By mid-April the world was in full lockdown.
With travelling out the window and an uncertain future ahead, we did the only we could. Print.
Calls are made and the editorial team is roused. We are in Europe. We are in the French Caribbean. We are in Australia. We’ll call and work across timezones. We’ll print a magazine in quarantine. Alone. Together.
But…to print a magazine, and a free one at that, you do need to pay the printer and it’s not as cheap as you may think. COVID-19 is causing a global recession which at the time of writing is being described by many as ‘unprecedented’. Make no mistake that aside from COVID-19 being a human tragedy of biblical proportions; it’s also not great for business, especially as the budget worlds of surf and skate aren’t always rainbows and unicorns at the best of times anyways. The apocalypse in our world is here, and it’s brutal. The amount of ‘off the record’ things I’ve been told about cuts will make your spine tingle. Read: blanket marketing cuts of up to 80% and entire teams, including flow—done.
But we decided to print. Quarantined. Alone. Together.
And by god are there some creative marketing managers out there who managed to eek out the last euros of any budget that hadn’t been frozen just so we could pay our print bill. And that, I will be forever humbled by. And for what it’s worth, the brands you’ll clock in adverts over the proceeding pages truly do care about our scene and deserve recognition for that.
We reached out to our network. It’s amazing how much can be done virtually, and how in times of despair, the solidarity shines through. Each of our contributors, whose images and words you will most certainly enjoy, did this for no money. They gave us their words and photos and their thoughts for love, for the good of doing something together. And for that we are immensely grateful.
Through the ingenuity of our contributors and in-house team, we’re quietly proud of the stories on the following pages. We discover that Imogen Caldwell is a name worthy of your attention as we review a year with her across the world, all captured by Morgan Maassen. We spend time with old friends Dion and Taj in the Western Australian desert, whilst half of our team test the better marbled flat spots and rooftop bars of Moscow. All this whilst seeing that again, women’s skateboarding is on a tear, witnessed by our time with Kate Shengeliya in Russia and Rianne Evans in the UK. Led by our inbuilt passion for independent filming, we touched in with Shane Fletcher and Wade Goodall to hear about their new project Pentacoastal, without doubt this year’s surfing magnum opus. Featured a scrapbook from independent surf film Fairy, whilst also checking in with a whole host of characters, from Jacopo Carozzi to Chris Jones, Rowan Zorilla and Alex Botelho. Not bad considering we made the whole thing under lockdown.
So, against a backdrop of a global meltdown, we head into Vol VII. We hope it provides a welcome slice of distraction, as we, like everyone—aren’t sure how this ends.