Australia's Surfing Life
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Surfing Life, formerly Australia’s Surfing Life, the magazine was founded in 1985 by Peter Morrison In 2016 it was purchased, along with White Horses magazine by Morrison Media publisher and General Manager Craig Sims (former owner of Atoll Media, publisher of Zigzag), and his Morrison Media colleagues Graeme Murdoch (White Horses Editor) and Rob Bain (Ad sales and marketing). The company, aqualuna media & creative, is based on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The first issue of Surfing Life appeared in August 1985.
The concept for Surfing Life stemmed from Peter Morrison’s desire, in the mid-80s, to find a balance between the glossy, high-quality publications that took months to come out, and the newspaper print, low-quality publications that came out more regularly. The result was a colourful, high-quality print product with high-production values, and a unique, witty, colourful tone, endemic to the title, one that continues to this very day.
The magazine’s frequency began as quarterly, before becoming bi-monthly early in 1987, and monthly in August 1992. It changed in 2015 when Sims developed a unique publishing model based on the five pillars of the surfing experience: Surfers, Surfboards, Waves, Technique and Surf Travel. Surfing Life is now published five times a year with each issue dedicated to one of these five topics. The publishing model is predicated on the hypothesis that in order for magazines to survive in the digital age, they need to be specialised enough to contain the quality, depth and substance you can’t find on the internet, and is worth paying for. Surfing Life also exists across multiple media channels (print, web, social and events).
Fittingly, for a parochially Gold Coast-based magazine, the first issue of Surfing Life featured local surfer Todd Lee getting barrelled at Kirra. Over the years, however, numerous surfing legends, as well as current and future stars, from around the world, have graced Page 1, including: Shane Herring, Mark Occhilupo, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Ozzie Wright, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, John John Florence and more.
Throughout the magazine’s 30 year + history, it has been the workplace of many of Australia’s great surf-writing and photography talents. Previous editors include Mike Perry, Tim Baker, Derek Reilly, Andrew Farrell, Jon Jenkins, Nick Carroll, Jimmy O’Keefe, Tim Fisher, Chris Binns and Wade Davis, Ryan Jones and Craig Braithwaite. It has also been the breeding ground for progressive ideas. The Surfing Life Bibles (surfboards, wetsuits, boardshorts and travel), Peer Poll, Big Wave Awards, websites and apps all helped to cement the brand's reputation as an innovator and early adoptor.
Surfing Life targets the active and engaged surfer of all ages and genders because they all share a common aspirational ideal. Surfing Life's purpose is "to make you a better surfer" and it does this by imparting knowledge that makes a real difference the surfing lives of its readers.