Pioneers have always been a celebrated part of surfing’s history; great explorers, inventors and trendsetters whose feats have changed the lives of wave riders around the world.
For decades, the pages of surf publications have been filled with the conquests of these intrepid souls; surfers at the vanguard, innovative board builders and salty sea dogs who’ve journeyed far and wide to fickle lands, returning with tales of perfection and closely guarded secrets. Until recently, almost all of them have hailed from the world’s handful of established surfing nations.
In the last decade, however, globalisation coupled with surfing’s universal appeal has seen a shift. With outside encouragement, fledgling surf communities have begun to take hold in even the most unlikely of locales, offering equal measures of challenge and opportunity to a whole new wave of pioneers, each with their own story to tell.
In this edition, we’ll look at those who laid the foundations for such communities and meet the people who’ve built towering structures upon them.
We’ll visit folk using surfing’s trailblazing spirit to overcome obstacles in Senegal, Gaza and The Faroe Islands. Tell a tale of a destructive pioneer in Sri Lanka, learn of the possible perils of a pioneering spirit with Ric Friar and meet inspiring blind Basque ripper Aitor Francesca.
Then back in the British Isles, we’ll take a trip to Ireland, via West Penwith – where the unique culture and geography have seen new waves of pioneering characters arrive with every new era.
Finally, we’ll take a revealing look at the Momentum Generation and their enduring impact on our sport, before rounding things out with a classic Autumn road trip to Scotland to remind you there’s still abundant joy to be found in already broken-ground. – LG
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On the cover: Koa Rothman by Josh Tabone.