surfer approved

John Severson’s Work Ethic

A tribute to SURFER Mag's founder, who worked his way to a dream job

| posted on July 17, 2013
What it looked like to be a surf editor before the Internet existed.

What it looked like to be a surf editor before the Internet existed.

“He limits his time at the office to a casual three hours a day.” [ed. note: while wearing flip flops] —LIFE magazine profile of Severson, September 9, 1966

“We could be in the middle of putting out the magazine, but if someone 
said the surf is up, this place would be deserted in five minutes.” -Severson

This is how it’s supposed to be. Any job with the word “surf” in the description—especially founder, editor, and publisher of SURFER Magazine—ought to allow a three-hour workday, the wearing of flip-flops and trunks at work, and a chance to escape the office when T-Street is firing. Severson had his priorities straight, opting to work just hard enough to give himself plenty of time for surf, family, golf, and painting. Then he sold the business and moved to Maui when it all became too hectic. And he still managed to essentially invent the surf media industry. Here’s to you and your sane approach to work and life, John Severson. SURFER approves. Still.