If there's one thing that standup paddlers can agree on, it's that headwinds suck. There's nothing more demoralizing than beating into wind chop, your board vibrating under your feet, your head down as you make negligible progress. If the wind is heavy enough, eventually you have to change course.
It's something that the staff at SUP is used to, both on and off the water.
In that vein, we are changing tack: our Summer Issue, on newsstands now, will be our last regularly published print magazine. If you are a current subscriber, the remainder of your subscription will be fulfilled with our legendary sister title, SURFER.
We know, it's rough news and a decision we did not take lightly. A number of factors led us to this point.
The way that you, our loyal readers, ingest media has changed drastically over the past five years. These days, for every print reader we have, there are four of you reading our content at SUPthemag.com. Our social followings continue to grow (combined 225,000+) and the demand for our videos is only increasing. Our commitment to our readers—to being standup paddling's title of record, to crafting and curating the sport's best editorial offerings, with inspiring stories, info and imagery from every corner of the standup paddling world—remains unchanged. That commitment to storytelling has just gone digital.
Speaking of change, the way that brands advertise continues to evolve as well. With the rise of online advertising, social media and sponsored content—all of which are easier for advertisers to measure from an investment standpoint—demand for print ads was dwindling.
Due to that changing tide, we need our staff to spend its time creating media for a digital audience. SUPthemag.com takes more and more time to fill with the best content in the SUP world on the most relevant channels, and it's something that we'll have more time to focus on moving forward. Expect more industry leading video, more instructional content and more in-depth gear reviews in the coming months.
We're not afraid of change; it has always been part of our DNA. Nine years ago as a Southern California SUP scene began its explosive growth near our offices then located in San Juan Capistrano, editors and publishers from Canoe & Kayak and SURFER collaborated on a 2009 launch that grew rapidly into a must-read quarterly offering. We continued responding to reader and advertiser demands with the addition of our annual Gear Guide, as well as providing the industry, the athletes, and our readers with a night to honor and celebrate the best our sport has to offer with the 2011 launch of the SUP Awards. When we had the opportunity to run a marquee SUP race, we stepped in and put on the Pacific Paddle Games, the most competitive event in the sport. This October 6 and 7 will mark the race's fourth birthday. When we saw opportunities for SUP destination camps, we started the Maui Dream Retreat, now in its third year, and are launching our Galapagos SUP Adventure with Southern Explorations this November.
While we'll mourn the loss of print, there is endless open water ahead of us. As the SUP and media landscape continues to change, so will we. The winds will be at our backs and we'll ride the bumps downwind. We'll continue to be, "The Voice of Standup Paddling," dedicated to inspiring paddlers both seasoned and new to get on the water, paddle in hand. We'll see you out there. —Will Taylor