Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jack Johnson & Chris Malloy - Surfer Guest Editor Issue

Surfer Magazine - Behind the Scenes of the Guest Editor Issue

“We can't let them hijack the magazine, was Editor Chris Mauro's constant concern. “We can't let them take over completely."

Sure. You're talking about inviting Jack Johnson, easily the most recognizable surfer on the planet today, and Chris Malloy, one of the most creative surfers out there, to come and guest edit the next issue of SURFER, and you think you can control them, you can only hope to contain them. And contain them we did, on 202 pages of the new issue of SURFER. It wasn't always easy, and the constant e-mails being beamed to and from Jack's tour bus and the late nights in the office weren't always pretty, but by affording two of the best minds in surfing the freedom to put what they wanted on our pages, we were able to produce one of the most unique surf magazines in history.

Now that that's out of the way, you're probably wondering what working with Jack and Chris for a month was like. Let's just say we had to be on our game. Catching up with Jack is no easy feat -- being a platinum-selling artist does that to a person -- so you take all the time you can get and consider yourself fortunate. An afternoon in Santa Barbara here, a lunch in L.A. there, and to really nail down the captions, a morning spent in the Green Room during a taping of Jay Leno. When the project began Jack was just about to start a national tour, which would have presented a huge problem had he not been so tech savvy. Photos and layouts were continuously e-mailed back and forth, Jack adding his input every step of the way. It's not that he didn't want to be in the office sweating it out in the trenches with us, it's just that when you've got five cities to hit in five nights, and every stadium is sold out with squealing girls and adolescent boys hoping some of your mojo will rub off, the demands on your time are relentless to say the least.

Then there was Chris Malloy. It looked for a while there like he was going to move into the SURFER offices. He kept Photo Editor Grant Ellis up until the wee hours of the night on more than one occasion, and never left before 8 or 9 at night the rest of the time. And if by chance he left before the sun had set, Chris Mauro, sounding very much like a concerned parent, would say, “All right, you can go surfing, but you have to make sure you get your homework done. We need those words from you. Then there was the time we thought he'd skipped town altogether, but it turns out he'd gotten zapped by a stingray.

All sarcastic comments aside, making the Guest Editor issue with Jack and Chris was a blast from beginning to end. They really are as mellow and as cool as they come across in their music, movies and various other media outlets.

So all that being said, what's the big deal, you still might ask? Let's start with the recycled paper the mag's printed on. That's a first for us, and thanks to Jack and Chris enlightening us, hopefully it will be something we continue doing. Another notable feature is the back cover. Never before in SURFER's history have we run an issue without a back-cover ad, but to celebrate this collector's edition we convinced the guys at Rip Curl to pass on this month's ad and let Jack and Chris work their magic.

Speaking of covers, you may have noticed that there are two different covers on the newsstand right now. Jack and Chris couldn't make up their minds: a groovy hand-held longboard shot, or a brilliant photo of a friend at Pipeline. Completely letting them hijack the magazine, we let them run both covers. So all you collectors get out there and make sure you've got both editions in your collection. As you flip through the pages you're sure to find something else between the covers that interests you; there's something for everyone in this issue. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

We thought Chris really loved this slide, but two hours later we came back after having a couple beers and realized he had actually fallen asleep on the light table. He had a big bruise around his eye for days. Just kidding. When it came to putting his vision to reality Chris never fell asleep on the job.

As with any issue of SURFER, every photo is scrutinized and argued over, its merits and faults pointed out. And when Jack and Chris took the helm this didn't change, except they also had to consider what their friends would think if their photos didn't make the cut. Here, Chris and Jack at the impromptu light table in Jack's backyard, wondering if Slater would be mad if they didn't run his shot.

The Marx Brothers, the Three Amigos, the Three Stooges, the Three Musketeers, call 'em what you want, but usually where you find one Malloy you find a couple more lurking about. And when it came time to picking photos for the Guest Editor issue, as expected, they all showed up for the edit session. Why should we expect anything less from the tightest brothers in surfing?

This is Keith and Dan Malloy's garage. Ventura neighbors Alex Kopps and KP stopping by to see what's new, or old, in the wide world of surfboards.

Chris, Keith, Dan and Emmett Malloy, and Jack White and the White Stripes, on the set of their MTV video shoot. Maybe the only surfing family to make such a smooth transition from surfing to Hollywood to the Top 40, the Malloys somehow gracefully walk the line between all three worlds.

-Jake Howard -Photos by Grant Ellis

1 comment: