It's about life - not "lifestyle"
|Among a variety of complaints about the surf media reviews which appear infrequently in vagabondsurf.com are ones which point out that SURFER and LONGBOARD don't get any scrutiny. Astute readers know they do get mentioned in articles, but it does seem that the titles put out by the group who bring us SURFING get more than their fair share of attention here.
Not so, I would counter. Every bit they do get is fair. But the others should get theirs, too. The problem is that the American surf media is such a closed in little world. SURFING now owns SURFER, and after the initial burst of coverage of this you don't hear word one about it anymore unless SURF NEWS still covers it (I haven't seen a SURF NEWS in months - must be doing well). This closeness has resulted in a glut of magazines which all seem familar, if not the same. When vagabondsurf.com was founded one of our goals was to read and review every issue of every U.S. surf magazine and post it. As this duty started descending onto one person, and that person became me, a disturbing picture developed: it was all boring as hell. The two exceptions are SURFER'S JOURNAL (every issue good, some more so than others) and LONGBOARD.
LONGBOARD, the brainchild of artful surf lensman Guy Motil, has managed to create and maintain itself as a venue for longboard surfing, history, journalism, photography, art, commerce, and contest coverage. Truthfully, it was the survivor from the initial burst of public popularity of the longboard resurgance and as such has been able to ride a wave of success. On it's own merits, however, it has managed to provide balanced, realistic coverage of all aspects (yes, including the women) of the surfing experience plus the best coverage of the hybrid/funboard realm, the Joel Tudor Experience (without going overboard), and the Jekyl/Hyde of longboarding - traditional vs. modern riding and equipment.
If you relied on SURFER or SURFING you would think all longboards were logs for old geezers and Tudor was a more a performing monkey rather than one of perhaps three most influential surfers of the 1990's.
This isn't a review of one specific issue. At $7 a pop on the newstand it is second only to SURFER'S JOURNAL in price here, and I haven't even picked up a longboard in two years. I've been through longboarding twice, really, and I don't see it coming back again for me anytime soon. I'm into the midrange thing, the hybrid, and although I seem to be excited about looking into a long singe fin for summer 2002, it won't be more than 8 feet long if I do. The thing which keeps me reading LONGBOARD is the style. It's the magazine which seems to speak both for and to me. It is surfing in a happier time, when things were more inclusive rather than exclusive. The photographs never seem to be of sponsor logos. There is perspective to both the photos and the articles.
Regardless of your surfing equipment preference, this is a good magazine to be aware of.
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