So Long And Thanks for All The Shoes

| posted on March 30, 2010
A fitting end. Photo: Todd Glaser

A fitting end. Photo: Todd Glaser

At the beginning of each issue of SURFER Magazine (after an average of five advertisements, a table of contents, and a gorgeous surf shot known as Taking Off), you will find a Letter from the Editor. This letter contextualizes the whole issue; it sets the tone for the pages and concepts that follow, and I’ve always envied the gravitas of that page. It presents a shining opportunity to put things in perspective.

Unfortunately, web sites don’t always lend themselves to that clarity of thought. Sometimes they do. But ultimately, I can’t imagine projecting expectations upon our viewers at the beginning of each day, because, the fact is, aside from a skeleton calendar of serial content that we’re really proud of (think Opinion and Portfolio Series), we don’t know what’s in store. A web site is a living, breathing entity. It acquires new meaning with every innocuous comment and event that comes with the passage of time. So instead, we ambulance-chase, attempting to make sense of stories as they happen, hoping they’re treated with the respect and consideration that 350,000 sets of eyeballs deserve.

At times we succeed. Other times we fail. But we try very hard. And you (the readers) make it quite clear to us when we’ve faltered – so when we crash and burn, we lick our wounds and think twice before repeating the same mistakes.

During my tenure at the helm of over the past three years, I have thoroughly enjoyed those moments (both good and bad), and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have negotiated the rocky transition that every print-based publication in the world presently confronts. How does a monthly magazine address the unforgiving, momentary needs of the Internet given limited resources? How can it be done?

It’s been an interesting ride searching for answers to that question…scratching my head and improvising…but it’s time to give someone else a turn. I’ll miss compulsively checking articles for new comments (our amazing instant report card), cursing temperamental software, and coordinating my sleep schedule to accommodate the time zones of the World Tour, but just as humbly as the pixelated torch was passed to me, so too must it be passed once more.

Even if you only visit once in a blue moon, or just to weigh in every so often to put a story in its place, or as compulsively as I have been paid to do, I really appreciate it.

Your participation provides that bit of context that makes it all worth it. -Zach Weisberg

While I’ll still be contributing regularly to SURFER in the future, you can keep up with my latest happenings here.

  • al-bot

    that sucks.

  • Fllynn

    There are six of us that surf at the business I work at. Whether its riding the waves or surfing the web, we are on computers for most of the day so as you can imagine we are checking out along with the rest. When something entertaining comes up we’ll rant back and forth about it, and it makes for a better day. I have to be perfectly honest with you, hasn’t been bad for the last year or so… it sucked! Throw away your thesaurus, enough with your cliches, there is so much to discuss in the world of surfing ,how do you guys go a day without adding any new content? You missed chopes, your Hawaii coverage was nothing special, some nice photos of Cali that’s it- overkill on east coast. four years ago you guys were rockin’ and rollin’, and my day at work went by so much faster. Good luck with your new online editor.

    And Zach, your “tenure” was pompous- far from “humble” and far from worthy of the ” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” reference in the title. Maybe you should give back all the shoes!

  • Will

    Fllynn, you are a knob and a nerd. Give the man some due credit for all the quality gratis entertainment and information you’ve enjoyed over the past four years.
    Zach, excellent job, thanks for keeping the masses entertained and informed. Good Luck.

  • dan

    I agree with Will. I too spend much of the day in front of a computer, and I don’t smoke cigarettes, so my smoke breaks are jumping online to read any news or look at photos of surfing as it is what puts me at ease. Being from the east coast, and having lived in CA, I love looking at photos and reading about both. Thanks for the balance. I think everyone has enjoyed your content or they wouldn’t have logged onto your site today to even see the letter you wrote. Ignore the idiots, good luck moving forward.

  • matt

    Well done Zach.

  • Greg

    write a story on Mick and his hatred of Jews and RipCurl will have you fired (ZW). Write a story about Billabong and its executive perks during a recession and they’ll have you fired (Samuels). Don’t write anything controversial and bro your boys out at every opportunity and keep your job (Cote). Ain’t surf “journalism” great?

  • Greg

    BTW, what a sick pic of blacks…

  • Joel Patterson

    For the record, Greg, Zach Weisberg was not fired. He quit of his own volition a couple weeks ago to move back East where he plans on pursuing school and freelance writing. He’s a fantastic contributor, and we look forward to more great pieces from him in the very near future.

  • stu

    but where’s his piece on Mick? Coincidence, I think not.

  • stu

    again, where’s his story? Coincidence? I think not.

  • NOFX

    I know a NOFX reference when I see one. Keep throwin’ shoes, boys!!

  • Dax

    Yo Zach, thanks for keeping me entertained! Good luck in your next venture! Cheers!

  • Zach

    That sucks! The most articulate and educated person to write for Surfer is leaving. Fllynn, you are a douche bag, have fun “surfing the web.”

  • mez

    well done zach and welcome back home. you – and the surfer crew – were/ are smack dab in the middle of helping to pioneer an amazingly difficult, challenging, exciting brave new world media revolution who’s historical impact cannot even begin to be defined or understood. all without any known blueprint for success or failure. takes f’ing real balls to expose yourself on the front lines of cyberspace – warts and all – unlike the anonymous clueless types posting and pontificating on this thread. good luck on future endeavors and best wishes to going forward.

  • Gergler

    I don’t know the truth, I do not have enough information to pretend to. I did notice that Zach’s opinion piece was pulled while articles posted at earlier dates remain. Whether Zach (who seems charming and intelligent) was asked to resign or left on his own accord I do not know. I will say that Surfer will lose more readers though fear and censorship than with open forthright journalism. The younger readers will not defect regardless of opinion. Surfer on the other hand will lose credibility and in turn lose a greatly expanding maturing demographic with it’s continued (in your face) disregard for journalistic integrity. Thought has been given to what needs to be done regarding Mr. Fanning and his Rip Curl sponsorship. Not to punish Mick or Rip Curl… To merely convey an important message. Maybe a public apology in every surf publication. This should be done in short order as more people are becoming aware of the interview in Stab Magazine. Stab can pretend to be whatever they please the rules are different for a World Champ. There are leagues and organizations that deal with these matters and they can be quite persuasive. Sure we have those who in the public eye have made a mockery of their own lives. Yet it is well documented that those in the public eye who have publicly defaced any ethnicity have paid a dear price. If there is any hope of professional surfing ever becoming a top tier sport and the purse reflecting that status then these athletes need to learn protocol. Just from a monetary perspective there are certain ethnic groups that possess the potential for tremendous financial contribution. Can you imagine if Tiger Woods or Roger Federer, while being interviewed, said someone was a f$#^$%g Jew!!

  • JP

    Gergler, read the article in Stab, he wasn’t being interviewed. It was a personal remark to an idiot and the idiot ran with it, as they all do. It was not meant for the world to hear, just him for being an idiot. Possibly a questionable choice of words but who doesn’t throw out a derogatory remark? Say that you don’t and your lying. Should you apologize to the world for your remarks?
    As for Zach, you rock buddy, thanks for all your hard work and perspective, have fun and good luck with what ever you decided to do.

  • RH

    I think the pulling of Zach’s commentary about Mick’s “hatred” (as Greg put it) of Jews was not inappropriate. It does seem pretty apparent that Mick was simply telling a jackass whom he thought had a stupid, negative approach to journalism something that he figured was too stupid and negative for even the jackass to assume anybody wanted to read. The only thing Mick should apologize for is underestimating a whiny bitch. (Though he should not use that word about Chas, in case the whiny bitch tries to claim Mick has something against women or dogs.) Mick was merely trying to get through, instead of using the ineffectual “f–ing namecaller”. Not to put words in Mick (I’m Irish We Don’t Look Downward On Anybody) Fanning’s mouth, or anything.

  • Gergler

    Interview or casual commentary, it’s in print. This is not about me or my comments it’s about surfing and professionalism. Things may change but not without growth and accountability. Self preservation rule; Stay aware when talking to members of the media.
    The person who “ran with it” is doing surfing a favor.

  • mez

    a wise man i worked with at esm once said these words when i was trying to deal with one obnoxious, jackass of a person and i quote: “never give and idiot an audience”. i’ve held his philosophy near and dear ever since that day and it works like a charm …

  • Madman

    I am very upset that Surfer magazine sees it fit to run a full page picture of a surfer smoking cigarettes. Lung cancer is a killer in this country and thankfully the younger generation are realizing this and the number of younger smokers is actually going down. In no way shape or form does showing some random person smoking fit into the “Surfer” lifestyle and what this magazine should and did represent. Almost being able to see the brand of cigarette leads me to beleive that this was most likely an subtle advertisement for Malboro lights. If so, I hope you received compensation. In closing I hope you sleep well knowing that you are spreading death to your younger readers as “Surfer” cool. Hopefully this picture will lead to more smokers and more cigarette butts on our beaches. Then your dream of every beach being a dump like the Southern California beaches you call home will be a realization. PS. HOPEFULLY ONE DAY A PERSON YOU KNOW WILL GET LUNG CANCER SO YOU CAN SEE HOW FUN DYING MISERABLY REALLY IS!!

  • RH

    Gergler, maybe you should stick to TMZ. Just kidding; TMZ actually has a brain and a heart (must be that damn Jew lawyer running it)… so maybe Perez Hilton would better fit your “do us a favor and portray wart shaped things” philosophy. But the thing is, it wasn’t even a wart. Mick was standing up, in person, to a jackass, using a teachable-moment remark, as opposed to trying to demean someone by telling a public forum or crowd “he’s a Jew! he’s a Jew!” (as if that would be an insult… but it could be meant as one, were that the context). The thing is, the “victim” tried to turn it INTO that context, so that he could be a victim and obscure Mick’s point about smearing. And I suspect that the reason that Zach’s commentary was pulled was that Mick’s explanation to that effect made sense, and Surfer decided they might be in danger of looking badder than Mick… though not as bad as Stab. In other words, maybe they were just giving their readers (at least the ones who aren’t apathetic) a little credit for not being easily manipulated sheep like you might run into with a wider sporting audience.

  • Ralph W.

    It appears pulling the article didn’t halt discussion, and I feel confident that claiming the content of this particular controversy had a hand in determining its fate is entirely misguided. This could have been about comparing paper clips to staples, but if it made an advertiser unhappy, it was coming down. These things need to be discussed in surfing, and I support those who put it out on the table. An Australian newspaper printed a follow up that’s pretty interesting:

  • Greg

    Good point, RH. Would have been the same if he called him a n*gger, hey? Maybe an Abo? Mick’s the world champ and Rip Curl sells him as a guy groms should emulate. You really think it’s ok that he only called a guy a “f*cking jew” because the guy was a jerk-off? In any event, Zach’s article raise a more general question and didn’t pass judgment on Mick (other than perhaps acknowledging Mick’s a bad drunk and lacks some common sense). Surfer, like every other publication in the US, avoided the issue because RipCurl told them to. Samuels was fired from Surflie for questioning Billabong, and Zack apparently got the axe (or, at a minimum, his article got the axe) because he dared hint RipCurl’s favorite son might be a doooosh. That, my friend, is the American surfing machine at work. Now, go sped $75 bucks on RipCurl trunks that are exactly the same as the ones you purchased last year but with new fancier colors.