Stab Magazine | Matt Warshaw On Being The Oxford English Dictionary Surf Consultant
472 Views

Matt Warshaw On Being The Oxford English Dictionary Surf Consultant

“I lost 90 minutes of my life looking for a pre-2000 quotation using the phrase ‘doggy door.'”

news // Jun 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Matt Warshaw is, without doubt, one of surfing’s finest-ever writers. He is Surfer Magazine’s former editor and currently curates the online Encyclopedia of Surfing (which is only the creme scooped off the top of a very rich career). Given his supreme understanding of the place where words and surf meet, he was tapped earlier this year to become Surf Consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary. So, just what exactly does such a thing mean? Let’s ask Matt!

libertad102 RJ

Matt, an ex pro, knows surf better than most.

Stab: Tell me: What does being The Oxford English Dictionary Surf Consultant actually entail?
Matt Warshaw: By day I inspect their latest surf-word definitions, and then page through back issues of surf mags like a fuckin’ intern, looking for the earliest published instance of that particular word. So last week, for example, I lost 90 minutes of my life looking for a pre-2000 quotation using the phrase “doggy door.” 
By night, me and the rest of the OED consultants drink pints at Duke’s Head in Putney, and prank-text Sam Smith.

Do you have the pleasure of recommending new word additions, or do they just check with you to make sure they’re on the right track? I just check they’re on the right track. And honestly, for a bunch of stiff-lipped upper-crusted Poms who’ve never clocked the inside of a barrel or dampened a tablecloth with sinus drain or wasted three straight work days on a WSL webcast – they get the surf definitions right. Like, every time. Much respect.

000728 BURKARD 41661

An image of the happy place were surf and words meet.

If you could ban any surf terms the Oxford Dictionary, what would they be? I would battle with all the fierceness and valour my Jewish ancestors used against pillaging Cossacks on the Russian Steppe to make sure that “sick” and “high-line wrap” never be included in the OED. 

Anything else we should know about this honour? “The gig pays just $550 US. But I’m looking at it as a strong first step toward knighthood.”

NEW DICTIONARY WORDS 001

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022

3:31

Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022

24:32

Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022

4:18

Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022

5:07

Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022

Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME 

'I haven’t got my license yet, but I'm thinking of buying a little truck.'

Nov 27, 2022

4:25

“There Definitely Needs To Be More Girls That Try Airs”

Caity Simmers' thoughts on her Vans Pipe Masters debut.

Nov 26, 2022

Preview: Who’s John John Florence Flushing Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl?

The final event of the CS schedule is almost upon us. Let's dissect.

Nov 25, 2022

25:17

Dane Reynolds Said These Clips Weren’t Good Enough

Could'a fooled us.

Nov 25, 2022

Watch Now: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Nov 24, 2022

27:45

How A Magic Island Birthed One Of The Most Radical Surf And Skate Scenes In The World

Mateus Herdy, Pedro Barros and friends in Red Bull x Stab's No Contest, Brazil.

Nov 23, 2022

The Uber Driver Turned Crypto Millionaire Who Denounced His US Citizenship And Whips Into XXL Nazare

"I do what I want, I don't have a boss." -Toby Trouble

Nov 23, 2022

3:36

‘I Thought He Was Gonna Grab A Machete… Then He Picked Up A Rock’

2x SSOTY Jai Glindeman’s drama (& left-tube) filled Sumbawa trip.

Nov 23, 2022

3:34

“The Inside Of Pipeline Sounds Like The Center Of The Universe”

Tosh Tudor seeks solitude at the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 22, 2022
Advertisement