About midway through the making of this issue I realized that I was preaching plenty but practicing little in the DIY department. Here I was, making a magazine about surfers working on amazing side projects — creating brands, making movies, recording soundtracks — but what was I working on besides the magazine?
So I brainstormed a project to work on. One that I’d always been drawn to but never actually pursued. It would take me out of my comfort zone (I couldn’t just make a blog), and it would be something tangible because, as someone who is terrible with his hands, it would give me the sense of pride I’d always envied in people who actually make things.
I would make T-shirts. Start a brand. By removing all the vowels from my name I’d start the brand TYLR. People would pronounce it “Tyler” and I would correct them, “No, it’s Taylor.” And they would go, “Ohhh,” and feel like they knew a secret and feel connected to the brand. When they heard other people call it “Tyler” they would correct them and thus perpetuate the secret. It would be like hidden tracks on CDs, or “animal style” at In-N-Out Burger. My brand would grow and it would provide great supplemental income.
But instead I went surfing. I made the rest of the magazine, because that’s my actual job. I went to Mexico with my girlfriend and some friends. I ate tacos and drank margaritas, which I didn’t even make myself; they were delivered to me poolside. I probably could have launched TYLR on a Sunday afternoon: found some shirts, a screen printer, made some stencils. Instead, I carried on with my life.
While reflecting on my failed venture, I looked at my favorite “side projects” that I’ve accomplished in my life. I looked at traveling and surfing big waves. I thought about how much harder those things were than making T-shirts. The expenses and instability of travel. The training and danger that accompany big waves. Why could I do those things, and not make a shirt with some scribbles on it? It wasn’t like I was picking the cotton and sewing the things.
It boiled down to desire. I actually wanted to travel and surf big waves, I didn’t actually care to make a clothing brand. Because when you actually want to do something, it doesn’t matter that life gets in the way. You’ll politely tell life to back the f–k off, because you’re doing it whether it supports you or not. But if you don’t really want something, life is a beautiful excuse for inaction.
For this issue I interviewed former filmmaker and sports agent Josh Landan. Josh recently quit his job, uprooted his wife and two children and moved from Ventura to San Diego to start Saint Archer Brewery. Were there hurdles to jump over? Naturally. Was the timing right? No. It never is. But now Josh is doing what he’s always dreamed, creating a brand owned by him and action sports athletes. He’s doing what he’s always wanted to do. Outta the way, life, I’ve got beer to make. How his venture unfolds remains to be seen, but, like Josh said at the end of the interview, “Worst-case scenario, my best friends and I get free beer. I just didn’t want to look back on life and think, ‘I wonder what would have happened if I actually did that. I wonder if I could have really done it.’” —Taylor Paul