it's about life - not "lifestyle"
Media Watch:
In The Surf Zone realizes that we are part of the media ourselves, yet we are hardly "the mainstream" as far as surfing goes. Our targeted readership is exactly the group not targeted (other than, perhaps, for extinction) by the heavy hitters of the surf industry and what sometimes amounts to their "trade mouthpieces". While we welcome and encourage the 12-24 year old shortboard surfers to check us out, we are assuming everybody else can call us "home".

For starters we are an on-line entity. This genre has taken some serious hits this young century, for a variety of reasons, and a lot of people don't think on-line content sites appear to be very viable. Our opinion is different. We feel that one reason many of the much-lauded DotComs of Y2k failed is that they didn't know their audience. The first faulty assumption in that direction is that the most wired-in generation is that holy grail 12-24 age group. Wrong! Sure they use email and cruise websites, but their priority is (and should be) action and fun. They as a group are going to school or going to work, and then chasing experience....either with activities or relationships. The people who spend the most time either on-line or in the proximity of computers are the people who work day after day...the grownup men and women with either long-term jobs or careers. With the right equipment and access, a surfer at work can check three bookmarked surfcams in roughly 45 seconds, giving a complete view of surf conditions within maximum driving distance at any given time. Don't think everyone isn't onto this.

In our opinion the other fault of the Y2k DotComs which failed was the notion of throwing heaps of money at something which wasn't fully understood, with no real plan of how to pay the money back, and using the models of completely dis-similar industries and activities. The business model of an advertising agency should be completely different from that of an action-sports on-line content producer. Which seems obvious now...

Magazines have weathered the on-line storm, as it were, and are back in the catbird seat. Even newspapers have throttled back on their dotcom and technology coverage. Tides shift one way, back again, and will shift again in time.  This is the natural order of things. What doesn't want to see is the arrogant application of a false viewpoint: that instead of something akin to our tidal movement analogy something more resembling a "king of the hill" approach is proclaimed. To wit: dotcoms are dead, the 6'2" thruster is still king, and anyone over 24 or not riding what is duly and dully being touted as The Best Thing Ever is a kook.

To that end is going to take an ongoing critical look at contemporary surf media. Critical means critism, both good and bad. The print media has a responsibility to surfing if they intend to claim any journalistic integrity. Perhaps our intentions may be best summed up with a quote from the one writer most admired by post-Kampion surf journalists:

"Anyway, it's good to hear you're coming back to Main Street, if only for a visit. It's a rotten place to live, but that's where they set all our prices - so we should give the bastards a whack in the kidneys from time to time, just to remind them that it's our world too."

Hunter Thompson
Letter to Ken Kesey
Simon and Schuster
(c) 2000 Gonzo International Corp.
Copyright (C) 2001. All rights reserved.
Surf Media