Update: July 26, 2006
The Quality Quarterly for All Women Who Surf
And it’s about bloody time. On Tuesday, July 25, American Web took possession of a 40 GIG hard drive with the entire contents of the premiere issue of WET Magazine digitized within. Now the countdown for the long-awaited release of The Quality Quarterly for All Women Who Surf is down to about 10 days and counting: “We are hoping to have the first issue out in time to sneak into the SIMA Watermen’s Ball and spread them around the room,” said WET editor/publisher Ben Marcus. “We are also going to canvas every surf shop we can find, to take advantage of these dwindling days of summer. And then there will be lots of issues of WET at the ASR show in September.”
The premiere issue of WET has 20 pages of advertising and 80 pages of editorial, all of it displayed in a magazine cut at 9” x 10 7/8” – the same dimensions as Skateboard Mag, an independent magazine on which WET is modeled. The first run of WET will be 10,000 issues, which will be distributed to mainstream bookstores and newsstands by Warner International: “Distribution is always hard,” Marcus said. “and the best thing that could happen is Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, Rip Curl, Honolua Surf Company, Pacific Sunwear and the other big retailers fall in love with the magazine, buy the entire first run and have them available in their hundreds of retail outlets around the world. On top of that, we are going to mail copies ASAP to Hawaii, the East Coast and around the world, and drive the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Canada and do the legwork to get the magazine out, the word of mouth circulating and the buzz buzzing.”
WET is a labor of love that has been percolating for about nine months. The magazine was inspired by many things – including a chapter on women’s surfing called The Sport of Queens in the book Surfing USA! But it was events during October of 2005 that made the magazine gel: “Last October there was the Roxy grommette event at San Onofre, the WWLC at Ocean Beach and the Rip Curl contest at Malibu.” Marcus said. “First Point was an almost flawless five-foot on a southern hemisphere swell. Although the women pros thought even perfect Malibu was a little slow, their level of surfing – the speed and the good style – opened up a lot of eyes and convinced us that the women deserved a quality magazine that respected their level of surfing, and also the ever-growing population of women surfers around the world.”
Feature articles in issue #1 of WET include Mom Would Go, a profile on Alex Florence, the mother of uber-Grom Jon Jon Florence and his talented brothers Nathan and Ivan. North Shore resident and designer Lane Davey wrote the story to accompany Sean Davey’s stellar photographs of the Florence ohana in and out of the water - enjoying their lucky lifestyle along the North Shore of Oahu.
At great personal risk, Prue Jeffries drew on her personal experience and her friendships with the top professional women surfers to write The Great Race – an evaluation of the ASP WCT Women’s Top 17. Prue’s insightful words are accompanied by A+ action and portraits from Karen Wilson, Jim Russi and Pierre Tostee.
The first issue of WET attempts to answer the question that all surfers ask when they see Bethany Hamilton blasting floaters at big Haleiwa, or pulling into the barrel at Rocky Point: How Does She Do It? How does Bethany Hamilton surf as well as she does with one arm, and how far can her talent and dedication take her? Photographers Jim Russi, John Bilderback and Noah Hamilton submitted their favorite sequences of Bethany along with words of praise for a young woman who is living up to her talent despite the loss of her left arm to a shark.
The first issue of WET has an interview with Jamilah Star and the big-wave experiences that lead to her wining the women’s division of the Billabong XXL. In another story coming out of the winter of 2005/2006 Alaskan singer/songwriter Kate Earl explains her arc from small town girl in Chugiak, Alaska to sitting on the back of Brad Gerlach’s PWC during that huge day at Todos which produced the winning $68,000 XXL wave.
Rochelle Ballard is a tough girl who has an injury list that would make a bronc rider faint, and in the first issue of WET she details those injuries, including a near paralysis while doing stunts for Blue Crush, breaking her nose three times, slamming head first into the Huntington Pier during a contest and more than a dozen other breaks, sprains, tears and pukas.
Because women’s surfing is the sport of queens, with a history going back to the women ali’i, the first issue of WET has the first chapter of a serialized history of women’s surfing called The Sport of Queens. From pre-history to 1899, this first chapter details the Hawaiian surfing queens of legend and history, from old Owhyee to the tragedy of Princess Kaiulani.
The first issue of WET is made to work on two levels. Ben Marcus and Art Director Joni Casimiro found the very best photos of women surfers available and used them half page or bigger wherever possible. The art direction is big, clean and uncluttered, and the WET policy of encouraging full page and spread ads keeps the magazine big and clean. “Our goal was to make WET like the Super Bowl, where people look to the ads for entertainment as much as to the action. There are some cool, funny ads in the first WET from companies like Cowboy Magic and the Wave House, and individuals like Dave Olan, a Malibu attorney. This goes back to the original days of SURFER when there was a lot of competition in advertising, leading to things like Miki Dora’s Da Cat ads. I am hoping the ads in WET will inspire a frenzy in and out of the surf industry and there will be an explosion of creative, competitive, entertaining advertising.”
WET is entertaining on a visual level but the stories also have a depth that has never been attained in a women’s surf magazine before: “I have been working with an advisory committee of women surfers that includes Holly Beck, Rochelle Ballard, Carla Rowland, Annie Allegretti, Kassia Meador and a bunch of others who are getting tired of all the emails,” said Ben Marcus. “These girls are keeping the magazine honest and contemporary. I showed printed pages to some of the girls at the Call to the Wall in Malibu. Mary Osborne loved it, and thought the surf industry would be blown away by how good a women’s surf magazine can be. I hope she is right.”
On the day WET went to the printers, there was a showing of the Sofia documentary in Huntington Beach. After the showing, Sofia Mulanovich was signing autographs in the lobby when she took time out to flip through the pages of WET. “Sick. This is sick,” Sofia said over and over again. When someone asked her about a photo of her duck-diving, she said: “That is a pearl earring.”
What was Sofia referring to? The answer can be found in the first issue of WET, which will be available in the middle of August and hopefully sooner: “Some very talented people like Joni Casimiro, Jim Russi, Rebekah Heavrin, John Bilderback, Bob Penuelas, David Puu and Sean Davey have put a lot of work into this magazine, and it shows.” Marcus said. “Women’s surfing deserves a magazine that respects both the ultra-high level of the top women, but also the ever-growing population of women surfers. WET is not going to dilute itself with fashion, or skateboarding or snowboarding. This is not a corporate surf magazine – which is an oxymoron anyway, or should be. WET is a surf magazine, about women and it’s off to a clean start.”
For more information on subscribing to WET, or distributing the magazine or contributing to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-270-7500.
Content will be going up on the website soon at www.wetmagazine.org