I’ve a bit of career advice for your, Very Dear Reader.
That is, career advice for anyone flirting with the idea of a gig in the ‘surf media’.
A job ‘documenting’ the shred. This is the only career I know, thus the only one I would dare be sold bold as to offer any form of advice upon.
You could buy cameras. Or you could not buy cameras, and write words. You could spend a few dozen grand on uninsurable gear that’ll corrode/be out of date in 3 years.
On housings that leak and kill that gear. You could stand around all day, in the cold, in the blazing heat. After standing all day in the cold, in the blazing heat, you could then spend hours in front of the computer, downloading, editing, colour correcting.
You could go to the best surf spots in the whole world and maybe squeeze in one 30 min sesh in two weeks, when it’s 2ft and onshore. (Even then, someone will inevitably do an air and be bitter you weren’t shooting it.)
If the ‘talent’ does something funny/interesting/outlandish at 3am after a period of drinking, you might get shouted at if you’re not documenting it. But you also might get shouted at if you are.
Such a knife’s edge, your existence.
Once, I got to the airport to depart for a glorious SE trip to Tahiti, via LA. Tahiti!
I was wheeling a sleek triple board board, and a tiny backpack containing trunks, t-shirts, a toothbrush and notepad and pen.
SE Staff Lensman Alex Laurel had his own bodyweight in Peli cases. And was preparing, mentally, for duly being bent over and reamed, for an assortment of excess fees/lost/stolen/broken/clobbered for import duty/work permit woes.
He looked at my payload of surfcraft and said, in a friendly fashion, but with honesty,
“You’re a cunt.”
Alex was quite correct.
Or, to put it another way. Here’s Chris Binns, former Surfing Life editor’s Facebook chat on why his Java article in this issue was so appalling late…
-‘Sorry mate, just got back from Desert Point. You don’t want to know. Chartered a boat from Sanur, went and surfed Lacerations on Lembongan on high tide, ripped over to Deserts on the low, went back to Lembongan for the night. After a lazy breakfast the next morning we repeated the dose. All the while the regular riff raff were camped in the Lombok dirt…’
This is the lot of paid penman. The paid penman must surf in exotic far flung locales. The paid penman, whilst on surf trips, must simply surf, and do as close to what the paid to surfers do, in order to be able to write about them.
If you want to surf, I’d recommend becoming a surf writer.
Talent? Aptitude? Skill? Very much optional, subjective, in the eye of the beholder. I mean, you’ve nearly made it to the end of this, I note.
Surf media, or otherwise, there are very very cool gigs out there. Jobs, careers that may be regarded with envy.
People, everyday folk, like you and me, seemingly getting away with it. Somehow pulling it off, chancers riding their luck, and everybody else’s. Somebody’s gotta do it.
It might as well be you.
(On the cover Leonardo Fioravanti slays the Indonesian shred juice because he can, and because he likes to. Photo: Laurent Pujol)