it's about life - not "lifestyle"
      Aug./Sept. 2001     
    It's hard to review an issue of Primedia semi-stalwart BODYBOARDING Magazine without reviewing the current state of bodyboarding and the "bodyboarding industry" at least here in the U.S.A., so closely ar the two intertwined.

     Let it suffice to say that we here at are already on record as saying that bodyboarding was the cutting edge in wave-riding for much of the 1990's. This fact is eclipsed by the huge quantity of money pumped into the regular surf industry by the re-emergence of longboarding and the viral proliferation of chicks taking up stand-up surfing (longboards factor in here too).

     One would think bodyboarding to be the sole province of clueless Mid-Western tourists or strange water-gimps if mainstream surf media were to go unchallenged. Even the Bluetorch television program seems to have dropped bodyboarding coverage (Leeann doesn't have the build for it?).

     This  BODYBOARDING, in shops and on the newstand in May and June, is the key summer issue. We'd take a close critical look at the content, but there really isn't much. This is the 2001 Gear Guide issue, but if you compare it to any Gear Guide issue from the past several years (as we did) you won't see much difference in either the equipment or magazine. It's mostly a picture book and most pictures are taken on the North Shore of Oahu.

     How can something so radical come across as shallow, mundane, and repetitive? Our opinion is it is the absolute insistence on pandering to the targeted 12-19 year old age group demographic. It is a closed system.

     In nature a closed system stays healthy as long as it stays balanced, which means stabilized. This isn't going to happen with bodyboarding because the participants invariably turn 20 sometime and most move on or out of wave riding. New people come in, and what is the same old stuff to someone with 7 years of experience is still new and exciting, so not much changes. The pressure of all the new standup surfers on surf spots also changes the aquatic dynamics.

     While BODYBOARDING has made what we think is a good move in hiring former pro rider Manny Vargas as editor, to date his personality hasn't really had a chance to show in the editorial content. Without this magazine we'd have to think bodyboarding as a sport could be headed the way of serious bodysurfing or even kneeboarding. Plenty of people are rooting for just such an end. However, as BODYBOARDING (and the bodyboarding "industry") currently exists, it's mostly a rubber bone for starving surf dogs.

Copyright (C) 2001. All rights reserved.
Surf Media