Preserving Surf History and Culture Is More Fun Than It Sounds

To say that Matt Warshaw’s “Encyclopedia of Surfing” goes deep into any and every obscure corner of surfing history would be understating things. Ever heard of a “Lazor Zap”? Well, if you punch those two words into the EOS search bar, you’ll find a 500-word entry on the bizarre, triangle-shaped surfboard designed by Australian shaper Geoff McCoy and popularized by former World No. 2 Cheyne Horan. From there, maybe you click Horan’s “Above the Roar” interview on the left side of the page and find a fascinating conversation about Horan’s journey with unorthodox boards, getting dropped by his sponsors for being gay (despite the fact that he wasn’t) and using “mind-expanders” to get in rhythm with the ocean. From there it’s a choose-your-own-adventure of surf history rabbit holes: pro surfing’s stand against South Africa’s Apartheid, the 1986 Op Pro riots in Huntington Beach, etc., etc.

You see, the thing about surf history is that it’s interesting as hell. The other thing about surf history is that it would be completely scattered, much of the good stuff relegated to boxes of old surf magazines and long-forgotten film reels rotting in garages around the world if it weren’t for Warshaw. Thankfully, using his deep knowledge of surf history, his connections to the global surf community and his online platforms, Warshaw is able to not only find this stuff, but to put it into context, to gussy it up and make it digestible, to weave it into the greater story of surfing culture throughout history.

That’s why, if you’re the curious type with even a passing interest in surfing history, it’s worthwhile to subscribe and/or donate to EOS. Sure, you’d be doing surfing writ large a solid by funding the preservation and expansion of its most definitive historical documents, but more than that, you’d be giving yourself access to all these entertaining-as-hell rabbit holes of surf obscurity. I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to EOS to research something I was writing, only to click my way into a highly-enjoyable oblivion, popping out an hour or two later with all the info I needed for my piece, as well as a whole lot that I didn’t but found compelling nonetheless.

An EOS subscription costs $3 per month or $30 for the whole year (insert cliche cup of coffee price comparison here). That’s not much for access to a nearly endless amount of interesting reading material about surfing, not to mention the smug feeling of satisfaction you’ll get namedropping things like the Lazor Zap in the parking lot with your surf buddies. With the extra coin, Warshaw plans on expanding his operation, bringing in some help, doing more research, digitizing more film archives, creating new EOS entries and growing his new sections of the site focused on surfboard design and contests. So do yourself (and surfing) a favor by clicking here to subscribe, or here to donate.

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