Listen I just got on here last Thursday. I joined a few months ago but never got on the message boards until last week. Most people don't like me, and that's ok. (Cue the violin music) I'm just trying to hold my head up and everyone's thrashing at me and trying to harsh my dreams mellow. Jesus will get you some day. That's all I can say.
Anyways, back in the day surf mags where pretty darn good.......Dave Paramenter(THE FRICKING MAN), the George Bros, Derek Hynd, Steve Barillotti....and some others did fine jobs of capturing the feels and essence of this adventure we used to call surfing. The pros were a more eccentric bunch than the modern day cookie-cutter pro who don't have much going on upstairs...The mags took us places...places we were never going to get to. And the mandatory pro coverage wasn't so bad because the pros were kind of interesting back then. No Damien Hardman's or Rod Kerr's vomiting on each other on airplanes passed out dead, these days......
Nowadays the surf mags are run by dudes with strange names and I reckon are a microcosm of the times with inarticulate fluff maquerading as surf articles. Now, in fairness I haven't read SurfER, in a while, which is odd because it was my fav. But the other two, TWS and 'ING, I read frequently. And yes I know about Surfers Journal, which I for some reason, just don't get to too often.
Are surf mags just a sign of the times......orienated to people of low intelligence, with short, technology-influenced, attention spans. Travel articles used to take the reader along, and that just doesn't happen anymore. And the idol worship.......man the idol worship. Surfing was never supposed to be about idol/celebrity worship. Never, man....GAWD.
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What's happened to the state of the surf magazine?
Last edited by SouthjettyBill; Jan 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM.
Jan 20, 2012, 10:09 PM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
- http://kehayaphoto.com http://www.southendsurf.com/
I think as surfing has grown in popularity the average reader has changed. The big magazines all represent an effort to attract as many of those people as they can. So yes they are sort of an example of the times in a sense, but they are also a business. Surfers are a diverse group of people with many differing lifstyles.
I feel like for the originators of surf magazines and surf enthusiasts, surfing started out as a lifestlye all its own. for most people who surf now it's just a part of their lifestyle. There are plenty of landlocked people who are surfers. They buy the clothes, the equipment, the magazines, and eveything just like people on the coast do. The mags have to cater to these people too because they are part of the market. Anyways that's just one example but you basically would want to figure out what strategy will get you the most readers and subscribers if you really want to be successful.
The other alternative is to be like surfers jornal and have a high cost so you can still run a business, pay the bills, and put out the product that a small group of people enjoy. Less demand, higher price.
Anyways not sure I can comment on Pro surfers being idols or anything. I have always kinda seen them as normal people like anyone.
As for cookie cutter I think as professional surfers start to realize the benefits of taking competition very seriously (and the best ones do) it all becomes more cookie cutter. A pro athlete has to make many difficult lifestyle choices from what they eat, to exercise, to partying, to public relations stuff (saying the right thing etc, developing an image, promoting sponsors, YES, actually working all the time because being a professional surfer is a JOB.) to also working on specific skills that will be the most appealing to judges. So what you get are some people who do it better than others and win. Then everyone else sees what it takes to win and trys to adapt. Sure there is innovation, but that takes time. It has become formulaic and therefore cookie cutter because one has to in order to be any good. I think this will mean that as surfing progresses style and innovation will start to count for much more than whatever is established as neccessary: things like good barrel skills, turns, airs, etc will still be around but, it will be more about taking risks and doing it with your own flavor. People will borrow training tactics from other sports and adapt them to surfing to get an edge on the other pros. Obiously this is all about competative surfing.
As for the pros who don't compete I think it's even tougher and you have to in some sense work harder, not really fitness wise though depending on what you chose. Obviously big wave surfers have to be pretty fit, but guys who just surf every day are probably fit enough for other pro free surfing adventures. You have to make a name and keep yourself out there in the public eye however you can. You can't rely on an organised competative circuit to do it. Those guys need the mags, videos, sponsor events, and probably have to adapt themselves to keep interest... to be relivant. There are tons of people who are awesome surfers but are not pro free surfers. Ask yourself what's the difference between them?
ok well i'm done for now haha.
ANother thing about pro surfing and the media.......The mags hide and keep secret everyone's dirty laundry. If you are a movie star or mainstream pro athlete any thing you get caught doing is fair game. But all the surf companies hold the surf media hostage when it comes to their darling boys.
Kelly Slater is the best surfer right. But the surf media potrays him as this renaissance man who can do ANYTHING. Kelly Slater is not an intellectual. He's not Beethoven. He's not Einstein. He's not Tiger Woods. He surfs better than anyone but that is it. He is so like Michael Jordon. They hide all their dark secrets and try and potray these guys as Supermen in all that is life. They go well beyond each person's respected talents and try to make these Jesus-like idols out of them. For instance, both of them shaved their heads when they started losing their hair. Why? Because it represents a FLAW.......and these guys are above having flaws........Perfection, man. They are the living embodiments of perfection....or so their sponsors try and reflect.
Jan 20, 2012, 10:30 PM #4
bill, part of it is the fact that you are CHOOSING to read the 2 surf mags out there w/ the lowest IQ & the lowest number of actual words per issue! of the "big 3", 'er is probably my favorite, followed by 'ing & tws in third. my favorite is, without question, the journal. another that's right up there is the surfer's path. it's a euro mag, but we can find here in the states from time to time at borders or a few surf shops.
as for the "cookie cutter pros", i think it's already been nailed on the head: surfing has become much more mainstream & much more serious business. it's also less socially acceptable, even in surfing, to be a falling down, puking idiot. (look at my word choice there...unconsciously i reflected the social stigma.) surfer's are ROLE MODELS now! no one wants there kid looking up to someone who gets stoned or trips out before going to "work". & the sponsors don't want their riders doing that b/c that sort of behavior will reflect poorly on the company.
i also think there's a certain amount of misguided nostalgia in your post, bill. i've seen some old surf mags, & yea...they were cool. but the writing wasn't all that great...lots of slang, just like today's mags. lots of pseudo-transcendental "experiences"...not so like today's mags, but not as much as you might think. it's just gone about in a different way.
so have the mainstream surf mags gone downhill since their inception? most likely. but not as much as you'd like to think. keep in mind that surf marketing caters to the youth demographic: 12-25 year olds, mostly males. isn't it possible that you're just out of step w/ that age group? i know that i sure am. that process began as soon as i surpassed a 7th grade reading level. there's still great surf journalism happening out there. it's just a little harder to find.
Jan 20, 2012, 10:38 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2008
back to the mags...yes,they used to be awesome and now they are garbage.even the much-heralded surfer's journal is getting progressively worse in recent years.
Jan 20, 2012, 11:03 PM #6
I see your from OC. My condolensces. The last few times I went there, were days of marginal surf during the winter( a few years back). Every jetty had a pack on it. Wow.........I feel for y'all. I could go for some Mancos and Mancos though.....where the heck did Mack go......Dang man, I used to be all over the place now I'm stuck. What is going wrong with this world !! HAHA. Thanks for your feedback, sir.
Jan 21, 2012, 12:24 AM #9Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
- North Shore, Kaua'i
didn't you boys get the memo... it's not about surfing...it's about selling Copy! Some of these bozo's have never been close to a beach, let along been out in the ocean... it's all about selling advertisements & the almighty $$$$$.
quik, billabong, patagonia... sell! sell! sell! it ain't about what you like or enjoy...it's about the company's bottom line.
Jan 21, 2012, 12:26 AM #10Senior Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
Surfer Magazine was incredible when Steve Hawk was editor... circa 96 or so. He had guest editors once or twice a year. Once it was Curren (wish I still had that issue), another time Sunny Garcia. He still writes for them occasionally and it's always the best piece in the mag. When Hawk was in charge it truly was the bible of the sport and I frothed over every issue. Now... I can take the surfing mags, or I can leave them. Mostly leave them.