beachie keen

This time last year, I decided to treat myself with a subscription to SURFER Magazine. Growing up in the Southeast in the 90s, I was always fascinated by surf culture and the sun drenched Cali-vibe lifestyle; however, it wasn’t anything that seemed worth indulging or investing in. But I have also always loved the idea of magazine subscriptions, and especially value the tangible experience of a magazine in the midst of so much digital information. For the first few months of 2016, my subscription to SURFER gave me something to look forward to, and a means to forget about the disappointments and confining [or seemingly confining] elements of my actual life.

What I wasn’t expecting was the expansion that comes when you really decide to own the ways that you’re put together, and find ways to enjoy what naturally sparks joy in you. This is by no means an Ode to SURFER. Ha. In some ways, SURFER Magazine epitomizes the presumption, privilege, and underrepresentation that are present in Western surf culture. Nevertheless, I felt challenged to venture outside of my comfort zone and not give much thought to the fact that my genuine love for surf culture, history, craftsmanship, and aesthetic is not always consistent with other people’s ideas of who I am. 

What started with a $15 magazine subscription grew into a full year of enjoying the distinct, NorCal/Bay Area energy of Ocean Beach, streaming World Surf League events, stumbling across some pretty dope and inspiring lifestyle brands, and learning. I have learned so much about myself and the tension I experience between not caring what people think at all, but also being very self-conscious about certain things. I have learned about environmental and sustainability issues I haven’t heretofore paid much attention to; and I have discovered some amazing music, photography, film, and sportsmanship all related to the expression, storytelling, and artistry that come out of the surf community.

I’m honestly SUPER stoked to continue this passion project of becoming a legit, well versed surf historian, and also continuing to lean into the increasing joy and authenticity of embracing my inner surf enthusiast!! 

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