Once upon a time the only way to stay in touch with the surfing world was to get a copy of the latest surf magazine from a shop or a friend. These paper publications were treasured and stored safely in cupboards or proudly displayed on coffee tables for years after their release. Surf magazines never get old.
Everything changed with the advent of the internet, when anyone (us included) could suddenly start an online surf magazine or blog and contribute to the conversation. We are now overwhelmed with options, from clips on Facebook to dreamy scenes on Instagram. Everyone is a creator and the challenge for surf media is staying fresh and relevant in an age where attention spans are short and competition is fierce.
Here are a list of publications who are keeping up with the pace. Happy reading.
Table of Contents
Known as “the bible of the sport,” SURFER Magazine has been the foremost authority on surf culture since its founding in 1960. Every issue is packed with award-winning photography, provocative interviews, and travel features to the world’s most exotic surf locales.
Our verdict: Surfer is legendary and helped shape surf culture as we know it. Their website has a good blog section to match the print mag, which can sometimes be a little heavy on the ads.
The Surfer’s Journal
As a reader-supported surf publication, The Surfer’s Journal is a truly unique periodical. It’s an independent take on the surfing experience with just six sponsors, making each 132-page issue almost entirely editorial. We delve into topics that get little attention elsewhere, covering travel adventures, surfboard design, profiles of surfing’s most colorful subjects, and the choicest surf photography in every issue. Coupled with the premium construction, The Surfer’s Journal is a product that is peerless in its quality and content.
Subscribers enjoy six issues a year as well as digital features, complete access to the magazine archives, discounts on merchandise, back issues, and our Masters of Surf Photography prints and books.
Our verdict: Youth focused and high energy, this magazine accurately reflects the surfing life of Australian youth.
Tracks is a monthly Australian surf magazine, promoting itself as “the surfers’ bible.” It is published by Nextmedia.
Tracks was established in October 1970 by Alby Falzon, John Witzig, and David Elfick, starting as a kind of counterculture tabloid, printed on newsprint and produced on Sydney’s northern beaches. Since then it has grown to be a major surfing publication.
Our verdict: Love it or hate it, old copies of Tracks survive in the remotest surf destinations around the world. A blokey magazine, it was the bible of surfing for Aussies and influenced many of the world’s best.
A worldwide surfing magazine published by WL Media, based in Newquay, Cornwall. Wavelength was established in 1981 and consider themselves to be Europe’s orginal surf magazine.
Our verdict: Clean design and in-depth features, Wavelength are less about girls in bikinis and more about real surf adventure.
Zigzag surfing magazine was started in 1976 and inspired by a meeting with the publisher of a Hawaiian tabloid magazine named Backdoor. The headquarters is in Durban.
The original team was Paul Naude, Mike Larmont and Doug MacDonald. They set up shop in the rooftop of Larmont’s surfboard factory, working nights while keeping their daytime jobs. Initially the magazine was tabloid-sized and released quarterly.
In 2014, after 38 years of publishing, Zigzag has only had six Editors. It remains South Africa’s most successful surfing publication.
Our verdict: Despite a rocky road and much turmoil to stay afloat, the passion of the South African surf community kept this gem alive. For groms in South Africa, ZigZag has always been the next best thing to actually going surfing.
SurfGirl was founded in 2002. The magazine targets women of all ages and abilities who are into surfing and surf culture. It features news, travel articles, interviews with professional surfers and UK riders, surfing tips, beauty and health advice, and articles on fashion.
SurfGirl is published four times a year and has international distribution. The magazine is published by Orca Publications at their Berry Road Studios, in Newquay, Cornwall.
Our verdict: A quality surf publication featuring great design and in-depth features. Particularly good are the surfer profiles.
CARVE Magazine is the UK’s best selling, biggest and brightest surf title. Featuring bleeding edge surf photography, top-notch features and all the best bits we can find in the surfing world. Backed up by carvemag.com where you’ll find surf vids, guides and heaps more good gravy. The mag is also in Apple’s Newsstand and available on all platforms through PocketMags.
Freesurf Magazine made its debut in 2002. Born on the North Shore of O‘ahu – the surf Mecca of the world – Freesurf is dialed into the global surf community and is the authority on Hawai’i’s surfers and beach culture. The only surf publication in the world produced on the North Shore, Freesurf delivers authentic surf coverage from the front lines and throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
The monthly publication promotes a young, free and energetic lifestyle. The content is informative and captivating, while remaining family friendly. Freesurf Magazine prints 20,000 copies per month, which are distributed free to 400-500 of locations in Hawai‘i, Southern California and the East Coast. In Hawai’i, where the bulk of magazines are distributed, our locations include all Jamba Juice shops, surfshops, and other specialty stores. You can find Freesurf in hundreds of surfshops in Southern California as well as the East Coast.
The magazine also has prominent distribution at Agenda and Surf Expo trade shows, and is on hand at surf and beach events in Hawai’i throughout the year.
Surf Simply Magazine bring you news and opinion from the world of surf culture, characters, competition and coaching.
Technical surfing, taught simply… Coaching, of a standard as high as you could receive in any main stream sport, is now available for surfing. Surf Simply’s beautiful, all inclusive, surf coaching resort in Nosara, Costa Rica has changed the way people think about surf camps. A tide of excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, articulate surf coaching podcasts on iTunes, features in Outside Magazine, Indagare and The New York Times as well as being included in the NYT’s top 45 places to visit, says a lot about this next generation surf school.
’SUP Magazine, Inc. is an annual print publication and website that intimately documents contemporary music culture. ‘SUP was founded by Marisa Brickman in 1998 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The magazine re-located to New York City in 2000 and now has staff around the world with offices in New York City and London.’SUP is distributed through Export Press in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Toronto, Tokyo and other select cities around the world through a network of specialty bookshops and newsstands.
NYC’s McNally Jackson said of the content “its editors and writers not only truly care about contemporary music, but have vibrant points of view on the subject worth reading” and Opening Ceremony said, “Established as totally approachable and fulfilling, the magazine maintains the aesthetic of a cool casualness.”
In 2004, ’SUP began working with NYC-based design agency An Art Service who are responsible for the creative direction of the magazine.
’SUP has been featured and reviewed in music, style and trend publications. MagCulture featured ‘SUP MAGAZINE 20 as the magazine of the week and ‘SUP MAGAZINE 22 as one of the best covers of 2010. The ’SUP staff appeared in an article in Visionaire Magazine’s Issue 37 as an indie publishing powerhouse, and has been reviewed on Coolhunting.com.
‘SUP has collaborated on projects with Nike, Diesel UK, Fox Searchlight, Agnès B & Bless.
Whether it’s hiring a chopper and shooting Taj Burrow from the Angle of God (issue one), or throwing a blindfolded Bruce Irons over the ledge at Chopes (issue 56), Stab‘s driven by the search for an answer to the question: How sumptuous can surfing be?
Stab may be put together by a bunch of narcissistic and morally corrupt humans, but goddamn it, if we ain’t the most obsessive collective you ever did see…
Matt Warshaw wrote a book called Encyclopedia of Surfing. It was huge and informative, sold well, and got excellent reviews. Then he did a book called History of Surfing, and ditto. Way before that, he wrote Above the Roar, which was all Q&A pieces with surfers. It was self-published and cute and vanished without a trace.
Warshaw turned the Encyclopedia of Surfing into a website and lo, it was good. History of Surfing followed, then Above the Roar. Three websites, linked up, a digital power trio, heavy and awesome, like Cream but without all the inter-band fighting.
In 2007, a cultural surf and style icon was born. Catch surf was conceived by George Arzente in Laguna Beach, California and is headquartered in San Clemente, California, USA.
For the last 10 years, catch surf has pioneered and led the soft surfboard movement with its fun-focused and stylish line of high-performance surfboards. Catch surf has attracted the world’s top pros and surf personalities to its team; which continues to push the company’s ethos to the max; by surfing massive waves, doing huge airs and simply having more fun than anyone else.
Catch surf carries this same avant-garde attitude towards fashion with its premium line of men’s clothing in a timeless and classic surf-prep style all its own.
Catch surf boards and clothing can be found at finer surf shops, online at catchsurf.com and at its laguna beach flagship store.
Drift is a coming together of the things we love. It is about ‘surfing everything’. Longboards, single fins, old-school, twinnies, quads, bonzers, brand spanking new or a plank of wood – whatever floats your board. If it brings a smile to your face then you are doing it right.
Our readers’ waves are the backbone and the inspiration here at Drift HQ. We have scoured the UK and beyond for the best stories, the characters, the pioneers and the innovators who blend or battle the oceans for love alone. Drift is a unique insight into different angles of you, the real people who are, week in, week out, making the waves your home.
Surfd was founded in 2003 by author and travel writer Bradley Hook.
Together with a dedicated team of freelance and regular writers we aim to bring you fresh perspectives and inspiration for a lifetime of surfing.
This surf blog brings you stories and insights from the surfing lifestyle. We explore intrepid surf destinations, feature surfboard and product reviews, interview creative people from the surfing world, and publish regular articles about improving your performance.
SALT SURF’s goal has always been to create something that people can connect with and see themselves in. It’s attempted to carve a niche in the market that is inclusive, open-minded and straightforward. Originally started in New York City in 2011, the aim was to deliver quality-made, progressive boards. At the time, SALT SURF was run entirely out of a single room that functioned as a studio, showroom, office and bedroom.
Since those early days, SALT SURF has grown out of that small studio, but still maintains it’s original vision. With boards made in California, and the founder himself a native Californian, SALT SURF is strongly influenced by New York and California cultures.
Errant Surf Travel is the only UK company solely dedicated to creating amazing,and hassle-free surf trips. We are motivated and passionate about finding the right experience for each and every client.
We cater for individuals, couples, families and groups and can recommend and build the perfect solution for you, whether you are a first time surfer or a pro searching for that perfect surf holiday.
As surfers ourselves, we have traveled the world so know first hand about all the big and the little things that make all the difference when you’re on a surf trip. Errant as a company has evolved from this personal experience so we are dedicated to finding and providing all the best destinations, the right lessons and the perfect breaks. All of our ground teams have been selected because they share our ethos and as your hosts, like us, they want to ensure you have the very best holiday possible.
Through our partnership with the Star Surf Camps no other surf tour operator holds as much surf knowledge as we do, and we’re here to share that with you. Our business is built on recommendation so it’s essential that we provide you with the best information and the perfect solutions.
Surf with Amigas is the place for adventurous women to come together and encourage each other to fulfill their goals. It’s about empowerment, creating connections, learning to attract awesome into your life, and living in the moment. You will learn about yourself, overcome fears, and connect to a network of surfing Amigas that will support and inspire you to achieve your goals in surfing and in life.
White Horses is a beautifully-crafted, timeless, quarterly publication inspired by the ocean, creativity, adventure and the environment.
“While magazines get thinner, cheaper and their content becomes shallower, White Horses remains steadfastly premium. While magazines seek to prop up declining sales with more advertising content, White Horses limits it’s advertising to a mere 10% of it’s total page count. We view ourselves as a reader-supported publication. Knowing that we exist only because you choose to buy White Horses, keeps us focused on you, the reader, our most valued customer.”