Surfing More Than Websites

As passionate as I am about social media, I still like reading traditional media. I try and sit down for breakfast to read the weekend edition of The Globe and Mail on Sundays (and the daily edition during the week if I have time) and I love reading magazines. Especially surfing magazines.

Australian Surfing Life is probably the best one out there. Every issue comes with an amazing poster: a photo of the kind of wave that you could just mind-surf all day long. Great poster. As an added bonus, ASL also throws a DVD into the mix every month. Although the movie clips often feature a lot of product placement and advertorial content, I was happy to watch it and thought that it added a ton of value to the magazine. Every few weeks, I still watch the DVD that came with an issue I got over a year ago.

ASL also has a great website. Although much of it is Flash-based, you can still look at the current month's poster as well as a bunch of slide shows from photo shoots and poster books going back at least as far as 2006. They've got daily news and a gallery of reader-submitted photos (check it out - some of them are pretty much professional quality). Most importantly, they've also got a section with surfing forecasts. I can't really tell how accurate they are, but at least they have links to some of other major forecasting sites.

(Unfortunately, it will cost me $130 to subscribe to the magazine for a year. If anyone wants to pay for this, you can get my mailing address by sending me an email and then subscribing for me here.)

SBC Surf is another great magazine, particularly because it is Canadian and they've always got great shots of cold-water waves. Too bad it only comes out twice a year and barely has a website.

Lately I've been reading Trans World Surf. For some reason, thats the only surf magazine that my local store carries. They've got posters, but instead of sweet waves they just show pros doing huge moves. Interesting, but not when its almost the exact same photo month after month. I'm not even very inspired to visit their website.

However, I started paying more attention to some of the advertisements in this magazine and a few companies stand out for doing a particularly amazing job.

For the past few issues, it appears as if Nike has been trying to break into the surf scene with their Nike 6.0 series. While the first ad was a cool point-of-view illustration of what it looks like to take off on a wave, their more recent ad was a combination of illustration and photography. Both were very memorable, and helped set Nike apart from a whole bunch of surfing ads that are overly-busy and essentially the same (Billabong is particularly guilty of this).

Gravis also wins huge points with me for their incredibly clean, simple and otherwise beautiful ads. Unfortunately, I can't find any of them online. They'd make amazing desktop wallpapers, and I'll probably scan some in later this week if I have time.

And finally Quiksilver. While their ad in my most recent issue of Transworld Surf wasn't very impressive, I liked how it directed me to see a video of the photo sequence at an easy-to-remember url: Quicksilver/com/sushiroll. It is unfortunate that the video doesn't embed in this blog properly, but props to the Quikky web team for at least giving it a shot. And you should definitely have a look at the video - it is one of the most amazing tricks I've seen pulled off on a surf board.

On a side note, the standard Quiksilver logo is perfect. The clean, stylized picture of a wave and a mountain sums up what they are all about and the way they were able to turn it into the Roxy-heart logo is a piece of branding genius. I don't know why they had to go and start using that dirty scribble - it scared me away from buying their products on more than one occasion.

According to wikipedia, the Quiksilver logo is based on a Japanese wood-cut from 1832 called The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. You can definitely see how they came up with the wave/mountain design.