Surfer Staff Bails To Swell.com?

In the past week, three top staff members of 40-year-old Surfer magazine made the dot.com dash, heading for the dollar-green pastures of the Internet world, and providing an opportunity for new faces to step in and lead the world√Ęs longest-running surf magazine.

Surfer’s Group Publisher Doug Palladini, Editor Evan Slater, and Associate Editor Matt Walker have pulled up stakes from Emap Peterson to join former Surfer Editor Steve Hawk at Swell.com, an Internet startup based in San Francisco, California.

This follows close on the heels of the departure of Surfer’s Senior Editor Chris Mauro to The Den (www.den.net), and Surfing’s Editor Skip Snead to Broadband Interactive group, which publishes bluetorch.com (formerly Gotcha.com).

So why the mad dash for the door? Rumors abound that these Internet start-ups are offering top dollar for editorial and publishing talents from the action-sports world.

Swell.com CEO Nicholas Nathanson and Palladini were unavailable for comment, and Hawk declined to go on record about either the new hires or the plans of Swell.com.

However, rumors around the surf industry predict that swell.com will be editorially driven but with an e-commerce component that will drive revenues.

An article published by the Orange County Register reports that Hawk will be executive editor, Slater managing editor, and Palladini chief operating officer of the new venture.

Rumors are that long-time contributor Sam George has stepped in as editor of at least the next issue of Surfer magazine, while the staffs of other Emap Peterson titles (including Snowboarder, Skateboarder, Powder, Bike, Box, and Gravity magazines), have been less affected by the dot.com dash.

TransWorld SURF Business will be following this continuing dot.com saga and will bring you up-to-the-minute reports as they occur.

CATEGORIZED: Features