‘Moist’: A New Voice In The South American World of Surf
Stab chats surf etiquette, the death of print and Brazilian surfing with the publisher of Brazil’s wettest surf-portal.
There’s a new kid on the surf-soapbox block.
And it isn’t just another bunch of Aussies and Americans hammering on about their surf experiences in the Western World.
These new boys are slick, sexy and hail from the 21st century surf-powerhouse, Brazil. Bashing keyboards and posting it all to the peculiarly titled site, ‘Moist: Multimidia Liquida’.
‘Moist’, started lubricating our screens a few months back, covering everything from James B opinion pieces on Filipe’s predestined World Title, homosexuality in the surfing world, to edits of ‘Australiana’s with a queer name’.
Oh, and they also have a Disqus comment section! Albeit mostly in Portugese.
‘Moist’ even provide a handy translation for us less linguistically inclined folk – allowing translations from Portuguese into most languages – and barr a couple of poor auto-translations, the writing on their site reads better than a below-average Noa’s last dart spiel.
Whilst we’ve been fans of the newest digi-publication for a couple of months now, we were intrigued enough to flick some emails and find out more info about the brains behind the page.
Allow us to introduce, Steven Allain, the publisher of Moist. We shot Steven a few questions about himself, the decline of print, Brazillian surf etiquette and most importantly, why on Earth they picked the name “Moist”.
The forefront of the Brazilian Storm, Gabriel Medina
STAB: We know a lot about you and are certainly fans of your rich baritone, so tell us about how you ended up here (as in working on a new startup in surf)?
Steven: [laughs…] rich baritone is a good one. Can’t say I completely agree, but hey, I’ll take it.
So yeah, me and a couple of partners just launched Moist. It’s been a hectic few months getting it all done, but we’re really stoked it’s finally up.
How’d the idea come about?
The idea came about when I was living in Bali, actually.
I moved there four years ago after working at the main surf mags in Brazil —Hardcore and Fluir (RIP)—for the previous decade. The decline of print, combined with the economic crisis that hit surfwear brands hard back then, translated into rapidly shrinking magazine budgets. Which meant less travel and more pressure for executives.
With time, it just wasn’t a fun job anymore. Sitting in an office for weeks on end, listening to commercial reps tell me I should adapt our content to please advertisers – and with fewer and fewer trips in between – wasn’t really for me.
So I packed my stuff and moved to Bali. Hardcore still kept me on as International Editor, and I was doing some freelance work—I even had the pleasure of working on a couple of print editions of Stab with you guys last year. So it was happy times again: I could concentrate on writing and surf perfect waves pretty much everyday.
But as time went by, I felt stagnant. My friends back home, in the States and Oz, were all accomplishing great things, growing professionally and personally— while I was getting bored, believe or not, of surfing Keramas everyday.
It sounds weird as I say that, but that’s the truth.
I looked at the dying mags back in Brazil and it became clear to me that the void left by them wasn’t being filled. I’m not saying the other mags are crap, but I knew that there was room for a fresher approach.
It sounds corny, but I wanted to do something that mattered, something I could be proud of – just as I felt in my early magazine days.
So I moved back to Brazil earlier this year and started to work on Moist.
And, tell us about the name? Bold it certainly is.
That was the idea. We didn’t want anything obvious. We wanted to stir things up a bit. The name Moist has that in-your-face feel. It’s sexual, it’s wet.
I like the parallels between sex and surfing. There’s an old surf video—I forget the name – where Steve “The Great Zeldini” Zeldin compares G-Land to the “G-spot of the world.”
“This wave is sexual, man”, he says. And that was always in the back of my mind —I wanted our name to capture that primal feeling we get from sex and surfing gnarly waves.
That, and it sounds cool too.
What’s the goal with the site? What is your point of view? What can we expect to see?
We want to talk all things surfing in a more in-depth and opinionated way. We want to discuss issues that have long been taboo in Brazilian surfing—like homosexuality, for example.
We do not want to simply pursue clicks and likes, but rather tell stories that resonate with people in a strong, deeper way—all from the point of view of the Brazilian surfer.
Our reality is very different than that of other surf nations and I feel we have to embrace that. Produce content from our perspective, rather than wait for Dane’s new clip to drop and post that like so many outlets have been doing here lately.
Don’t get me wrong, Dane and John are great. We love them. But what’s going on in Yago’s mind?
What in the world of surf is making noise in Brazil?
Filipe and Yago, I’d say.
After Gabe and ADS won their titles, it was like we fell into a collective hangover. As a surfing nation, we’d finally won the Title, and the validation we so desperately yearned for. There was a widespread feeling that nothing would top that.
Watching Filipe light up the Tour and knowing that Yago will be there with him next year, kinda brought back that excitement.
I feel like every story on a Brazilian surfer starts talking about favelas and ends up using this as justification for poor surf etiquette. Discuss.
Yeah, I think that argument got old a long time ago. But the truth is that education does have a huge impact on something like surf etiquette. But there are so many other factors too—I could go on and on about this.
But I think it’s about perspective, mainly.
It has a lot to do with how Brazilians behave and are perceived to behave in the water. While we see hooting and claiming as just an expression of stoke, for example, that behaviour is often perceived as disrespectful.
I believe most misunderstandings happen because of single-minded perspectives. It’s simply easier to judge from your own point of view and conclude that the dickhead is always on the opposite side of the argument.
No one gets a reputation without a reason, but we all know that it’s silly to generalize—there are kooks and legends on all sides.
Honestly, I don’t think this is really a huge deal, except maybe in the Ments, where big groups of people are traveling to the same waves where none of them are locals.
I certainly don’t see that much animosity between surfers from different nations elsewhere. I believe surfing is collectively moving past that—even in Stab’s comment section [laughs].
James B’s pick for the 2018 World Title.
What is the biggest misconception about Brazilian surfers?
That we’re all similar, in background, culture and attitudes.
Brazil is a huge country. It’s like there’s a few countries inside the country. Just as someone from Boston is different, in so many ways, from someone from Texas or LA, Brazilians are an extremely diverse people.
Anything else we need to know about the new venture?
We’re treating our social media and YouTube channel like we do the website, meaning, we aim to make our audience’s experience in these platforms just as cool, fun, and meaningful no matter where they’re seeing our stuff.
They’re such rad tools that it’d be a shame not to explore their full potential. So we’re creating content specifically for those mediums as well—instead of simply using them to attract traffic to the website.
And, what should we keep an eye on in the future?
In the long run, we would like to become the go-to media outlet for Brazilian surfing—be it for our local or international audience. Our plan is to eventually have the website in two languages.
For now, our premium content, like the Yago Dora interview that’s up right now, will always have English subtitles.
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