It's about life - not "lifestyle"
I have heard from some readers concerning the now-confirmed folding of BODYBOARDING magazine, and the verdict seems to be strangely ambivilent. Some seem to care, and some seem not to. Some even think this writer has been overtly working to make it happen.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, I've taken a lot of shots at BODYBOARDING, but you can go back and look at them and I think fairly see that they were done in the spirit of constructive criticism. Hell, I used to contribute to BODYBOARDING back during its first publishing run. I took great exception to several editorial/publishing choices, however, which I thought was not only hurting bodyboarding as a sport but the magazine as well. I know full well that without BODYBOARDING magazine there won't be a U.S. based print outlet for anything which doesn't involve standing on a surfboard just like literally millions of other people the world over.

During some email exchanges with Simon Ramsey of SURFING/BODYBOARDING, which took place early last summer after publication of our "What Is Killing Bodyboarding" series, Ramsey told me I wouldn't believe the quality of photos they have in their files which they had no room to run. I'm on record about what they did run - amazing photos, total capture of moments even the rider wouldn't have had time to appreciate or fully see. I never questioned the commitment of the people who put the magazine out, or their technical expertise.

What I did think was appalling was demographic targeting. Neither Ramsey nor Manny Vargas (nice timing on the pullout, Manny) gave me any reason to think that the (predominately) standup surfers running the surf mag publishing goliath were deliberately hosing BODYBOARDING in any manner, but a lot of readers and bodyboarders who posted on in internet seemed to suggest this. My guess, and it's nothing more than that, is that BODYBOARDING was simply a bastard stepchild with waning financial promise. With failing finances there would be pressure to to more with less, hastening the destruction.

With the departure of Vargas, leaving with two of the better issues under his editorship, I suspected the status quo was all we could hope for. Check the archives here: I've left BODYBOARDING alone since then.

A post mortem? Not necessary. Go read my individual issue reviews and some of the other bodyboarding things here on For those of you who don't want to go back, I'll just say in the end BODYBOARDING wasn't really journalism and wasn't really art or literature. It was reduced to being just another product. Certainly there are talented bodyboarders, writers, photographers, and magazine production people out there...hells bells...
in their offices. It isn't the business of the advertisors to dictate editorial content, so I can't see there having been some sinister "industry secret agenda" which controlled the overall attitude. It comes down to having been a "vision thing", and I don't think the magazine has been accurately reflecting the sport in all it's facets. Because of that, once the interests of bodyboarders grows beyond the 19 year old pro want-to-be fixation, they forced their own readership to move along elsewhere.

In a Los Angeles Times column by John Balzar called "Heart Of Understanding", run on November 6, 2002, Balzar had some things to say about literature and it's place in society. His comments, and those of others quoted in his article, might give some perspective to the surf media issues. Substitute the surf magazine title of your choice for "literature" or "book".

"You don't have to be stuffy about it, but a challenging book refutes all that is wrong with television and TV-driven public affairs. Just the effort of reading such a book recalibrates our perspectives, just as a stroll through a quiet forest invites reflection in ways that speeding by in a car cannot. At the very least, a preparatory dose of good literature before we speak our minds might restore some depth and add a touch of grace to our civic disagreements."
-John Balzar

Literature," said Ezra Pound, "is news that stays news."

"Literature exists for the sake of the people - to refresh the weary, to console the sad, to hearten the dull and downcast, to increase man's interest in the world, his joy of living and sympathy in all sorts of conditions of man,"
wrote Judge Martin Manton, defending the novel "Ulysses" against it's banning in 1934.

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