Former SURFER Magazine editor Matt Warshaw is considered by many to be one of the top surf historians in the game.
In 2003, Warshaw’s project The Encyclopedia of Surfing was published to rave reviews. With more than fifteen hundred entries, it delineates the entire history of surfing in a mere half-million words. It’s become the industry standard in surfing reference, a solid resource for any surf historian or journalist. The compiled works cover history, culture, commentary and more, with entries ranging from the Beach Boys to Sex Wax and most everything in between.
But ask Warshaw and he’ll tell you that now, like many things from 2003, his book is collecting dust. In keeping with the times, he’s going digital.
Here’s Warshaw’s vision: a constantly updated, searchable online archive of surf, with all of the content from his original book as well as media and stories from the now. An e-cyclopedia with supplemental photography and video from some of the most esteemed lenses in the sport. Warshaw claims he’ll keep it core—clean, functional, and ad-free. The original Encyclopedia, reborn for the digital age.
The project is already making steady strides. Along with the grinding hours Warshaw put into his homemade iMovie project trailer, the site has already been designed, with archive info uploaded and new content in the works.
But there’s no such thing as a free website, and Warshaw is looking for funding to help launch the project. He’s set up shop on Kickstarter, where he hopes surfers will pledge their monies to become investors in their own history.
Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, where people pledge dollar support to independent projects of all shapes and sizes. The funding is all or nothing—a project must meet its set goal before the deadline, or no money changes hands. For Warshaw, that means at least $20,000 must be pledged by Wednesday, Dec. 7 for his dream to become a reality.