You young’uns might not remember, but eight years ago, Alek Parker, Jerry Ricciotti, and friends released a little movie by the name of The Best Laid Plans. As we said in our 2007 ESeMMY Awards, the 50-minute film represented the quintessential East Coast experience — and not just because of all the sick surfing, stunning cinematography, and globetrotting good times. (We’ll give the ultra baggy shorts and creepy jazz hands on the cover a pass; it was 2007, after all.) No, The Best Laid Plans personified the schizophrenia inherent to our perpetual chase better than any film before or since. The way we drop everything when a glimmer of hope appears on the charts. Neglect normal life in pursuit of that elusive combination of offshore winds and pumping swell. Drive eight hours for the chance at one day of barrels. This is built into our DNA as surfers — even more so as East Coasters.
As a surf magazine and website, that sort of flexibility is just as critical. Before the end of October, we figured we’d be scrapping our annual hurricane feature entirely — with barely a blip on the tropical radar all summer, what the hell would we run, anyways? So we came up with an issue’s worth of other compelling ideas… that were then scrapped when Hurricane Joaquin stormed the scene in late September and early October, stuffing our photographic coffers with A-grade shots. In the space of two weeks, we went from having zero print-worthy hurricane images to having a hundred. Even better, we had a whole host of surfers and photographers literally frothing at the mouth to talk about their experience before, during, and after the epic Joaquin swell. Which comes back to that whole best laid plans thing.
Sometimes the most memorable experiences are the ones that arise spontaneously. The barrel that you didn’t think you’d make. The surf trip that came together on a whim. The third session you didn’t think you’d indulge in. The turn you accidentally pushed past your normal breaking point. The sandbar you never would have thought to surf. The air you didn’t mean to land. The swell-tide-wind combo you didn’t think would materialize. These are the tales we’ll never get tired of telling. These are the moments we’ll remember forever. And thanks to digital technology, more of them are being recorded than ever before. Which means we have more of them to share with you.
Hopefully you enjoy looking at and reading about these moments as much as we enjoyed packaging them in this issue for your pleasure. If there’s one thing to be said for plans being changed and unexpected directions being pursued, it’s that the entire process ends up delivering such a gratifying hit of intoxication. Which means you’re constantly in search of the next fix. And as long as you’re chasing something as pure as surfing, no addiction could be healthier.