Surfing is an activity, a lifestyle, for the perpetually young and not the perpetually young at heart. Young at heart means old in life. Surfing is not for the old. And neither is the new collaborative project What Youth. Ex-SURFING Magazine editor-in-chief Travis Ferré started the venture with ex-managing editor Stuart Cornuelle, ex-associate art director Scott Chenoweth and Kai Neville, who is certainly some depressed young woman’s ex-boyfriend. They seek to carve out a hip niche with pictures, stories and videos. They seek to make a splash that the youth understands and resonates with. It can be difficult, even exhausting, to be hip, perpetually young, and these guys do it. But why? Youth is wasted on the young, they say, but Travis Ferré explains his motivation here.
TRAVIS: Being editor of SURFING, this legendary powerhouse, was what I always wanted to do, so to walk away from it was strange, but I knew it was the right time. Nick Carroll always told me that SURFING is the mag that evolves and it should always be taking risks. It’s restless. And we were restless. Our time at SURFING will always feel totally positive. So much rad stuff happened there. But it was time to move on and that spirit, that restless vibe, gave us the confidence to take the next step.
What Youth will be a lot of things, but right now it will be a website that offers a daily content piece, a surf edit from Kai and our team or something cultural we find interesting. Something that stokes you out for the day. Lots of video. We’ll be making a quarterly print piece that will feature the photography from our gallivanting around the globe. Action shots, portraits, fashion, snapshots from the surfers, girls — really anything we’re intrigued or fascinated by.
We’re really removing ourselves from the news cycle. We’re putting all our energy toward documenting what’s going on along the road, in communities, on trips — the culture of youth and surfing. Most of the news in surf is documented so well already that no one needs us to be another news agent. We want to work more like a studio or maybe a production house.
The raddest part of this whole experience has been seeing something go from zero to something that exists. It was literally four dudes leaving their jobs and meeting in my living room hungover on a Saturday trying to build something from the ground up into a vision of what surfing represents to us. Something we feel will get people psyched and inspired and happy to live this lifestyle, and motivated to bring that inspiration to their own lives.