Last week, I had the great privilege of getting barreled with Matt Warshaw. Both activities are infrequent honors – spending precious moments beneath the lip of a breaking wave and nerding out on wave-sliding history with surfing’s most prolific, affable historian. It was an amazing day.
And on said day, Warshaw shared that his beloved digital foray, most notably his Encylopedia of Surfing, needed help. He had some success in transitioning surfing’s most extensive historical resource into a subscription-based offering, but he didn’t quite hit the threshold required to keep it humming along in the digital world. And, make no mistake, surfing needs the Encyclopedia of Surfing to hum along in the digital world. It is the closest thing we have to truth. It’s parts oral history, parts Warshaw’s omniscient voice, but mostly exhaustively researched record-keeping of a culture, moments, and people that would almost certainly be forgotten (or remembered much less vividly) without his relentless efforts.
As someone who understands how challenging managing the vagaries of business for a digital-based editorial outlet in the surf and outdoor space can be, I refuse to allow the Encyclopedia of Surfing to exit Google’s fiber optics without a fight. And I’m optimistic that with a call to arms of this magnitude – with this much on the line for folks truly passionate about the history of the most fun thing to do on earth – surfers will unite, pony up a few bucks, and let Matt Warshaw (and the work he’s done on our behalf) know that it is appreciated and will live to see another day.
Warshaw couldn’t have made it more clear. If his baby is taken from the digital world, that’s blood on our hands.
Let that baby live. One day, maybe he’ll get barreled with Matt, too. That will be a glorious day.
We just made a donation. Follow the link here to make yours or to subscribe. It’s tax deductible for you fancy tax guys out there, and it will make Matt Warshaw (and the collective knowledge of surfing’s culture) giggle with delight.