Stuart Geddes 25 Graphic Design Work Pty Ltd 3 Ziga Testen Studio 7 Surfing World Issue 420 (60th anniversary issue)

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Ziga Testen, Stuart Geddes
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Ziga Testen, Stuart Geddes
  • Client
    Surfing World Magazine

Surfing World turns 60. The world’s oldest, deepest surfing magazine celebrates the milestone by tracking six decades of Australian surfing through its pages. The 60th anniversary issue is a visual journey into the soul of Australian surf. And at 260 pages, it’s the biggest surf mag ever published in this country. Below are some extracts from our interview with MagCulture about the design process – 

MC – Congratulations on 60 years! As you work on the pages, are you conscious of that history?

US – To the occasional frustration of our editors we, so far, knew very little about the history of Surfing World, but we are beginning to realise it means the world to generations of Australian surfers and it’s a real gateway into Australian culture and broader society and that’s really important to us.

Our audience is really broad and diverse and it’s kind of beautiful to make something that reaches and is appreciated by such a broad swath of the population.

The SW archive is in an old surfer’s garage close to Jan Juc down on the surf coast south of Melbourne and a few months ago we drove there in Stuart’s ute with our A3 scanner, the SW editors booked this weatherboard shack for us to stay in and brought over the entire archive. The next 48 hours was us scanning about 1500 pages of the archive and drinking beers with all these salty surfers, it was beautiful actually.

MC – The special anniversary issue is full of archive layouts. How were they selected?

US – Initially we sat with the editor Sean Doherty, he would select a key story or person or event from (almost) each issue. Sometimes nothing for a few issues but sometimes several things per issue. On top of that we would select pages, spreads, sequences that stood out to us.

Then when we were pulling the magazine together there was lots of back and forth between us and Sean and Jon Frank, the photo editor, to get a good balance of key people and stories, key photographs and places, and just a compelling history of 60 years of this magazine. It was interesting to us that the consensus from the surfing community seems to be that the eighties was the golden era of the magazine, but for us the seventies is much more interesting.

MC – How has the coverage of and approach to surfing changed over these 60 years?

US – There have been a lot of changes in the pages of SW. There was a period from the early seventies to the mid nineties with the same two people in charge, but even then it varied a lot in terms of focus and quality. To us the seventies felt more about surfing being an alternative to the dull nine to five lifestyle—I guess that’s relatable to us since a part of the reason why we are graphic designers running our own studio is to avoid that kind of life!