We begged, pleaded and rallied.
We asked for it, and boy, are we getting it. We begged, pleaded and rallied. We wanted things to evolve. Progress! Change! And as the calendar clicks through 2010, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. It’s getting weird out there. The World Tour’s looking fresh. Kelly Slater lost to Jordy. Taj Burrow is winning contests back-to-back-to-back. Dane is surfing heats like a schizophrenic. The New York Times is claiming airs are the shit. Everything is turning upside down and inside out, and we think that’s just great.
We don’t even mind some of the headaches that come with a little change. After smiling my way through early 2010, surfing enough to stay tan and stoked through the pale weeks of January and February, it’s all starting to catch up with me, like a hangover from the funnest night of my life. The sandbar at my favorite spot has been bludgeoned into submission by incessant swell, and now it’s too deep to break. My quiver is all creased and buckled from too many hard landings. My tan may in fact be malignant. Right now I sit writing to you amid piled boxes and decades of surf culture artifacts on the eve of moving the SURFING Magazine headquarters to a new building that resembles Initech — not the Tecate-fueled art warehouse we’ve come to know and love. The honeymoon couldn’t last forever; it’s catching up with us, all at once. Change giveth the fun, and change taketh away. But you know what? We’re going to be just fine.
Besides, change makes for good magazine making. This month, we decided to tail World Tour rookies Dusty Payne and Owen Wright for the 24 hours leading up to the biggest heats of their young careers, documenting how each one dealt with the change. We also got a glimpse of the fab life led by Kolohe Andino — sure to become an MTV series by year’s end. Kolohe kicked off 2010 by penning a deal with some big-time companies (Red Bull, Nike 6.0, Target, Skull Candy and Oakley — maybe you’ve heard of them?), earning himself the tag “Corpo Andino” within about an hour of signing. And while Kolohe faces peculiar challenges, scrutiny from his buddies and a whole lotta hype, we think he’s just the kid to handle it. The way we see it, Kolohe is surfing’s ticket to the head table. We may finally have a legit poster boy (and cover boy) in the mainstream world to represent surfing. One who shows the masses that we’re not all still living in our vans down by the river. He may carry our banner as a world-class athlete, and an intelligent one, and an interesting human. And maybe — just maybe — we can shake McConaughey and the gaggle of hippies who drag our name through the mud year after year. And that’s change we can believe in.
Perhaps we’re waxing too proud; perhaps surfing doesn’t need to be viewed any differently. But if I have to hear that same, rehearsed post-heat interview again, or watch some duuuuuude faux-fade his way through a stilted soul-arch, or turn on the TV and see a celebrity describe his brush with death while stand-up paddling at Malibu, I’m buying a tennis racket. —Travis Ferré