It's about life - not "lifestyle"
|WHAT IS KILLING BODYBOARDING
(NO LOSS? YOU WANT THEM ALL ON LONGBOARDS AT YOUR BEACH?)
|We have long heard that in terms of numbers bodyboarding is the most popular form of wave riding, but given the exception of Mike Stewart and a realitive handful of others plastered all over the bodyboarding-specific magazines, the performance level normally seen may seem rudimentary at best. At worst, the staggering figures may be seen to represent once-a-year tourists and rank beginners, and therefore not "worthy" of examination or even acknowledgement.
The potentiality of bodyboarding providing a huge market for acessories hasn't interested the surfwear industry to any great extent. Underlying this is the unacknowledged fact that surfing is surfing, no matter how you do it. Bodyboarders, more than standup surfers, can't wear non-surf trunks. With their waistlines frequently immersed or ripping through the water, an elastic waistband or, horror or horrors, pockets are recipe for disaster. Bodyboarders are a captive audience for trunks and wetsuits, so there is no need to market to them. No industry support to speak of means less publicity, which (sadly) means less of a culture has sprung up around bodyboarding.
The bodyboarding magazines have pretty much dropped the ball here . On this I can only speak about BODYBOARDING and RIPTIDE, the two major English language titles readily available in the U.S. Bodyboarding is a 30 year old sport, and BODYBOARDING has been around in one status or another for something like 15 years or so as of this 2002 writing. Enough has transpired to have created some kind of history, but that history has basically been reduced to Tom Morey and the handful of Original Guys from Sandy Beach...basically all of whom first made their marks in the 1970's near the inception of bodyboarding.
Certainly there have been performance barriers broken, and new practitioners pushing the outer limits of the sport, but it would be hard to tell that if you grabbed a copy of the latest issue of either of the previously mentioned magazines. In fact, Mike Stewart just left full-time bodyboarding competition in the last year or so - and pretty much at the top of his game then! The current crop of hot guys perhaps nudged him in that direction; no question about their abilities. The thing is they aren't part of history yet. They are the present and the immediate future.
The main problem, which they probably don't themselves see as a problem, is the way the magazines present bodyboarding. They assume the voice of "the sport", which is understandable, but try to sell it like pro standup surfing. In the past there has been contest coverage in BODYBOARDING which featured photos of the contest venue showing a foggy day with fewer people than would slow to watch somebody change a tire on an L.A. freeway.
Since pro contests are mostly of interest to younger people, this would seem like a natural for the magazines. To focus on the U.S. and BODYBOARDING, this came with what seems to be inarguably a target audience demographic of 12 to 19 year old boys. This has only solidified in recent years. Blazing new trails in surf journalism with features like "Surf Shop Hotties", right in there with reviews of surf shoes, PS2 games, and the latest rap related music, BODYBOARDING really shows what core is all about.
Unfortunately, and despite the mind-blasting photographs which usually accompnay every issue, the core of bodyboarding as presented by BODYBOARDING Magazine doesn't seem to be about riding waves.
|Copyright (C) 2002. All rights reserved.
|A SEVEN PAGE SPECIAL REPORT|