing pretty much everything except just fucking leaving it alone. Here’s a thought for the .01%. You wanna be the modern Medicis of surfing? Well then be patrons. Fund the work of Warshaw and people like him. Don’t buy them, back them. Give everyone else in surfing a reason to like you.”
Anyway, the response was very good, Warshaw even squeezing six thousand American dollars out of us (which we’ve almost paid in full, one or two more instalments to go).
Now, he needs a little more.
And the advertisement-free Encyclopedia of Surfing, which is a fully registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which means it’s tax deductible, has its phones and arms open for surfers who want to do something tangible for the culture they love and loathe in equal measures.
Warshaw, of course, has been responsible for some of the sharper stories on BeachGrit including: (On wavepools) “We’ve traded magic for Perfection!“, (On the death of filmmaker Bill Delaney) “It may be shameful but every time a famous surfer dies I get this initial rush, almost like a fire alarm going off!” and (On Kelly Slater’s Sound Waves episode), “I watched Sound Waves, Kelly Slater twice. It’s almost druggy, like MDMA!”
A man as precious and loyal, and as secretly wanton, as any that has walked the earth.
Here’s his spiel.
I’m a full-time EOS employee, developer Mark Augias is part-time—and that’s it for staff. This year’s fundraiser is mostly about getting another pair of hands involved. $50K in combined donations and new subscriptions gets us a new part-time person and throws some more hours Mark’s way. $100K gets us a full-timer, more hours for Mark, and a small raise for me—I’m doing EOS for $30K a year and I’d be lying to say I’m not looking for a pay bump.
What’s on our to-do list for 2020? Apart from creating and improving the pages you already know (Encyclopedia of Surfing, History of Surfing, Above the Roar), we’ve just added beta versions for two new EOS areas: Surfboards and Contests. Click here to see a Surfboard page, and here for a Contest page. Both environments are already functional and integrated with the rest of the site, but they need hundreds of pages to really lift off—which means added work hours, which means staffing up.
Meanwhile, we’re still doing the non-sexy stuff: digitizing movies and videos, scanning old surf mags, tagging, keywording, databasing. The preservation work isn’t glamorous, but it’s the most important thing EOS does. We have to grab this stuff now. When the last analog version of a surf movie or magazine disappears or is forgotten, that’s it, game over, kiss it goodbye. So again, more hands at EOS means more surf history and culture saved from the abyss.