Stab Magazine | If We Don't Know Our History, We'll Inevitably Repeat Our Past

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If We Don’t Know Our History, We’ll Inevitably Repeat Our Past

For just a few bucks a month, you can support the Encyclopedia of Surfing and make sure surfing doesn’t forget its roots.

news // Nov 5, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The art, culture, lifestyle and sport of surfing is much closer to losing its collective history than most people think. The slow, needling death of print hasn’t just meant that we get our porn online now. It’s deeper than that. Since John Severson put out the first copy of The Surfer in 1960, the evolution of wave-riding was documented and captured for not just the newsstand readers, but savored and revered by generations of surfers. 

Today, as the flame flickers on the final print pubs, surf news and features are as fleeting as anything found on the Internet; forced into irrelevance almost as soon as the publish button is pressed. Google informs the curious searcher as to what happened six months ago. In decades past you’d just dig into your stack of mags and flip to the page you were looking for…because you’d memorized every page of every issue.

Regurgitating dates and names is one thing, but in terms of surfing, a hearty knowledge of what came before informs the decisions we make today. From what swell angle is ideal for Rincon to the fin placement on a highly tuned big-wave gun, everything we do today builds on came before us. You name it, everything that’s old is new again at one time or another.



Never forget.


And that is why it is important to support Matt Warshaw and his Encyclopedia of Surfing. Reader-funded, it is not just the definitive source for our collective history, but also, a guide to who we are as surfers. While our culture gets steamrolled by the Olympics and Wave Storms, it’s a deep dive into what was once cool about surfing’s fringe existence and how and why it all came to pass. 

And most importantly, the EOS is our only hope to retain surfing’s wondrous past. If Warshaw pulls the plug on this project, there’s no one who will be able to fill his shoes, let alone attempt the feat.  

“The preservation work isn’t glamorous, but it’s the most important thing EOS does,” Warshaw writes in a recently deployed fundraising letter. “We have to grab this stuff now. When the last analog version of a surf movie or magazine disappears or is forgotten, that’s it, game over, kiss it goodbye. So again, more hands at EOS means more surf history and culture saved from the abyss.”

If you’re going to subscribe to a surf site, EOS is the one. It’s unvarnished, as accurate as possible, and the authoritative resource for anybody wondering who Butch Van Artsdalen was or why Lisa Andersen surfs better than you.

You can subscribe to EOS for $3 a month(!) here, or make a direct, tax deductible donation here. 


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