Forward. It’s a word that has been written on my bedroom wall and placed as a screensaver on my phone at different times throughout my life, serving as a personal maxim, because it’s been my goal to grow, to advance, to push, to become more knowledgeable and more skillful in every area of my life on a consistent basis.
This way of thinking began after catching my first wave at Waikiki so many years ago, because after riding a watery wall of energy atop a longboard, I remember desperately wanting to develop the skill, and that thought process inadvertently spilled over into other areas of my life, including when I picked up a surf magazine for the first time. Flipping through the pages, I was instantly mesmerized.
To become an editor, my young mind knew that it would require much, like learning about nouns and verbs and direct objects and gerunds and adjectives and adverbs and why this sentence is grammatically incorrect and so forth. So I studied, I read, I took chances, I prayed and today, I’m the Editor of the pages you’re reading. But achieving the title hasn’t stopped my forward thinking; it’s accelerated it. Each and every issue, my goal for the magazine and all its intricacies – headlines, themes, content and more – is to be exponentially better than the previous issue. Though it’s a maddening notion, it’s an incredible motivational tool.
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Forward is also the goal of our collective staff here at Freesurf. On top of creating monthly Board Stories television episodes, we’re also churning out heaps of social media gems daily, from the best wipeouts of the week to the tubes of the week and more. While other publications have pulled back to only creating 4-8 print editions throughout the year, our foot is pressed on the gas pedal: we’re continuing to print 12 issues per year, and of course, the magazine is #stillfree. We’re also placing an emphasis on lengthy in-depth editorial coverage – otherwise known as longform – in the magazine, so that you can have a behind the scenes look at our sport’s most celebrated athletes while having your morning acai bowl or cruising the beach before sunset.
In this issue, geared towards what we’ve been waiting for all year: winter, we highlight athletes amongst our Hawaiian surf community that exemplify this forward-thinking mentality. Like Billy Kemper (page 36), who has “never been so focused, so determined and so confident in the ocean” heading into this winter season, and Kai Lenny, who has been pushing the boundaries of both what his body can do and what it means to be a waterman (page 42). We showcase the latest and greatest board innovations in our Winter Beach and Board Buyer’s Guide (page 62), and we also talk story with Brodi Sale (page 74) and Brittany Penaroza (page 78) to discuss their goals in surfing and how they plan on achieving them, because after all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Indeed, winter is coming, and that means the HIC Pro, the Vans Triple Crown, the Pe’ahi Challenge, the crowning of a World Champion and more are just ahead, with the world’s best surfers showcasing how they’ve progressed since the last winter at waves of consequences like Pipeline, Sunset and more.
Throughout the season, we’ll be in the sandy trenches with a camera, recorder and/or pen, bringing you along for the ride through our various media channels. As a staff, we plan on continuing to push the envelope in our own way, today, tomorrow, next month and on and on, with a simple, underlying motivation: forever forward.