It's not everyday someone lays a 358 page magazine at your fingertips, but SURFER has made this treat a yearly ritual. In fact, SURFER Magazine drops its annual behemoth of a periodical on coffee tables across the world this week – ushering in the lazy days of summer with a lifetime's worth of spectacular images and surf wisdom in its oversized collector's edition.
With features ranging from a glimpse into the post-tour life of one of surfing's most qualified ambassadors via icon Rob Machado, to coverage of a massive swell at Cloudbreak that Fiji veteran Jeff Booth called, "The best [he's] ever seen it," this monster has it all. The magazine even investigates the hypothetical scenario of a world without professional surfers, but Editor Chris Mauro seems most excited about the cover story, "67 Things You Must Do Before Your Last Ride."
Mauro comments, "I didn't want to do a serious 25 most influential surfers type of list where everything becomes an intense debate. This list is fun. Surfing is a lifetime commitment for a lot of our readers and by going over this list you can kind of track your progress in the journey. The list can ultimately be seen as your report card – where you read through it and say, 'Ah, there's something I haven't done yet, I think I'll do that,' and you can figure out where you stand." The list outlines different staples of the surfing life course with milestones like getting yourself fired to catching your own dinner, but it most effectively spells out a trajectory that every surfer can relate to. Some of these items can be checked off within a few days of that first ride, while others require a lifetime of dedication to the sport.
When asked about the process of creating the annual Big Issue Editor Chris Mauro described it as somewhat of a nightmare – albeit a rewarding one. "It feels like we go underground for two months. We don't see our wives, kids, sunlight, and we even miss a few sessions. But it's neat because it comes out right at the beginning of summer. It's that first piece of fruit of the season because the days are long, the sun is out, and we want to motivate you to get in the water. Whether you're a kid or an adult there is something for everyone in this issue."
The change in format and momentous tone of the Big Issue brings surfing's most popular season to readers in a more deferential way. Acknowledging the routine nature of monthly surfing periodicals, the Big Issue refuses to paint the sport of surfing in ordinary colors. It's the one issue that, by nature, must live on as a benchmark for the year in surfing. Whether it lives on as a coffee table centerpiece for eternity, or as scattered pages tacked onto a bulletin board, getting through the 358 pages of sweat and tubes in SURFER Magazine's 2006 Big Issue should round out number 68 on the list of things to do before your last wave.
Check out some more sneak peak photos from the big issue below