It's about life not "lifestyle"
Jay Reale checked in with some comments about our series "What Is Killing Bodyboarding".

"There are a lot of theories out there about our sport. Some think that bodyboarders truly want to be seperate from surfing. Some bodyboarders actually embrance the term "sponger". In fact, one of our { better-selling clothing brands is "Sponge" clothing. It's interesting that man of the bodyboarding companies imply negative connotations: Outcast wetsuits, No Friends, Rejected clothing, etc.

The sport hasn't recovered to it's "glory days" of the late 80's early 90's since the "surf" industry turned it's back on the sport in 1991. All the clothing companies turned their backs on our sport after the recession then, and haven't come back. Quik, Billabong, O'Neill ...etc., all pulled their ads from BODYBOARDING and haven't come back. Simon Ramsey has tried to get them back on board, but to no avail. That reduced ad funding to the mag, and keeps the mag small to this day.

I agree that catering to a wider demographic could help, but it's a tall order. One of the companies would have to stick their neck out to do that, and no one wants to invest the $ to chance it. I don't have answers other than one word ... "time". As the current generation of bodyboarders get older, some will stick with it, thereby increasing the numbers of older riders out there, which will force the companies to take a look at that age group.

We can only hope...


Jay Reale"
Ah, fine...finally a little dialog on the subject. To place Jay's comments in context, the recession of 1991 which he speaks of had a big effect on more than bodyboarding. It hit the whole surf industry hard, but it also hit the other outdoor sports businesses too. BODYBOARDING magazine closed down for a while. The only beach sport which seemed to enjoy growth was beach volleyball, which itself eventually fell on a sword of its own arrogance.

Rising during this period was the Cult of Slater and Friends, the ascencion of longboards, and eventually the influx of female surfers. As the U.S. economy rebounded, money and people flowed into longboarding. This pulled young women away from bodyboarding and into standup surfing. Advertising budgets targeted the growth areas. Bodyboarding has languished.

The surf clothing companies have not had to invest in the bodyboarading arena for the reasons outlined in the original series of essays. Bodyboarders are a somewhat captive audience. If the water is cold, you need a wetsuit. If you wear trunks, you can't imagine how good a pair of real surf trunks are until you bodyboard in  something designed for another activity. With many more surf magazines than in 1991, plus internet advertising or costs of having their own websites, compounded by our recent post-Sept. 11 recession, ad money is scarce and it seems many surf industry companies haven't taken out ads in
BODYBOARDING if for no other reason than they haven't had to.

The age demographic which rants about is something which could be addressed right now. While I agreee with Jay that aging crops of bodyboarders will increase the numbers of older riders, the question remains to what degree? When portrayed as nothing more than eventual wellsprings of money for their own children (see current June? BODYBOARDING), that doesn't give much motivation. My feeling is that a lot of older surfers would have much more fun riding bodyboards recreationally rather than struggling along with a longboard in surfer-choked point breaks.
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