The Inertia pontificates on the deeper meaning of losing surf print
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 29 December, 2013 - Friday, December 27th, 2013: After 17 years of service, the 100th edition of The Surfer’s Path comes off the presses. When the ink dries on that last page, they will close their doors forever. Thank you, good night and fuck off.
If a surf mag falls in the age of free content does anyone care? A few apologetic emails, a note or two in the surfing press, and a couple of shrugs – those are all the memorials a defunct title is bound to get. I sure as hell wouldn’t care if I didn’t dedicate most of my time to vomiting semi coherence into the swirling abyss of action sports media. The forest of surfing publications is wide and wild but its pillars, Surfer, The Surfer’s Journal, and a few others, are still intact. Circulation –wise, influence-wise, The Surfer’s Path has been second tier for as long as I have been aware of them.
Trying to eke a living from something as fiddly as the common word is a beleaguering way to spend your days. There is a market price for oil, just as there is a price for wheat and aluminum. Words ain’t worth a damn thing, not intrinsically anyway. Photos, even less. Anyone who bases their livelihoods on something as slippery and ephemeral as these things is at least a little maladjusted.
But they are also, at best, people who believe in the essential virtue of their craft. They are people willing to forsake so many of the little perks of the modern rat race by which men and women are measured – decent wages, retirement plans, job security, a modicum of seniority in their given industries – to just, every once in a while, bring a tiny spark of knowledge into the world and share it with their fellow man.
And should they succeed, should they be so wildly successful that they run an entire magazine that people actually order to their homes and put on their night stands and coffee tables, they become heroes of sorts, at least to all of us losers who populate the shrinking netherworld of publishing. They did it. They squeezed a living out of this strange behemoth that leads most of us around in shackles and flogs us mercilessly every time we put fingers to keyboards.