Editor's note: I caught up with SURFER editor Chris Mauro to discuss the production of the biggest surf publication ever. The 45th Anniversary Big Issue of SURFER Magazine, featuring "45 Years of Legend and Lore," is on sale the first week of July 2005 at surf shops and newsstands everywhere.
SURFERMAG.COM: Chris, you and the staff have just finished SURFER's Annual Big Issue: "45 Years of Legend and Lore." Why don't you talk a little bit about the theme of this year's Big Issue?
CHRIS MAURO: The idea behind legends and lore is, you know, as much as we here at SURFER Magazine try to do our part regarding surf history and tales for posterity, I think every surf community has their own legends and lore and sometimes these stories grow and become part of a grander surf tale, sort of surfing's urban legend, and some don't bubble to the top or out to the wider circle. Our surf history is passed down through a storytelling process; really that is part of being a surfer is being able to spin a yarn and tell funny, quirky surf stories. That's why we find ourselves sitting in the lineup a little longer than we should, or loitering in surf shops or in the parking lot into the night. The idea for us was to celebrate 45 years of storytelling. We looked for stories that define each era of SURFER's four-and-a-half decades.
SURFERMAG.COM: What is your favorite yarn or story in this issue?
CHRIS MAURO: I've got a few, so many. I like the story about the phrase "Eddie Would Go." That's probably my favorite one, if I had to choose just one. They are all really cool though. I really think the one about Cheyne Horan predicting the future at a wave pool in 1985 is pretty funny. And Greg Noll trying to steal the formula for foam blanks from Grubby Clark by getting him drunk, that's an interesting one. I go back and forth on that; there are so many good ones.
SURFERMAG.COM: I notice there are a lot of great archival photographs. Organizing those must have been a painstaking process. Tell us a little bit about that.
CHRIS MAURO: That's one of the best parts of working at this magazine is tapping into legendary photographers, whether it is Steve Wilkings or Art Brewer or Jeff Divine.
SURFERMAG.COM: Certainly there is a lot of anticipation, a lot of late nights, a lot of internal politicking. What was the hardest part of putting this issue together?
CHRIS MAURO: The hardest part is putting those feelers out there trying to wade through all the stories and define eras with them. It is not like these tales are riveting surf history. That's already been done. We weren't trying to regurgitate surf history. People have done that. People know that stuff. Rather, we are trying to give people a feel for what it was like in each era through story. And of course because it is the biggest issue ever, the biggest surf publication in history, it is a grand affair just pulling it all together.
SURFERMAG.COM: What story or stories just didn't make the final cut?
CHRIS MAURO: There were so many that didn't make it that were hilarious, like scrawny little Jimmy Hogan wrestling guys at Burleigh Heads in 1985; he basically made the crew there stand down, that type of story, tons of funny stuff like that. We knew going into it that there was no way we could tell every story, and there are tons that just as easily could have made the cut, but the idea was to get people's juices flowing so that they can remember their own stories.
SURFERMAG.COM: Is there pressure to make the Big Issue bigger and better each year?
CHRIS MAURO: There is definitely pressure for us to make the Big Issue special, and this one is an anniversary issue so it allows us to take a look back. I always enjoy that and I think our readers enjoy looking back too. I think it is important because we have a whole new generation and a new wave of people coming into the sport, especially in the last five years, so it's important that they know what kind of tribe and what kind of club they are joining, and really that is SURFER's responsibility, it always has been.