It's about life - not "lifestyle"
What we have in this issue is one of the finest articles ever to appear in the surf genre magazines. I'm speaking of the Andrew Kidman interview of Derek Hynd.

I almost feel badly about putting The Surfer's Journal into the surf genre magazine catagory. It has, since its inception, been far and away the best magazine about surfing ever produced. It has an advantage having been created as surfing approached adulthood; Surfer during its first two decades, for instance, was truly peer reporting on the young sport and many of the legendary and influential people now spotlighted in various ways in TSJ and Longboard were still at or near the height of their abilities. Other magazines have had good periods as well, but if you stand current copies of all the U.S. magazines side by side I'm saying TSJ is the meat and most of the rest are the wrapping.

The recent death of Miki Dora truly marks the end of an era in surfing. I spent some time in Malibu during the 70's, and every time somebody farted it was called the end of an era. Malibu, like Waikiki, was one of the first places to suffer catastrophic loss from popularity - a veritable Drama Queen of surf history. It is my theory that the passing of Dora from natural causes marks surfings passage from being a youthful sport into at least adulthood; it is no longer a young sport. Loss may happen in a variety of ways, but what loss usually brings is perspective.

Perspective is what surfer/writer/thinker Derek Hynd has made something of a stock and trade in. It makes him unique in surfing if for no other reason than he has been very successful in publishing large expressions of his perspective within the surf press. His yearly take on the top 44 competitors on the pro tour was probably the most anticipated article in Surfer each year among the pretenders and contenders alike, and no doubt a lot of money changed hands (or vanished) as a result of his assessments. References to Hynd were always a bit mystic: a university economics degree; horrible eye accident during a pro contest heat in South Africa; mad drive across Europe to visit the former abode of Vlad the Impaler;  eccentric house in Jeffrey's Bay; bizzarre retro surfboard design assessment period. Vague statements gave a whiff of madness.

Kidman's interview frees Hynd of having really any commercial restrictions on what he wanted to express, and perhaps this is why this article is so special. It is perhaps the finest look at surfing from the end of the 60's to the present day, made from a lot of firsthand experience, from an intergal figure in pro surfing through many eras who appears to have remained or regained a first class soul/recreation surfer status.

Steve Pezman, TSJ founder, has this to say in the liner notes:

"Derek's intelligent passion for surfing runs so deep that when his focus is set on "decode" his resultant spew is almost uncomfortably dense and rich."

This is gospel truth; the interview reads like a Tom Robbins novel. In the end of the first reading I was amazed by the review of surfboard design I'd just read. Subsequent reading have left me pondering other aspects. What I'm thinking now, after several readings over several days, is that Hynd has managed to maintain focus on the actual act of surfing. This interview has so much concerning surfboard design, which is actually about surfing. Think about it. Most surf shops have perhaps less than 25% - one quarter of their floor space - devoted to surfboards and wetsuits. Everything else is fairly unrelated to actually riding a wave. For someone who has made his living out of surfing and the pro surfing environment to have this kind of clarity is a testament to stong character and mind.

The Surfer's Journal, Volume eleven, Number one, is for sale in February and March 2002. It is especially worthy reading this month.

Surf Media
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