A Conversation With Alex Smith

All Photos: Corey Wilson
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Collectively, over one billion people use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Frigyes Karinthy's theory of the "six degrees of separation"— which states that everyone and everything are six or fewer steps away from any other person or thing — rings truer now than ever before.

Thanks to the power of the Internet and this one click connection, new careers are forged everyday. Justin Bieber. Kate Upton. Carly Rae Jepsen. Gangnam Style. Shit, in our small surf world even heavy hitters like Chippa Wilson got their start with a foot in the web. With limited editorial space in magazines worldwide and only 32 surfers lucky enough to call the ASP World Tour home, the Internet is quickly becoming a pro surfers best friend. It's allowed Anastasia Ashley a portal to twerk to the tune of 4 million views, and given brothers Alex and Koa Smith (along with their filmer, Dtrean) a platform to create one of the most popular web series of today. We caught up with Alex to get his thoughts on the online edit, and what's in store next for the boys behind lastnamefirst.tv. —Zander Morton

SURFING Magazine: Corey Wilson [Surfing Mag Senior Photographer] just came into the office with some behind-the-scenes photos for your next web edit in which two bikini clad ladies were twerking upside down against a wall. Very interesting approach.
Alex Smith:[Laughs] Yeah… I don't know if that stuff will make the cut. We'll see.

In regards to online edits, a lot of pro surfers are pumping out consistent content, whereas you and Koa have been releasing less frequently and with an obvious focus on production value.
Our goal is to release edits that are DVD quality; we want them to be good enough to stand alone in a surf movie. We take our time, go to places for a month and film every single day. We focus on good surfing and interesting lifestyle, and then spend a lot of time afterwards just finding the right song. We're really picky throughout the whole process.

It's smart, these days a high quality edit is a readily available marketing tool, and one you have complete control over. Look at Creed McTaggart, he released his White Dove edit back in March and has been blowing up since.
Definitely. And that's our focus, just getting our surfing out there. If you make something that goes viral, you're going to get a lot of attention. In Creed's case, the exposure was equal to winning a big contest. That was like winning a world tour event. Look at where he is now. That edit definitely kick started it all.

It’s good too because in a contest, you don't get to show people how you really surf. When you go and film, you can choose what people get to see. We love contests, but it's cool that we live in a day and age where we have the option to produce our own content.

What can we expect from the next release?
It's a South of the Border edit, and we're definitely excited about it. We got good footage in Puerto and Nicaragua and it's coming along really well.

Have you noticed a consistent increase in traffic with each release?
Yeah. The best have gotten over 100,000 views, and most of the others are in in the 60,000 to 80,000 range. We're stoked on those numbers, but looking to increase them in any way possible. Next year we want to keep making web edits, and hopefully by 2015 we'll be making a movie. That's our goal. We're just now working out budgets and sponsors for the movie.

You guys are notorious for having hot women strewn throughout every release. Can we expect that to continue?
[Laughs] Our main goal is to make sure our stuff has a different feel. There's the John John style edits where the surfing is just unbelievable, but we want to do what we can to add other aspects to that — whether it's including girls or showing really cool lifestyle. Those extra things add to the style of our videos and will hopefully keep them unique. And yeah, girls definitely help gain a few extra views [Laughs].

The photo shoot you just admired went down at Shotwell Creative. Look for the next LNF edit to drop on August 26t right here at surfingmagazine.com