Surf writing: become a professional surf journalist or a best-selling surf author | Photo: Shutterstock

Learn how to build a career in surf journalism and develop your inner fiction writing skills. Become an accomplished surf journalist or best-selling surf author now.

In the "fake news" era, becoming a credible content creator is not easy.

There are too many sources, too many digital distractions, and, from a consumer's perspective, less time and patience for banality and commonplaces.

Surfing is a highly visual sport.

And because it relies on an enigmatic symbiosis between humans and nature, you rarely need words to describe what you see - a perfect solitary wave, a giant mountain of rolling water, a freak backwash wave exploding near the shore break.

And on top of that, a man or woman riding it for the simple yet addictive pleasure of doing so.

But precisely because it gets so visually attractive, surfing weaved its own web of connections.

From its historical background and surfboard-building techniques to its musical, cultural, scientific, and sociological diversities, surfing became the subject of a wide range of analyses.

Therefore, writing about surfing is a natural process and something that should and will be done as long as there are waves to be ridden.

There are two fundamental ways of documenting surfing - through media and its broad range of channels, books, and publications.

Surf journalism: a career blending words and waves | Photo: Creative Commons

Facts and Fiction

You could also say that there are two ways of looking at surfing - via facts, knowledge, truth, and current events and that could be journalism, history, or science; and via fiction writing.

No matter what your inclination is, you'll be writing words with surfing as the central theme.

You may develop a career in surf journalism, surf history, or even surf health through medical school, and you may also bend toward literature and fiction writing.

If your goal is to become a well-respected surf journalist, there are a few things you should know before submitting your work to potential publishers or employers.

One of the first things you should take into consideration is that you need to make choices.

1. Are you someone who prefers quality over quantity or the other way around?

Are you into ten-paragraph news pieces or investigative surf journalism?

Once you've decided whether you're a sprinter or a marathoner, you may proceed to the next phase.

2. Build a surf media chart

Put the logo of each media outlet on a blank page and arrange them as you wish.

It will help you decide where you want to head and which options could fit your personality.

3. Build personal awareness

The surf media circus is controlled by thousands of avid competitors and professionals.

Set up a professional website, open a few social media accounts, and write a few surf-inspired articles.

Make sure to keep all these channels active and regularly updated;

4. Adopt a no-swearing policy

While it can sound cool to younger audiences in some circumstances, bad and offensive language will immediately narrow down your chances of attracting mature readers and employers.

5. Keep it clear and simple

One of the golden rules of quality journalism is "one idea per sentence." If you stick to it, your articles will be rich and truly informative.

6. Start by freelance writing

Kick off your dream writing career in the surf industry by proposing unique and exclusive features to the world's leading surf media players.

As a contributing writer for blogs or brands, propose small news pieces and insightful interviews with important personalities.

A freelance writer has a lot of flexibility in terms of managing his or her agenda and combining writing with a more serious nine-to-six job.

7. Develop your natural interest

If you're into the history of surfing, get down to it. Explore your town's connection with surfing, and get back in the time machine.

Are you a fan of Duke Kahanamoku's life story? Browse the online archives, contact Hawaiian universities, and talk to people who knew him.

8. Never stop surfing, never stop writing

Sooner or later, someone will invite you to share your work with a broader audience.

You may start in a surf blog, then move to a local newspaper, and finally reach an international online news platform or surf magazine, where your words matter to thousands of readers.

Surf journalism is an exciting way of life.

But don't expect to sit on the beach watching others surf and write about it. It's much more than that.

The University of Southern California has even launched a surf journalism class for hardcore surfers who write.

But whether you're into facts or fiction, it's only worth writing if you have something relevant to say.

You don't need to master all the words in your native language dictionary. It's all about being creative and innovative in the approach.

Surf photography: a fundamental part of modern surf journalism | Photo: Shutterstock

No Excuses

The act of writing is no different from any other job or occupation. You commit to it, set a goal, and expect it to put food on the table.

Writer's block is a myth. It's an external excuse for a day or a moment we're having or dealing with.

Grab a cup of coffee, catch a few waves, and get back to your laptop. You'll see your ideas will flow wirelessly from your brain to your keyboard.

If you're not into facts and the foam of day and prefer developing your own plot, get yourself a sizeable blank card and start developing your characters and the course of the action from scratch.

Having a visual guide will help you translate pictures and written words into sentences.

Some of the world's finest fiction surf stories were based on real-life characters and happenings. It's up to you to decide your path.

There are several fiction writing categories.

You may opt for embarking on a novel, short story, drama, or even screenplay-inspired surfing tales about legendary or even beginner surfers who dreamed of being able to catch the ultimate wave in a tropical destination.

Surf books: authors are writers by nature | Photo: SurferToday

Fiction Books

If you're into non-informative writing, here's what you should do to create a best-selling book:

  1. Get a Provisional Title: Find a combination of words that sums up the idea you have in mind;
  2. Write the Book's Synopsis: Find a straightforward short description of the book that summarizes the book in a couple of sentences;
  3. Index Your Chapters: Divide your book into its main moments;
  4. Start Freewriting: Let the first words flow, and don't worry about how good they sound for a while;
  5. Review Your Provisional Index: As soon as you feel you've reached a good writing rhythm, make the necessary changes to the book's list of chapters;
  6. Schedule Your Writing Times: Set a rigid agenda for pushing the book in the right direction;
  7. Take Off-duty Notes: Use your smartphone to write down some ideas you may have while sleeping, eating, having a shower, or relaxing;
  8. Don't Lose Momentum: Set a feasible list of daily writing goals and stick to it no matter what;
  9. Let Your Book Decide Its End: Be open to unpredictable changes, of course, and never set a pre-defined total number of pages for your work;
  10. Stay Away From it After You've Finished Writing: Once you've concluded your masterpiece, wait a couple of weeks before re-reading and reviewing it;

Don't hesitate. Become a successful surf writer today.

Submit your work and get all the positive feedback from readers you dreamed of. Surf writing is the art of turning salt into ink.

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