Meet the Mag: Acid

I am not a surfer. I barely like the beach. So why is "Acid," a self-professed "surf-related publishing project," one of my favorite indie mags?

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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.

Jonas Bronnert, Scotland. Photograph by Dan Peterman.
Acid often features portfolios of new work by illustrators and painters. From issue three, Blinkers and Halcyon View by Nathaniel Russell.
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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."

The hardships of surfing the Great Lakes. Photograph by Antonio Lennert from Latinos at The Lake.

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."

In the latest issue, a scuba diver poses as if in a fashion editorial, part of the series Amazing Tips to Look Good in a Wetsuit, from Informational Affairs. Tongue-in-cheek captions offer photography tips for women divers: In a reef scene teeming with life it is important to sit angled so as to show off the reef.
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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.

More from Amazing Tips to Look Good in a Wetsuit.
Horsing around in gale force winds. Photo by Mats Kahlstöm.
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"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.

Alex Kopps, California. Photo by Kanoa Zimmerman.
Everything you need to know about underwater cameras.
Between les Alcyons and Parlementia, France. Photo by César Ancelle-Hancen
Photographer Yannik Willing checks out the surf culture in Sri Lanka.
Achille Kindt, Belgium. Photograph by Wouter Struyf
Katherine Mavridis, Rhode Island. Photography by Banjo McLachlan.
An early 20th-century balsa wood board next to surfer Ryan Burch, in the magazine's first issue, shot by Ryan Field.
James McClure, Flat Daze. Photograph by Kent Andreasen
From photographer Will Adler's photo essay, Simple, Fleeting Feelings of Fun.
The Sound System, Sandro Rogério. Photograph by Yann Gross, Acid issue four.
São Domingos do Capim. Photograph by Yann Gross, Acid issue four.
Pororoca. Photograph by Yann Gross, Acid issue four.
Trevor Gordon, Rincon. Photograph by Donnie Hedden, Acid issue four.
Vincent Duvignac, France. Photograph by César Ancelle-Hansen, Acid issue four.

Dive further into the world of Acid magazine at acidsurfing.com. You can buy the magazine at 1980editions.com.

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