Long ago a few friends, unwittingly led by our grumpy but lovable publisher, Troy Griffiths, started a small local black and white surf magazine called Island Swell. This magazine has grown into Northern Swell, a full-fledged national surf magazine getting people all over the country stoked.
From the outset we believed we could put together a magazine that would inform, inspire and entertain. In the early days we met with a fair bit of criticism - fears that the surf spots would become overpopulated with truckloads of unrespective and oblivious kooks (hey, if the cap fits..!). Fair enough, but we've pretty much maintained a platform that we DON'T name spots, secret or otherwise. We don't feel that where you surf is relevant or (out of respect to the locals) necessary. Some people said that we were "exploiting the sport"- really all we've gotten out of it is perhaps a few more folk stoked by us printing a picture of them. Trust us, there is really nothing in it for us if our break is crowded.
We've never viewed surfing as a sport either - we prefer the term "lifestyle". We figure that you can have a lifestyle in which soul and competition co-exist. Unfortunately competitiveness sometimes brings out the ugly side of our lifestyle - "localism". We've never been too keen on "ugly localism" and it always seems to be a respect issue. Now, were not saying we don't respect locals, we just feel that respect is earned and not automatically given because you've surfed spot "so and so" for many years, or you are in "such and such" club, or whatever. The majority of locals (in our neck of the water) are largely nice folk who show respect on a human level, and depending on your attitude, are good surfers (both in ability and good old fashion Aloha spirit). There are however, and probably always will be, "ugly locals" and we have never featured this particular group. It's just bad Karma.
All in all, the latest format for Northern Swell hasn't really changed that much (besides the obvious moving from paper to the internet). We have consistently brought the reader environmental information, medical advice, musical opinion, and other issues which in some way or other have something to do with surfing. Sure we digress a bit, but hey, we're just a bunch of ocean loving folk who foolishly thought we had some time on our hands.
If all else fails at least there are the tides...
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