Eight years ago I was a postman. I was a postman with a silly dream. Frustrated with the results I was getting from the waterproof disposable camera that I’d tie to the back zip cord of my wetsuit, and then attempt to flick round and catch when I popped up on my surfboard, I had decided to ditch the board, buy some swim fins and invest in a digital camera. Any afternoon there was surf, bleary eyed from the early morning post round, I would head down to the beach and swim out with my new camera. Surfing took second place to surf photography. My Royal Mail sorting booth gradually became adorned with my amateur photos of waves to remind me that there was more to life than working.
And naive though it was, I had a silly dream. I wanted to get one of my photos published in a surf magazine. The surf magazine I read. Wavelength. I hassled the then editor, Steve Bough, who very kindly responded to my rookie attempts with words of encouragement. I contacted the surf photographers whose shots inspired me, people like Tim Nunn, Roger Sharp, Mike Newman and Kirstin Prisk, who all took time to come back to me with advice and tips to improve. And finally, in Issue 148, I had a photo published in Wavelength — a portrait of an old tattooed surfer in his Speedos. I couldn’t have been more proud.
“I’m sorry, I lied.
This literally is my dream job.”
For eight years since then, I have suffered from stress, felt pressure from the workload, and missed plenty of good surfs, but essentially, though I would rarely admit it to myself, I have been living the dream. For all those friends I denied it to, worried that I might sound arrogant — I’m sorry, I lied. This literally is my dream job. Has been my dream job. For this issue is my last at Wavelength.
As soon as I became editor here, I realised that I was merely a privileged custodian for an icon of British surfing which has been part of surfers‘ lives for over 30 years. With it came a huge responsibility, but also an understanding that I would only ever play a small part in its long history. Proud of where we have taken Wavelength over the last three years, it’s time for me to paddle in and let someone else surf this editorial peak for a while. And it fills me with excitement and reassurance to know that that person, the editor who’ll take you surfing from next issue onwards, is the guy who has been the most responsible for guiding my life way beyond my dreams — Tim Nunn.
People have asked me — why would you leave a dream job in surfing when you’re a surfer? But I have learnt a lot in my time here. I’ve learnt the technical intricacies of manoeuvres which I’ll never achieve in reality, but can now nail every time in my sleep. I’ve learnt that I can get as stoked to go surfing from Kat Conway as I can from Kelly Slater.I’ve learnt what each curve of a surfboard does. And I’ve learnt that despite this, sometimes you can have a terrible surf on an £800 board, and an epic surf on a plank of wood.
But the most important thing I’ve learnt as editor, is that you don’t have to live, breathe and sleep ‘surfing’ to be a surfer — you really don’t. Surfing is so potent an ingredient, that even the smallest amount can improve the taste of your life. Whether you’re an office worker, a shoe salesman, an editor of a surf magazine, or a postman with a silly dream…you’ll always be a surfer.
Editor (and silly dreamer)