I came upon issue one of Acid in the bookstore at the New Museum, on the Bowery in downtown New York City. On the front of the aqua cover were two photos, one of surfers holding hands and another of ocean spray clouding the camera lens. Still, Acid seemed more than just a surfer's surf mag.
In their foreword to that inaugural edition, Barcelona-based editors Olivier Talbot and Bertrand Trichet explained that they came to surfing through skateboarding, which turned out not to be the most intuitive transition. "We kept feeling estranged from surfing's usual representations and from 'the lifestyle,'" Talbot wrote. "A few years in now, we're confident this is the way we like our surfing, outside the general focus and in touch with the world surrounding it."
I bought Acid before even leafing through the rest of the issue and have bought every subsequent issue (there are only four so far).
"It was a strong underlying intention to keep Acid 'open,'" Talbot tells me by email from Barcelona, "to use surfing as a pretext to publish things we find touching. Surfing is central to the magazine, but at the same time, it's only a prism to talk about other things that we find interesting."
Here are just some of the things Acid has published in its four issues:
—A personal essay about wrestling a beach thief while wearing a wet suit.
—A photo essay about Sri Lankan surfers.
—A photo essay on a static, human-made wave in a German river.
—A photo essay about surfing in Norway in winter (looks cold AF).
—A portfolio of photographs taken underwater of artificial reefs.
—An essay on surfing culture's relationship to the female body.
—A travel diary about visiting Ireland in the summer.
—A short-short story about a surfer/graphic designer who falls in love with an artist, illustrated by that artist.
—A breakdown of the best underwater cameras; a collection of surf-inspired records.
—An introduction to a designer who makes boards with experimental and eco-conscious materials.
—Investigations into the history and environmental impact of coastal armoring (Google it, super-interesting).
—The first English translation of sections from a French philosophical treatise on surfing.
—Tons of illustrations, drawings, and paintings.
"We're really proud that Acid paints a very diverse, personal, and contemporary fresco of surfing in the 2010s," Talbot says. "It's the unlikely combination of stories that makes it fun and hopefully entertaining to read."
Also, the magazine releases issues very infrequently, basically whenever the editors feel like it, which is a true surfer's approach to publishing.
See more surf-meets-art-and-culture from inside the pages of Acid.