Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Art & Culture: Surfer Magazine: 50 Years

There’s something extraordinary about Surfer Magazine: 50 Years (Chronicle Books). Or maybe it’s several things. One is, it makes you think about a half century of surfing culture. It forces you to think about a sport that has always seemed fresh and exciting as something... well... historical.

And, two: for something... well... historical Surfer Magazine: 50 Years is astonishingly fresh. And exciting. The book is beautifully designed, well edited and -- of course -- gorgeously illustrated. The whole production feels carefully considered and properly executed: very much like a LIFE Magazine with a fresher, more youthful vibe. The message is clear, though apparently unconscious: we may be half a century old, the subtext seems to say, but we’ve barely gotten started.

As much as anything, the subject matter must play a part in this. That plus a seasoned, talented team. Surfer Magazine is, of course, the seminal surfing mag of all time. If anyone has an archive on this topic, it’s here. And if anyone is in a position to offer documentation on the history of the sport, it’s these guys. And they do a credible job of it in Surfer Magazine: 50 Years.

And offerings from Surfer Magazine’s archives would probably have been enough, but they’ve dug somewhat deeper; given something more.

Surfer Magazine: 50 Years
collects the writing and recollections of talent, past and present and creates a chronicle of the history of the sport. Those who enjoy extreme sport books will like Surfer Magazine: 50 Years. Those who love surfing will be blown away. ◊

Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area where he works in the high tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.

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