A Surfing Zine Is Born

‘Wild True Now’ Commemorates Soul-Searching Summer Surf Trip

Next Thursday, February 18, a group of multitalented, artistically inclined surfers — including Indy writer Ethan Stewart — will celebrate the release of their new, pocket-sized surf zine, WildTrue Now, at M. Special Brewing Company in Goleta at 8 p.m. The zine is a new frontier for the gang of Rincon surf buddies, who memorialized in their Moleskine-sized zine a powerful soul-surfing excursion the group shared in Central America and Australia during the summer of 2014.

The content of Wild True Now began as a joint piece for international surf magazine Slide, which hired Stewart and writer Donnie Hedden to document the group’s spiritually healing quest for waves. The friends sought surf to commemorate new life chapters, with half combing Central American beaches and half searching Australian ones. Stewart was, at the time, recovering from a bout of pancreatic cancer, and surfed to reclaim the waters the disease had so painfully withheld from him for years. Another was hitting his 40th birthday; another had his first child due in three weeks; and one simply wanted to taste his first proper barrel.

Additionally, the trip came at a time that S.B. was in year four of a lackluster surfing season. “There was this real sense of a crust building over your surf life here in S.B. Things were just dry and dead, and you needed to get away… In a way, our trips were representative of this larger exodus away from S.B.,” Stewart said.

But before Slide could publish Stewart and Hedden’s pieces, the magazine folded. The group found themselves with a meaningful body of work but no pages to host it — so they decided to make their own. “We had a graphic designer, a musician, two professional photographers, and we started to play with the idea of, wouldn’t it be fun to be in charge of our own destiny?” Stewart said. “It was a completely self-produced affair. The people in the stories are the people who made the magazine.”

The release party will feature both live music and photos courtesy of the zine’s co-creators. “It’s a product of everyone bringing their talents together in this sort of concert of creation,” Stewart said of the zine and its upcoming release party.

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