Surfing may indeed, as Michael Adno writes in the foreword to the new book On Surfing (Indoek, 2020), be a “brilliant waste of time.” Adno, a dogged journalist whose formidable surf writing has appeared in the Surfer’s Journal, is paraphrasing a quote sometimes attributed to Miklos Dora. But it could have been coined by any number of luminescent surf personalities. As the new book of interviews Adno’s put together alongside Surf Shacks curator Matt Titone makes clear, actual wave riding is just one aspect of surfing, In fact, it’s often an afterthought.
“There’s much more to surf culture than just surfing,” Adno writes.
Over the course of 25 interviews conducted by Adno–with illustrations of each interviewee by Titone–On Surfing is interested in what Adno calls “the fault lines that undergird the entire sport.” The takes range from earnestness to irreverence. Surf stars like Mikey February and Stephanie Gilmore humbly talk about approaching surfing as a lifelong learners or, in Gilmore’s telling, as an “unaccomplished” surfer. Multi-hyphenates like filmmaker-artist-surfer Thomas Campbell, who can be downright cryptic in interviews, sound ever-so solemn when discussing this particular obsession.
There’s plenty of surfers waxing existential on surfing that readers will recognize–Gerry Lopez, Jamie Brisick, Derek Hynd, Bob McTavish–and surf media figures aplenty–Matt Warshaw (Encyclopedia of Surfing), Scott Hulet (Surfer’s Journal), Mariah Ernst (TSJ contributor), Ashton Goggans (Stab) Zach Weisberg (The Inertia). Northeast Floridians are well-represented too, with Justin Quintal, Karina Petroni, and Lauren Hill dispensing wisdom gleaned from our own waterborne region.
Like everything Indoek does, On Surfing is a visual treat, a tangible print product that provides inspiration and escapism. It’s surely destined for your coffee table.
On Surfing: A collection of interviews with surfing luminaries is available at the Void Pop-Up Shop or through Void’s web store HERE.