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The joy of surfing is the first thing that gets us. That first ride on a breaking wave, first true communion with nature, that laughing, spluttering, bedraggled joy.
And that’s what this edition will be all about, but first of all, introductions and thanks are in order. After 6 years at the helm of Wavelength, Luke has decided to step aside and take time to focus on other projects. He has presided over an era of significant change at the magazine and, thanks to his skill both as a writer and photographer, leaves it a thing of great beauty and depth.
And so here I am, honoured to be asked to fill Luke’s shoes and to guide a British surfing institution which has been an ever present part of my own and countless others lives. I hope I can do both justice.
This edition of the magazine comes at a time of global turmoil. Devastating tragedies unfold as others fade, the world is tossed and turned by war and climate change, so much so that even those of us who are relatively unscathed are left gasping. It might seem strange then, to focus the magazine on joy, but that is exactly what this edition is about.
We have three stories of sets of surfers near the beginning of their journeys, the women in SeaSisters, a surf club on the south coast of Sri Lanka, The Wave Project in the UK and Sumi in Bangladesh, from each we hear how the endorphin rich experience of surfing morphs into positivity and determination and permeates the rest of their lives.
From there we hear from masters of the art; Beatriz Fonseca speaks to Marta, a para surfing world champion whose lack of sight only serves to intensify her surfing experience. Dave Rastovich and Lauren Hill then riff on the joy surfing has brought them over the years, set to the majestic photography of Nathan Oldfield.
Joy is often hard to come by at the pointy end of competitive surfing but four contest organisers tell us how their events bring cohesion to communities while helping to plant seeds of equality in an often unequal surfing landscape.
Michael Kew takes us on a trip around the islands and coastal communities of the Mozambique Channel, where quality surf is thin on the ground but richness of experience is abundant. And in Papua New Guinea, Sam Bleakley reports on the pink nose revolution and the flourishing of traditional and sustainable wooden board riding culture.
To round up, Lily Plume looks at flow state and surfing, that blissful space where time slows down and the head noise fades, perhaps the best wave of your life, perhaps your first, or perhaps your first clean wave, green wall stretched out and beaconing, glistening with potential.
– Mike Lay