Come for Warshaw’s sizzling prose; stay and save surf culture from the Great VAL replacement…
I’ll begin this story with an obscenity: the surf historian Matt Warshaw, sixty years old, earns twenty-five thousand dollars a year as the custodian of the sport’s entire media catalogue.
Ain’t it crazy?
Earlier today I asked Warshaw, if he ever dreamed that, one day, he’d be earning the majestic sum of twenty-five thousand dollars a year.
Warshaw, whose brow is marked by a thousand anxieties, is, necessarily I think, good humoured about his modest stipend.
“Last week I was trying to figure out if I’m earning more now, at 60, then when I was a 25-year-old sub-editor at SURFER,” he said. “Same pay in terms of dollars, but adjust for cost of living and I’m way down in 2020. That’s okay. Jeff Bezos pays (wife) Jodi, she lets me do EOS, I take our kid to all his orthodontic appointments, and let’s call it even.”
Now, seeking funds to expand the reach of the Encyclopedia of Surfing, he’s asking for a little help.
The EOS 2020 fundraiser is 100% dedicated to raising money to buy more work hours. The site should be growing faster. Just look at the Surfboards section. Seven boards posted so far. There should be 100 on there by now, and more added weekly. The Contest section is way behind too, and I know a lot of you aren’t into competition but if you open those pages you will find some amazing little time capsules. (Try the 1959 Makaha Championships, and don’t forget to hit play on the video clip.)
Finally, there is a staggering amount of material—magazines, books, movies, video, photos, and more—that needs to be collected, digitized, archived, and databased. This is a project unto itself. Ultimately, in fact, it is the most important part of the EOS mission. A huge number of surf movies and videos are yet digitized, for example, and will vanish forever if we don’t grab ’em. SURFER and Surfing magazines, and dozens of other titles, have not yet been scanned. This is the tedious but incredibly necessary work that will continue long after I hit “send” on my final Joint, and the more we get done now, the better.
So let’s raise 30K. EOS needs another pair of hands. Two pair would be even better. I’d like a small raise, too, if I’m being honest.
When I asked Warshaw what satisfaction the site gave him, he said,
“It’s like moving into a house and figuring out where all the furniture and art goes. You like doing that or you don’t. I love it. Although I don’t expect anybody to understand how or why the job is as satisfying as it is. My first date with Jodi, we were walking to Cafe Claude for lunch and I was going on and on about databasing, as I’d gotten on top of Filemaker Pro, which means you’ve defeated the First Boss in the surf history game. We got past that very awkward moment, had lunch, and got married.”