i like Surfing and Surfer's Journal. Surfing is more mainstream/"modern", and Surfer's Journal has longer more sophisticated articles. They're very different but I get enjoyment reading both of them. Transworld is geared more towards kids, although there's some pretty cool stuff in there too. Surfer is nice because its basically a mix between Surfing and Surfer's Journal, probably closer to Surfing. The three you named are fairly similar though so its really just preference.
what about Waves, Stab, and Water? Waves and Stab are Australian but you can also get them here, i read their websites all the time and they are a lot better. i just to love transworld but now i like surfer and surfing more
surfer's journal is, IMO, far & away the best mag out there. surfer's path is another good one. ESM is great for local/east coast stuff. surfer would have my vote as the "best" of the big 3- surfer, surfing, & transworld. my main issue (no pun intended) w/ those 3 is that i surpassed their reading level around the time i was about 10 years old. good pics & useful if i'm trying to keep up w/ what's going on in pro-land. i feel as though stab is less about the surfing & more about the controversy. maybe that's just the aussie way of doing things, but i get the impression that it's a kind of surfy tabloid.