So Carve is 25. Which is kind of mad. Back in ’93 someone asked me what my dream job would be and I said, “Working for a surf mag” without much thought about how this would be achieved. When they asked me “Why?” my answer was, “Because I want to help people.” At the time those ‘people’ were British surfers struggling to chase dreams as pro surfers, SAS and their environmental campaign (of whom I was a very proud founding director), photographers and anyone else who wasn’t getting a fair shout from the surf media of that time because they didn’t live in the right town, didn’t have the right sponsors or weren’t in the right clique.
As an aspiring young surfer I had a very bad experience with a magazine editor who put me down because of all those things in a single phone call, but instead of shutting the door in my face he just lit a fire. 14 years later at the end of ’94 Chris launched Carve I got to put my ambition into practice when he invited me to join the team. At heart of Carve’s ambition was the aim to encourage all British and Irish surfers to chase their dreams, to encourage the industry to enable them to achieve them and to try and leave the world a better place.
Looking back through the last 25 years of Carve has been amazing and I think we have done a pretty good job trying to push those ideals. We have probably featured more surfers from more areas across the UK and Eire than another surf media has and probably ever will. We backed pros, got involved in environmental campaigns, helped behind the scenes with sponsorships, made films and when social media came along we got involved with that too and now have one the world’s biggest reach helping to put British and Irish surfers on a global stage.
Our ethos is and always has been that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, your age or your ability, anyone can make the pages whether riding, writing or shooting. As a result we’ve had a 14 year old cover star, a 50+ cover star, longboarders, shortboarders, big wave riders, fish-riding hipsters and two first time photographic contributors have all made our cover. We also gave women their own platform launching the very successful SurfGirl magazine which now reaches across the globe as surfing’s biggest online community and international magazine.
Over the years there have been some pretty special moments – Russ Winter (above, photo: Sharpy) making the tour and requalifying, watching our big wave surfers and longboarders making names for themselves in the global elite, SAS winning the fight against sewage pollution but some of the most touching personally have been behind the scenes.
Two people have contacted me directly to say, “Carve saved my life.” One was on his way to end his days when he saw a Carve in a newsagent and picked it up. A story in there somehow lit a spark and changed his mind. I won’t name him, but when he told me what had happened I was both mind-blown and extremely thankful to have had the privilege to help him. He now lives a dream life and is part of the reason you will see us reaching out over Christmas and other times to try and help others who are feeling down.
Above: Spencer Hargreaves at Sunset Photo: John Bilderback
Others have caught up with us in pubs or at events and just said, “Thank you for your help. Carve made a difference.” Whether that was advice, introductions to sponsors or just for giving them the coverage or encouragement they needed at the time. Again another massive privilege, but slightly weird when it’s a genuine global surfing icon. Definitely makes all the desk work worthwhile, although still slightly embarrassing.
But I think what really makes Carve special is the amount of people that we have featured, written in to us, sent in shots and supported us through advertising. When I look through the mags what I take away is that Carve really is and always has been more than just another magazine or website. Carve is you reading this, all the faces that stare out from our pages and posts, the photographers from around the world who send in amazing shots and our friends at the brands who back us. It’s the groms stoked to make the pages, the big wave riders who put up with dad-like messages saying, “You be careful!” and the British and Irish surf communities who are stoked for their brothers when they make the mag or the cover.
So 25 year later Carve is still here as your voice. And it doesn’t matter if you are sponsored or not, or where you live, or who you hang with. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, what you ride (within reason!) if you surf 40 foot waves, or if they give you nightmares. All that matters is that you are stoked. And if you are stoked we are stoked. And for that we’d like like to say, “Thanks. It’s been a privilege. And here’s to the next 25 years”.
Steve England, Editor in Chief, Carve Surfing Magazine