Because I've been working in surf media for 25 years I get involved in conversations about the state of surf media all the time. I like these chats. It's fascinating, whether it be talking to a mate in a beach car park, catching up with a fellow surf writer/photog or bouncing off ideas with old colleges in the surf industry. Everyone has wide and varying opinions- that is the only surety.
Just so you're under no illusion of my stance; as a sweeping generalisation the majority surf journalism you find online is pretty shit. For the most part it's thinly veiled Public Relations copy for a brand, that generally if you scrape a bit further, you'll find it’s FROM the brand. There's nothing wrong with that, you can garner information and entertainment from it, but it’s not balanced. The best example of this would be the WSL website. Yes, you will be informed, but the source is highly biased to positively promoting it's own brand, its events and its supporting companies.
Then you have sites like The Inertia , Stab Mag and Beach Grit , while somewhat independent, tend to thrive on the sensational and opinion pieces. Again, mostly there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to make the distinction between what is an opinion and actually a well researched robust piece of news.
Nationally we have had nothing for a very long time.
Surf2Surf used to have news and blogs on it, but for a long time now Paul Brunskil, its owner and director has focussed the site on it's knitting- surf cams and surf reports. The 'News' on Surf2Surf is largely re-sourced press releases. And that's ok, Paul's running to the business model that works for him. Then you had Surf.co.nz and GoSurf.co.nz, both now defunct sites that largely followed the Surf2Surf template.
In full disclosure, I was the editor of GoSurf until its demise. What we were trying to do with GoSurf was create a platform and portal that had surf reports, forecasts, surf cams, international news and locally created content, including our own created reportage and content. It failed. It failed because it was under capitalised and trying to do all that was too ambitious; plus a whole lot of other behind the scenes crap. It did not fail reaching NZ Surfers, at it's height I believe we reached 300,000 unique visitors per day and it was growing.
Now there is a new kid on the block, and I am cautiously excited. NZ Surf Journal is founded by former NZ Surfing Magazine editor Derek Morrison. The Otago based photo journalist has lofty credentials, as well as the aforementioned, he's also been the staff photog and Deputy Editor of Australia Dirt Bike mag, contributed to many surf books, written and published books. Maintains and writes his own popular website Box Of Light, from which he sends out a weekly mailer [like this very one you're reading] to over 7,000 subscribers. Last month Derek won NZ Geographic's highly prestigious Photographer Of The Year as well as Wildlife Photo Of The Year.
Derek has asked me to contribute to NZ Surf Journal. I have started with submitting content some of you have already read. There are also independent book reviews of The South Seas and NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 1.
So check it out, already there is a massive amount of news, views and information, written from a local perspective. My hope, and I think Derek's vision, is that we will finally have a Kiwi Surfing website with local news that will be the community connector. Our perspective on the surfing world and our stories. Here's to the future.
CHECK OUT NZ SURF JOURNAL HERE
From The Bookstore
Want to stoke out on Kiwi Waves, or need that Chrissy gift for the surfer in your family? Well you need the South Seas Revised Edition in your life. Check it out Here