Do you know what one of the most fascinating things about surfing is? Its history. It’s wonderful. Sordid and full of characters, like all the best stories. There are drugs, villains, heroes, tales of grand adventures. Deserted tropical islands and boat trips on the high seas. Exploration of the unknown under a beating sun. Death, glory, and brutal, bloody injuries. Surf history has it all. And, of course, there’s that whole wave-riding part, but surfers aren’t generally likely to jot down the details unless it’s tide and swell direction.
As is the case with fishermen, the truth can become a tall tale padded with embellishments in the span of a few short years. Lucky for us, we’ve got Matt Warshaw. He, as you likely know, has spent an extraordinary amount of time gathering up the remnants of our water-logged history, drying them off, repairing the dings, giving them a fresh coat of wax, and lining them up in the board rack that is Encyclopedia of Surfing.
But like all good things, EOS requires a bit of cash to survive. Not much, if we all pitch in — $3 a month or $30 a year — and everyone who enjoys knowing more about this silly little pastime we’re all so obsessed with has a perfect classroom. I’ll Mr. Warshaw himself take it from here:
In 2017, when EOS was flatlining, we put out the SOS and you guys saved the site. Today, we have 1,200 subscribers and a small rainy-day fund in the bank. New pages go up daily, and the Sunday Joint newsletter is a hit. EOS is stable.
But we could be doing way more. I’m a full-time EOS employee, developer Mark Augias is part-time—and that’s it for staff. This year’s fundraiser is mostly about getting another pair of hands involved. $50K in combined donations and new subscriptions gets us a new part-time person and throws some more hours Mark’s way. $100K gets us a full-timer, more hours for Mark, and a small raise for me—I’m doing EOS for $30K a year and I’d be lying to say I’m not looking for a pay bump.
What’s on our to-do list for 2020? Apart from creating and improving the pages you already know (Encyclopedia of Surfing, History of Surfing, Above the Roar), we’ve just added beta versions for two new EOS areas: Surfboards and Contests. Click here to see a Surfboard page, and here for a Contest page. Both environments are already functional and integrated with the rest of the site, but they need hundreds of pages to really lift off—which means added work hours, which means staffing up.
Meanwhile, we’re still doing the non-sexy stuff: digitizing movies and videos, scanning old surf mags, tagging, keywording, databasing. The preservation work isn’t glamorous, but it’s the most important thing EOS does. We have to grab this stuff now. When the last analog version of a surf movie or magazine disappears or is forgotten, that’s it, game over, kiss it goodbye. So again, more hands at EOS means more surf history and culture saved from the abyss.
A huge thanks to everybody reading this, all EOS subscribers and supporters, who have kept the site going these past few years. Building EOS is a privilege and a joy, and while I hope we rake in a Lotto-sized pile of money over the next two weeks, to be honest I’ll keep doing this even if it just means keeping the core group—you guys—stoked and entertained.