Stab Magazine | Is What Youth's Future In Doubt?

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Is What Youth’s Future In Doubt?

First Kai Neville, now Travis Ferre is leaving the Costa Mesa journal. 

news // Mar 18, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all grow old, eventually. 

What Youth—Surfing Magazines‘s six-year-old patricidal offspring, a Costa Mesa-based mag and .com—is currently in mid-life crisis. 

The magazine launched in 2012 as the definitive voice of “youth on the run”, spearheaded by editor/co-founder/shareholder Travis Ferré, who’d recently departed Surfing to make “rad” shit, and Kai Neville, whose films Dear Suburbia, Lost Atlas, and others lifted What Youth‘s profile.

While Neville hasn’t been involved in What Youth for some time now, from what we know, Ferré—who is famous for spending a considerable amount of money on a trip to Japan, running up Surfing‘s Amex to the tune of almost $80k, then sticking them with a metaphorical finger and the bill during his dismissal/resignation—and camera horse Michael Cukr, are leaving the publication. 

As for Cukr, his deal is unconfirmed.  

Yesterday, Ferre confirmed to Stab he’s departing the operation, following the crowdfunding of their last trip via a Kickstarter campaign.

“Mag is definitely not closing,”  Mr Ferré told Stab earlier. “I’m gonna do some new projects personally, but mag and site are still going. I’m still a partner, just gonna hand some day to day duties off so I can focus on some other projects.” 

After 19 issues over six years, WY, like many niche publications, this one included, finds itself in a different financial reality than when they launched. Hardly surprising in this turbulent world of surf media.  

Reader’s disdain for straight forward advertising, as well as an aversion to “advertorial,” creates an advertiser/media/reader disconnect. Only one of the options is easily ignored, and at the very least provides an opportunity for enraged comments left under the anonymity of internet personae.

This isn’t happening on What Youth’s site at the moment, but that’s how the computer code crumbles. No one wants ads or paywalls or sponsored content. But we live in world where travel budgets don’t exactly spring from thin air and photogs/filmers can’t dine on Instagram shares.

According to sources within the organization, they are in debt to contributors; one particular photographer is owed roughly $23K. They’re searching for a new round of investors—this time it’s more Linkedin than GoFundMe—as well a new Editor in Chief.

When a founder/editor/shareholder leaves, things can change dramatically*. It’s a situation that may sound oddly familiar.  

*One photographer we spoke to has offered to buy the mag, hoping to turn it into a firearm publication aimed at children. 


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