Is the World Surf League still a functioning body? I, for one, don’t know, but there is another professional surfing competition in Australia happening right now, the Boost Mobile Pro, and you are allowed to watch for free.
Are you old enough to remember when Boost Mobile first floated into our world?
It was supposed to be a content x mobile play that certainly seems prescient but was also based on extreme sports, which certainly don’t.
Or maybe do.
Weigh in on Tyler Wright etc. as they surf professionally and live here.
With fog of sorrow lifting, punters come out to dance on Surfer magazine’s still warm corpse: “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”
In the word’s of Neil Young- “It’s better to burn out, than it is to rust.”
I am now an entirely apolitical person. I excused myself from the annals of the internet in mid 2019 after what you may call internet induced political fatigue. Thats quite a feat considering I come from a family with political roots in both federal and local government, went to a polling university that garners an A+ from FiveThirtyEight where I pursued political science and later went to law school where Mr. Biden himself was a constitutional law professor. The cacophony of purity tests and conspiracy theories from the left and right were so deafening that I now abstain from all news and voting and vowed to fulfill my civic duty by creating jobs in my local economy and being an active participant in my kid’s school district, the ultimate goal being to help impact my local community and hope that there is a butterfly effect that ripples further.
In a country so divided, surfing and reading about surfing were my safe haven. In the water, especially during COVID, my friends and I would put any politically induced stress in a neat box and compartmentalize it for an hour session, focusing on the things that unify us, rather than separate us. Environmentalism was always a topic of discussion, parenting, jobs, etc. But never politics. The sport we love has unified so many disparate characters that it only seemed logical that the sport could get us to drop our arms and embrace our brethren from 6 feet away and enjoy one of the last bastions of human contact many of us have since we are all working from home and trying to also, somehow, teach our kids science via a fucking Zoom connection while also taking conference calls.
Surfer magazine was, for years, the sports bible. With a long history of writing some of the most interesting and compelling articles in surf, Surfer magazine represented, to me, a unifying publication aimed at every surfer. As I exited the internet and stopped reading news, I vowed that the only things I would read would be BeachGrit, PE Newswire, and Surfer. The articles on surfer, especially the ones by Zander Morton, scratched my itch and reminded me of when I would thumb the physical pages as a kid.
As I read daily, I was pleased and loved what I was reading. But as 2020 went on one voice, Todd Prodanovich, stood out as just fucking tone deaf. Dude straight up doesn’t get it. He is the exact type of person that pushed me off social media (and out of Democratic Party affiliation). Purity tests, finger wagging, and hyper politicization of everything are Todd’s name of the game. As things got weird in 2020, TP dropped the facade of any sort of journalistic integrity and wrote articles (more like Vox than Surfer) finger wagging at those who surfed under COVID regulations, selling COVID pseudoscience, finding injustice everywhere, and just being the worst kind of elitist opinionated limousine liberal most liberals hate. Earlier in the year he had a call to action claiming surfers should embrace our anti-establishment roots and then went on this week to endorse a ticket filled with two of the most establishment centric politicians who have ever filled a ticket, how radical.
Fast forward to this weekend, Todd announced that Surfer, is indeed dead. I for one, am happy. He announced that the cover will feature a paddle out for George Floyd and include a longford piece on the LGBTQ community. Those thought pieces are great for those who want that intermingled with ads for the SharkBans, but most of us don’t. I have no problems with the cover or the article, but putting those things front and center, Todd proved that as Editor-in-Chief, he didn’t care about all surfers, just the ones he agreed with politically. It was disheartening to know that TP’s vision for Surfer was not for surfers, but to turn the magazine into yet another virtue signaling outrage machine more focused on having its finger on the pulse of woke than on being the source of truth for all things surf.
We as surfers, are a group of individuals tied by a common bond- mainly a love for the ocean and getting fat tubes. Needless division in our tight knit group should not be tolerated. In almost every surf documentary, people of all races and socioeconomic statuses describe surfing as an escape from their day-to-day. Shoehorning politics and egalitarian elitism into a sport that so many of us rely on for an escape should not be something we accept carte-blanche. Who the hell is Todd Prodanovich to tell us what to think and who is he to needlessly divide us over what he perceives as important. We are anti-establishment, and that’s why Surfer Magazine was replete of political grandstanding, because surfing isn’t supposed to represent that. Also, judging by the fact that the majority of the comments and thumbs ration TP’s opinions into absolute oblivion, its pretty obvious the masses feel the same, at least the ones on Surfer.com.
In the word’s of Neil Young- “It’s better to burn out, than it is to rust.” Thank god Surfer did the former rather than the latter. Todd, Vox and The Atlantic might love your reductive and pedantic race to politicize everything and find your way to the lowest common denominator, but for the time being- don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. You won’t be missed.
Seventeen-year-old boy describes terrifying moment when shark began its vicious attack: “I was stressing, I was screaming at everyone, and everyone just started paddling away from me!”
“As I put my leg down, I felt it again, so I’ve put my leg up and it’s grabbed my leg rope and started pulling down, and my leg rope’s just started to stretch. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t know what to do. I was stressing, I was screaming at everyone, and everyone just started paddling away from me. In the moment, you just think you’re not going to come out of it alive unless you do something.”
Absolutely terrifying, especially being abandoned like that. Everyone just paddling away and not a proud day for Perth surfers except one hale friend who stuck around.
Marafioti undid his leash, swam to that friend who paddled him in on his board.
A hero though… this whole two boys, one board setup seems very dangerous, like tempting fate, but no matter. Fortune favors the bold and it favored Marafioti who added, “You can’t explain how it feels to have an animal grabbing at you. I don’t wish it on anyone.”
“Except Carole Baskin.”
Just kidding. He didn’t say that part about Carole Baskin.
Warshaw on Death of SURFER magazine: “It’s been hanging by a thread since it was sold to the owner of National Enquirer in 2019, but the clock has been ticking since Al Gore invented the internet.”
In 1972, at age 12, I wanted to grow up and be Jeff Hakman or Jerry West, flip a coin.
Instead, I grew up to be the editor of SURFER, which is one of those consolation prizes that turns out to be better than the thing you wanted in the first place.
I was hired in 1985.
Creatively speaking, the magazine was in middling-poor shape when I arrived and middling-good shape six years later when I ceremoniously turned over my half-ton avocado-green Steelcase editor’s desk to Steve Hawk, who took SURFER from middling-good to very good indeed.
It was a great place to work: part surf club, part Warhol Factory, part The Office.
I liked the people I worked with. I liked the deadline pressure and having a worthy nemesis (thank you, Surfing), and as a subscriber and fan since 1969, I liked the weight of the place — having Severson, Stoner, Kampion, and Brewer looking over my shoulder (the first three metaphorically; Art Brewer actually looked over my shoulder and froze my blood on occasion with his famous hooded-eye stare).
In other words, I was both inspired and slightly awed at being part of the sport’s oldest and best magazine. I never set foot on the SURFER premises without intending to make the new issue better than the previous one — because it was my byline on the articles and my name at the top of the masthead, yes, but also because it was fucking SURFER, Bible of the Sport, and I still hate that tagline, but if you got the gig you honored and respected and were shaped by it nonetheless.
SURFER had been hanging by a thread since it was sold to American Media (owner of National Enquirer) in early 2019, but the clock has been ticking since Al Gore invented the internet. Surf magazines will find a cozy little niche audience, like vinyl LPs, but with rare exception we’re 20 or so years removed from the day when a print article could break a story, set a tone, drive a discussion.
SURFER has long felt like a coda not just to its previous self, but to print media in general. Prodanovich said the “Covid economy” did SURFER in, but that’s not really true. The internet marched SURFER to the cliff — all the virus did was finger-push it over the edge. Digital is coming for us all, and yes I see the irony of this story appearing here.
Drew Kampion was the first SURFER writer I stole from, probably for a middle school essay, and I’ve done it ever since, right up to Sean Doherty’s recent Pipe Masters wrapup. John Witzig taught me how to come in with guns firing. Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson taught me how to come in with a smile and a bro handshake and a case of beer.
Photographer Brad Barrett (below right) and art director Hy Moore (left), the quiet duo from SURFER’s 1968-1971 High Renaissance Age, and I do mean high, remind me that some of the finest and most valuable work goes uncredited.
I never met John Severson in person, but thanks to him I know that is possible to create something that is both specific and timeless, and that you can and should develop a full quiver of media skills. We are by and large an international collection of small-bore hustlers, back-paddlers, and bad-vibers, but at some deep plasmatic level we share a bond as surfers, and this was another received bit of Severson wisdom. “I wanted everybody to feel included,” he told me in 1995 when I asked why he originally called his magazine The Surfer. “It felt like we were something we were all going to do together.”
“We’re In This Together,” incredibly, is the lone cover blurb on SURFER’s final issue, and while I am warmed by this 1960-to-2020 symmetry and full-circleness, there is no getting around the fact that, with SURFER gone, we are suddenly and probably forever less together.
Last month, Julian Wilson initiated a $US1.5 million lawsuit against Hurley for their alleged wrongful termination of his contract.
The crux of Hurley’s alleged reasoning centered on Wilson’s failure to compete in 2020. The contract had apparently entitled Hurley to reduce Wilson’s compensation if he failed to compete in at least five World Tour events in a year.
The WSL cancelled the 2020 Tour following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s unclear why Wilson dismissed the suit, as the documents filed on Wilson’s behalf are lacking any substantive information, but it’s likely that the parties settled.
Wilson’s attorneys would have likely threatened suit in the initial negotiations and he (plausibly) would have had little incentive to dismiss the suit without reaching some settlement agreement, as even the hint of litigation is substantial leverage in the U.S. (lawyers are an expensive bunch).
It’s possible that Wilson blinked first in light of a threat by Hurley (aka Bluestar Alliance) to litigate the matter to the hilt, but it seems unlikely given Wilson was represented by a high-powered legal firm specializing in media and entertainment.
Wilson and Hurley entered into the original seven-year agreement in 2014.
Then, in 2019, Hurley was purchased by Bluestar Alliance.
According to Wilson, Bluestar announced its intention to shift away from athlete sponsorships following the acquisition.
Bluestar was allegedly unhappy with many of the contracts they had acquired, “reportedly looking for loopholes in contracts. … to use as leverage to renegotiate terms.”
Wilson also alleged that Hurley had attempted to postpone his payments, telling Wilson that if he did not agree to the postponement, Hurley would face bankruptcy.
Since Bluestar’s acquisition, Hurley has culled several high-profile athletes.
Rob Machado, a Hurley sponsored surfer for twenty years, was dropped in January of this year.
John Florence left Hurley after he was reportedly offered $2 million to void the remaining $12 million left in his contract.
Carissa Moore was rumored to be in a contract dispute with Hurley earlier this year, though she still remains on the team.
Wilson is still sponsored by a myriad of brands, including Red Bull, but for now, the nose of his board looks a lot like ours.
The flouting of contracts isn’t exactly novel news for Americans (see American removal of Native Americans), but it still feels dire when corporations can essentially opt out of expensive surf sponsorships with little consequence.