Have surf magazines lost their minds?

First off, surf photographers have always been creepy people. Writers, not much better. But it seems in my years dealing with surf magazines that the people in charge are usually pretty turned on. They know how to make a very selfish sport look fun and inviting. I always looked up to the people who put together the magazines. And seeing my name in print was always the driving force for doing this job. Transiting in some overseas airport and seeing an image of mine in Surfing Magazine was such a high.

But this week scared me after I saw two things. First off, Surfing Magazine published a photo of a skim boarder. I know there’s a lot of crazy things happening in this world but I never thought Surfing Magazine, the leaders in performance surfing, would ever run a photo of someone skim-boarding. They don’t even run photos of people long-boarding; Joel Tudor can attest to that. But I can live with that one. Maybe they’re changing their look.

What I can’t live with is something Surfer Magazine did. First I saw a great photo that Ryan “Chachi” Craig took in Santa Cruz of Nat Young bottom turning at The Lane. He posted it on his social media and I thought, “Damn, I would have saved that for print.”

The next day Nat reposted it on his social media.

Then 12 hours after that, Surfer Magazine re-reposted the photo.

Now most of you might be thinking right now, “Who fucking cares?” But to me this is crazy. What happened to the surf magazines? Surfer Magazine is the bible of the sport! They should be publishing photos that no one has seen before, not re-reposting. Their staff photographers (Chachi is on staff) should be submitting images and not letting anyone else see them first. A+ photos should still be saved for print before posting on social media. Surf magazines should matter!

Critics will say I’m too old (34) and out of touch with the way things are these days. And I am. I hate Instagram. I haven’t had Facebook in 5 years. Never had Twitter. I’m NOT doing this job for people to see my images on a little screen. I’m not doing this job to get more followers. I’m doing this job because I still get that high when I see and hold and smell a magazine that has my image in it. So I’d like for the magazines out there to put their foot down and demand respect from photographers. Set an example and make magazines king again! —Nate Lawrence

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