Illustration by sketchytank.com
The After Party: TransWorld SURF
Every day, around the world, university lecturers address Journalism students. And every day, the starry eyes dim a little as they hear about print media's slow death. It ain't been quite as anticlimactic as Y2K, but at least in the surfing world, print's stayed rather healthy. Until our first casualty, which happened to be the title most'd least wanna see fall, fell: TransWorld SURF. Almost two months ago, it was announced that Grind Media/Source Interlink (owners of Surfing and Surfer), had purchased TWS. Then, three weeks ago, we learnt that the last-ever issue of TWS would arrive in September. Digital presence? Totally safe (especially since "mag" doesn't feature in the URL). But a bonafide piece of print matter it would be no more.
Chris Cote edited the magazine through the best times and the worst. He helmed the party ship that was TWS in perfectly light-hearted fashion and brought a realistic and totally-not-dull tone. Since it's an ending of an era and all that jazz, Stab couldn't help but quiz Chris for a highlights package. Is TWS the first brick to fall from the ageing wall? Or is that reading too much into it? And is that pun worth mention? So many questions! Mr Cote has the answers!
By Elliot Struck
Stab: Tell me about the demise of TransWorld SURF.
Chris Cote: When we were purchased by Grind Media I think we all expected that shut down was in our future, and given the current economic state of the surf industry I can understand the decision. It was more sudden that we all thought it would be, but the staff was and still is being treated well. There were a lot of great things happening in the midst of all the madness, like our photo editor Aaron Checkwood getting married the day after his last day as a TransWorld SURF employee - a lot of joy after a few weeks of sadness.
Please describe the taste in your mouth. Physically, right now it tastes like coffee grinds mixed with rice cakes and almond butter. Metaphorically, the butt-hurt sensation is subsiding and there is a lot of excitement and anticipation for what's next in my life. I already have a busy summer starting with commentating at the Vans US Open Of Surfing as well as a pretty amazing project I'm producing with Red Bull.
Is all print headed this way? I don't think so, I think the demise of TransWorld SURF opens a wide door for magazines like Stab and What Youth to prosper. Monster Children is rad, too. Surfer and Surfing are obviously gaining a lot of market share as well so hopefully they will become more robust and have bigger budgets to do big things. I love all the indie mags that are circulating right now, Bliss has been great for a long time, Ghetto Juice is a rad OC zine/mag, there are some very intersting surf magazine popping up around the globe as well and I'm always hyped to see those.
The latest cover is inspired. We didn't have much time to make changes to our last issue as we were given the news about three-quarters into the production of the magazine. We had Laurie Towner's wipeout on the cover list already, and when we heard the news, we knew that had to be the shot. as far as the tag goes, "Party's Over"—it's pretty self explanatory, TransWorld SURF has always been viewed as a fun surf party that everybody was invited to, and now, the party's over.
Was it difficult to make the last issue? The hardest part was actually getting motivated to finish it, knowing that it was the last one. It would have been a lot harder if it would have been a big retrospective on the last 14 or so years.
What is the absolute coolest thing that TWS ever did? Take me from a pothead loser d-grade jobless pro surfer and gave me the chance to become a voice that defined a generation. Oh, you mean like article? Uh, I liked all of them, especially when we did our early product reviews: burnt wetsuits, chainsawed surfboards, and so on.
What shall be the magazine's legacy? Gave surfing a much needed kick in the ass from 1999 to 2013 - aided in the progression of our sport which at the time was stale and boring sad place. We made surfing magazines fun.
What are you gonna miss the most about the whole party? I'm still at the party.
I imagine that after so long at the helm of something, you must've felt a strong bond. What would you liken the relationship to: A wife, a lover, an old pal, a son, a pet dog, or something else entirely? Problematic child.
Do you feel more like captain of the Titanic, or George Lucas after Return Of The Jedi wrapped? I feel like Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2, aka Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
What's the future hold for Chris Cote? Production, creation, hosting, commentating, writing, increasing my air-completion/attempt ratio, getting tubed, teaching my kids how to surf, lose weight, lose my extra chin, grow more hair, skate more, and broaden my horizons.
What did TWS teach us? Surfing is fun.
Anything else that's gotta be said? Thanks for everyone who supported TransWorld SURF over the years, and thanks to Stab for all the kind words and rad projects we did together, oh, and thanks for your cover in December of 2009, I got so laid from that.