Waves Magazine Is No More
The Death Of Print Media is an invisible, looming storm that's been prophesied since Google started answering questions. But for a shadow so ever-present, it hasn't yet led to a whole lot of boarded up windows in the surf media. Last year, we felt the first blow in the loss of TransworldSURF. And this month, we say goodbye to Waves Magazine.
Waves kicked off in the 70s but really found its feet in the 90s as a hipper, younger brother to Tracks when it went from a bi-monthly to a monthly title. Waves brought the colour with a series of cover-mount releases, most notably during the golden era of Seven Days, Seven Slaves, Because I Wanna, Bicycle and Doped Youth.
The title has been helmed at different times by some of Australia's best editors, like Andrew Kidman, Jesse Faen, Vaughan Blakey (who still heads up Surfing World), Ronnie Blakey (ASP commentator) and Campbell Milligan, who started Monster Children magazine.
Waves was always the little brother to Tracks in terms to sales and advertising and through any changes in ownership, the two have always been sold as a double act. All remaining (albeit limited) Waves resources will be absorbed entirely by Tracks.
While Waves was aimed at a younger audience, it was more realistically aimed at an advertiser trying to reach a younger reader. The magazine has always struggled with a small readership but it's been an advertiser darling at diff periods. And, it's no secret that magazines with a small readership live and die with the support of advertising.
The writing has been on the wall. Limited ads, a move from monthly to bi-monthly 12 months ago and fuck-all digital play. Unlike TWS, who operate as a digital offering, Waves has little to no social media or digital presence to fall back on, and it's likely that the issue now on the stands is the last we'll hear from Waves. The last post on the Waves website was on February 14.
The title's About read:
"Australia's wittiest surfing magazine is a hero-driven, irreverent and fashionable publication with plenty of attitude. The Waves website is jam-packed with killer surf sequences and smoking' hot glamours. Lock yaself in..."
Which makes this whole thing a little more clear.
Another contributing factor? Danny Johnson was Waves' art director before stepping up to the editor's role a year ago. He's the man credited with breathing last hope life into the magazine. He left four months ago and took a position as art director with Surfing World, and his absence was the final bolt in a very nailed coffin.
The halcyon days of the surf industry in Australia are over, and no longer feeling the pressure of funding another surf mag is probably welcomed. But it's never much fun flicking the switch on the life support machine. – Elliot Struck