The Grams and the Death of “Surfer”
Evidently Omar (and he’s not the only one) has been posting photos and videos of surfing on the Strait of Juan de Fuca on his Instagram account (feed, site, whatever). Reggie showed me one of these, on his phone, and it wasn’t the kind of deal that would make most surfers go, “Cowa-who-ow-bunga! Got to get me some of those tiny, choppy, how does anyone even stand up on something that tiny waves.”
Still, it’s an argument that’s been going on for more than the sixty years “Surfer” magazine has been around: Publicizing the sexy-fun that surfing can be, glamorizing surfers and surf locations; building and/or playing upon the lusts that each of us… wait a minute; if you don’t have the lusts, stop reading… anyway; doesn’t the spreading of the word only bring more kooks and crazies and crowds and such to our beloved sport/lifestyle?
Or one could blame Gidget (book and movies and TV show), “Beach Blanket” movies, “Endless Summer,” “PoInt Break,” (original and remake), countless TV ads that just have to include surfing; the easiest, prettiest metaphor for freedom and individualism while driving this specific car or while wearing that wristwatch or popping this medicine (some side effects- consult your physician).
Well; and I learned that “Surfer” was closing up shop by checking in on the World Surf League (WSL) site, bookmarked to my phone and my tablet and my laptop. With the Corona (the virus, not the beer- they are WSL sponsors) causing the cancellation of the tour, I haven’t been following too closely of late; and the last time I did, I had to endure a live heat with Steph losing to Tyler in an event in Australia (late night our time). And then, this time, there’s Chris Cote’, not my favorite commentator, on a weekly wrap-up, and, sure enough, three-quarters of the way through, Chris is remote interviewing “Surfer” editor Todd Prodanovich, and, sure enough, it’s over.
HERE’S A (if not the) THING: If you are new to surfing, meaning you started some time in the, let’s say, most recent twenty-five years or so, you (we) have Youtube, multiple sites where you (we) can get a surf fix between sessions; some possible outlet for your (my- I don’t really care about your) surf lust. Sure. Fine; so maybe having, holding, studying, memorizing a glossy magazine that showed images and stories of surfers finding and riding beautiful waves, that contained the latest contest results, had illustrated stories and cartoons; if it doesn’t mean that much to you, you can, perhaps, appreciate that it did mean so much to those of us who started surfing; maybe post-Gidget, but years before whatever period we’re in now; the “hey, the forecast said there were going to be waves, and three people called me and said it’s cranking, so how come no waves, and why’s it so crowded, and could you please move that piece of shit Toyota so I can park my Sprinter” era.
“Surfer” was art and literature and poetry, as well as providing the latest surfboard design and tips on surfing (example: How to do a rollercoaster, sequence with David Nuuhiwa). Ron Stoner captured the color and the feel that was the dream if not the reality, as John Severson had done before him. Rick Griffin illustrations went from cartoon to cosmic art. It’s impossible to look at my drawings without seeing the influence. Drew Kampion and those who came after him were our Hunter S. Thompsons, our Tom Wolfes, cutting edge, new age writers. Maybe not yours. Definitely mine.
Tragic loss. I better bundle up my old issues. Things tend to get moldy in the northwest.
I SHOULD ADD that you see (have to endure) ads at realsurfers.net because I have the cheap WordPress account. I have, so far, received no monetary compensation. Yeah, it shows. Funny. And yet, like Omar (and not just him), I keep checking how many people check out my site. Weird.
MEANWHILE, it seems interesting to me that the Trumpster lied about his weight by 101 pounds. Now, I might lie a couple; ten, maybe; but realizing that the lying liar actually weighs considerably more than I do… great. I mean, really; if I tried to say I weigh, like, say, 185 (please don’t add 101 pounds to this); okay, even if I said I weigh 220, someone’s going to call bullshit. It’s just such an obvious lie. AND, once you’re a liar, you’re always a liar. AND, if you’ve always been a liar; and you can’t even admit to having ever lied… well; ballots are coming out and I’m thinking I probably won’t vote for that heavyweight liar.
OKAY, caught me; I was never going to vote for that, um, uh, guy.