Matt Warshaw: "I'm a fuckin' curator!"

Stu Nettle
Talking Heads

Swellnet: How long have you been working on the .com version of The Encyclopedia of Surfing?
I fell into a coma after finishing History of Surfing back in 2009. Woke up, went to Starbucks, and started working on EOS. 

How is it funded?
The site is free, and always will be. The site has no advertising. It's a non-profit. We may try and pry some corpo money loose from whatever charitable-giving programs we can find, but for the moment EOS is funded solely by viewers. Kick down some money and you can put your name on an inscription on the page of your choice. "This page sponsored by Dirk Digler," for example. Fifty bucks, and you own Stuart Bedford-Brown. Thousand bucks, and get Slater or Dora or Duke.  

Is there any user-generated content on the site?
No, and there is a downside to that. We launched with way less entries that we could have, had we gone the WIkipedia route. But we're trying to keep it readable, to keep it pared down and clean and organized. I love Internet chaos, but no way am I young enough or strong enough to wrangle the sport into a Wiki-style site.  

Hypothetical time: a famous surfer disagrees with the facts about him as presented in EOS. How is the matter resolved, amicably or with fisticuffs?
Facts are easy. If I got the person's birthday wrong, or overstated the actual number of years served in prison, I just fix it. If the surfer is pissed because we discovered that he once got beat-up in a pub brawl by Pauline Menczer -- well, if the fight went down as reported, it stays in.

Now you're on the 'net, swimming in myriad opinions, how will you broach those differences of opinion?
I will run, hide, appease, deflect, and occasionally stand and fight. From the safety of my cozy home office.

How do the publishers of the hard copy version feel about a soft copy version being created?
The book still sells, but not in huge numbers. Twice a year I get a two-digit royalty check from Harcourt, the publisher. I think they're hoping some tiny bit of attention to the website will bounce over to the book.

Much of the information is pictures and videos. Is copyright an issue?
A good part of 2010 was spent contacting photogs and filmmakers, asking if they'd contribute. Art Brewer said yes early on, and that made a big difference. He's the Godfather. There were people sitting on the fence, and once they heard Art has signed up, they threw down as well. The EOS contributors list is shocking.  

You've written a few big books on surfing, and now you've created a big website on surfing, so what exactly is your job? Like, what does it say on your business card?
'Do Not Resuscitate.'

Do you see yourself as a curator of sorts? You know, a caretaker or steward of Surfing's history...
Yes, that's it in a word. It's so not sexy, but 'curator,' more than any other single-world description, is exactly what I am. I'm lucky enough to have the keys to more raw surf-world material than anybody in history, and I've got enough knowledge and experience to be able to arrange things in a way that I hope does justice to the sport. I'm a fuckin' curator! Except on Twitter, where I'm a sweaty B-grade comic...

Visit the Encyclopedia of Surfing...don't forget to kick down some coin
Or get yourself some B-grade kicks over at Twitter

Comments

trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 3:25pm

Looks great. Congrats on the new website Swellnet people!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 3:29pm

Much appreciated Trolleyboy, however you seem a wee bit lost. This is where we speak fondly of Matt's big new project.

trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 3:45pm

Oops, congratulations to Matt too, looks good with all the orange and that.