The Chris Cote Interview

4 12 2009

Like him on not  Chris Cote has made himself into a surf media enigma. More than 10 years ago he helped launch Transworld SURF when there was heavy competition from several well-established American surf magazines. One thing I like about Chris is he takes criticism well and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He agreed to steer bravely through my gauntlet of questioning.

From what I understand you are laid up with an injury. What happened?
Tore my ACL and MCL skateboarding in Chicago last year, kept re-injuring it and decided it was time to fix it.

What is your typical day like at Transworld?
Come in around 7:30 or 8, straight to the coffee, check emails, get online and go through a few sites, talk shit with my crew, most likely have some form of meeting for a few hours about what we’re going to eat for lunch, eat lunch, have a few beers, go back to work, watch some TV, then attempt to write a story or two, make some calls, blah, blah, blah—finish the day with a glass or red wine at my desk.

What is the story or integral part of the magazine you are most proud of?
The whole thing.

Least proud of?
I try to be proud of everything we put out.

Proud of everything? Really? Be a little more specific.
I know what you’re trying to do here, yes, there are some articles I won’t be cutting out and pinning of my fridge. But as an overall product, I like everything Transworld SURF does.

Surfer just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Transworld SURF just turned 10. The traditional anniversary gift after 10 years is aluminum or tin. What should I get you? A case of Red Bull?
You should get me this.

What did you think of the Surfer 50th anniversary issue?
I liked the charts the best, it was a good issue. I think it was exactly what people wanted out of a 5oth anniversary issue, which is a good thing. I loved the poster with all the covers. Looking at that was like a trip down memory lane.

The average reader of Transworld is in high school. You are about 5 years away from Social Security. Is it difficult to relate to the kids?
Surfing keeps you young, and like Wooderson said, “I get older, they stay the same age.”

Is it a challenge writing for a magazine aimed at readers who can’t read?
Is a challenge to do a web site that nobody sees?

How much do advertisers pay for the cover shot?
Depends which advertisers and how much clothing they have given me over the last few years.

When you took the job at TW were you hesitant due to the fact there were already like 16 major American surf mags at the time?
Not really. I was actually one of the people who started Transworld SURF , and if there were 16 at the time, there are only three now (not including Surfer’s Journal which is my favorite).

Transworld’s roots are in skateboarding and snowboarding. I think both skateboards and snowboards are surfers at heart. Does this automatically seat you at the cool kids table at the Transworld office?
No, my wit and charm gets me at the cool kids table.

Dennis has a system to lure females. What is the Cote method?
My system is easy. I take chicks to see New Moon and when the wolf kid rips his shirt off I do the same thing, stand up on my seat, pull my pants off, howl, and then just pounce on the poor girl. The only female I have been trying to lure into anything lately is my wife, and what works for her is taking out the trash, making the bed, putting my shoes away, etc.

Who is the best underexposed surfer today and why don’t you cover him more?
Jesse Ventura has a lot of good things to say, he’s never been in our magazine—hopefully he will be soon.

Is San Diego the best city in America because it means whale’s vagina or because of the weather and surf?
Neither, it’s because of the Mexican food.

TW Surf is never shy about featuring young scantily-clad females in its pages. What are your thoughts on the recent Stab cover controversy? It’s international news now. I think I saw a story about it in a Polish newspaper. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I understand Polish and Nugable is the number-one surf blog there.
I think that cover was artistic and tasteful. I don’t see why fashion mags can get away with it without any recourse. In the end, it will be good for Stab.

You are filling in for Pat Parnell on The Daily Habit? What else? Have you seen Brent Rickenbaugh naked?
Yeah, on top of being a Fuel TV correspondent I am one of the guest hosts for  The Daily Habit. I also DJ, play shows, MC/DJ weddings, etc.—I don’t want my wife to work, so I have to work three or four jobs. I like being busy. And yes, I’ve seen Brent naked once. His body was smooth like pudding skin and he glowed like a post-coitus pre-teen. It was magnificent.

When I log onto TW SURF it takes an hour to load. What’s the deal? I have a fast computer too.
Fuck, I don’t know. It drives us crazy too.


Transworld Surf to Re-Produce Surfing Mag in its Entirety

25 11 2009

Today it was announced Transworld Surf will forgo all original editorial and produce a magazine identical to Surfing Magazine every month.

It was a logical step in the evolution of the 10-year-old magazine which was lambasted online recently for “poaching” Surfing’s cover photo this month.

The move will save millions and put them on the path to profitability by 2212.

Yesterday, Surfing’s Assistant to the Assistant Photo Editor Jimmy “Jimmicane” Wilson posted a rant on titled “Jimmy Wilson is Used to this Bullshit.

In the post Wilson said, “This blatant lack of respect and order in surf photography will eventually lead to the downfall of professional surf photographers and also may eventually spell the end of surf magazines altogether.”

“It’s true,” admitted Transworld Surf Editor-In-Chief Chris Cote. We have been living in the editorial closet so to speak for years. It’s time to come out. We aren’t copying them though. Our generation calls it sampling. If Kayne West samples an R&B classic he’s considered a genius. How is this any different? Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long to notice the similarities. Surfers are stupid really. But if we throw in a few shots of scantly-clad females no one notices.”

Cote said the February issue won’t be an exact replica. “It just wouldn’t be Transworld without a Broism or two. Like this one. What do you call a Bro who wears no condom…someone who likes to go Ruff Ryder style? Give up? A Teddy Brosevelt.”

Inside A Transworld Surf Editorial Meeting Part II

20 10 2009


Inside the Transworld headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

Editor Chris Cote storms in…

Chris Cote: Okay, quiet down everyone. As tradition dictates let’s give thanks to our savior, leader and mentor… aSalaam ‘Alaykum Sal Masakala!

Everyone: Sal Masakala aSalaam

Chris Cote: Okay brozas. Welcome. Research tells us we aren’t so doing hot in several key demographics. Sure… we have the whole pre-teen and clergy crowd down skippy, but we ain’t testing well in Middle America.

Liam Ferguson: Yes! Mid-dul America! I already have the ad department working on Cheeze Whiz and Walmart.

Chris Cote: Okay bros…any ideas?

Liam Ferguson: (Stands up…stretching…) I have to excuse myself. I have a fundraiser sponsored by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the NRA. Duty calls.

Justin Cote: (coughing…places hash pipe gingerly on boardroom table… ) Boat trip… Indo.

Chris Cote: Uh, wasn’t that your idea last month?

Justin Cote: Okay. Bass fishing excursion with tow-ats on fan boats? Kind of a Deliverance meets Modern Collective vibe.

Chris Cote: Awesome. That’s not a half bad idea. Mitch Coleburn did look pretty saucy with that moustache in Surfing Mag.

Casey Koteen: Uh…I don’t think there are any waves where there’s bass fishing.

Chris Cote: Heck there’s no waves on the entire East Coast but that still doesn’t stop Eastern Surf from producing a magazine every month.

Casey Koteen: Good point.

Aaron Checkwood: (adjusts monocle…speaks in a thick German accent) All of these photos are crap. (slams fist)

Chris Cote: Here we go again.

Justin Cote: How about a NASCAR photo feature. No… I got it. How’z about you send me and Chris Ward to Colorado and do the whole Bubble Boy thing. ‘Where’s Wardo. Is he in the balloon? Am I retarded for watching this?’ It will be huge. Cross promotion and all that shit.

Casey Koteen: Lost would pay top dollar for that type of placement. AND…we can interview Wardo’s alarm clock.

Justin Cote: Do they have alarm clocks in jail? I’m just sayin’.

Chris Cote: Hey broza? Why don’t we just have Wardo edit the issue? The Joel Tudor SURFER issue was huge. When Transworld turns 50 I suppose we’ll start mailing it in too.

Aaron Checkwood: Uh guys? There’s a world title race going on. Joel Parkinson?…Mick Fanning?….ring a bell?

Justin Cote: Come on Cheekwooooood! Fuck those guys. It’s all about Dane Reynolds yo. Ry Craike…Dusty Payne….Julian Wilson…represent bitches. You know we care even less about the WCT than Volcom.

Chris Cote: That’s right… we know who our daddy is. (nervous laughter) Okay, we’re done here. This meeting is adjourned. All Hail Masakala!

Everyone: Sal Masakala aSalaam

Click here for Part 1 of Inside a Trasworld Surf Editorial Meeting

Three to the Beach: The Weekly Roundup

16 10 2009


Today is a glorious day. I’m introducing a new feature titled “Three to The Beach” where I essentially provide links to surfing related posts on the Internet I deem worthy of reading. It will be a regular feature on Nugable. If you have any suggestions, links, tips or just want to call me an asshole, feel free to email me at

Photographer Dustin Humphrey goes absolutely bonkers in a photo feature/ad campaign for Insight titled Dope-amine. (meSurf)

Why the world title race is much closer than you think. Aaron Checkwood reminds us Joel Parkinson, not Mick Fanning, is the number-one horse right now. (Transworld Surf)

Charlie Smith is driving a BMW around Europe with his investment banker. Sometimes he even makes it to the surf event he is covering. (Stab Magazine)

Taj Burrow’s punt of the month. (Surfline)

Who would be more likely to let Derek Rielly toss their salad? Mick or Joel? (Demon Factory)

Finally, the video below has nothing to do with surfing, but it’s worth a look.

Photo: Dustin Humphrey

ESPN Surfing Web Site Review Part II (Simple Jack Strikes Back)

21 08 2009

Simple Jake

Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.

Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?

Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, “I Am Sam.” Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed…

“Never go full retard.”

I think someone forgot to give ESPN Surfing’s Jake Howard this nugget of advice. If they gave out an award for the best surfing web site, ESPN Surfing would certainly go home empty handed.

A little back story…

Two weeks ago I reviewed ESPN’s surfing blog. According to the official stats it was the second most-read post in this humble blog’s existence. In it I basically called Jake Howard the Caucasian version of Barry Bonds. I actually wrote “If Barry Bonds was sheet white and wore a corn husk toupe he would look just like Jake Howard.” This was the accompanying image.


Then something happened. Perhaps Mr. Howard reads Nugable. I don’t know. But sure as shit, he changed his mugshot photo on the blog.

Jake Howard

Now he looks like Simple Jack Jake from ‘Tropic Thunder” for chrissakes. This shit is just too good to be true.  And to top it off he fired back with this attempt at humor. In it Howard states “we here at ESPN take our surfing seriously.” I think that’s kind of special considering the surfing community doesn’t take ESPN seriously. As Bill Simmons would say; the unintentional comedy factor is off the charts.

It gets better. You know that pre-teen Vietnamese heroin kingpin who holds Simple Jack hostage “Tropic Thunder?” It looks like ESPN has hired him too.


Since then the ESPN Surfing crew has posted a month-old video of Kelly Slater on SportsCenter. Call me hard to please but one would think since ESPN owns the site they would have posted it a little sooner…like the day after the interview.  I think Transworld even scooped them on this a day before. When you have 5 dedicated writers and Transworld Surf scoops you, it’s time to reevaluate things.

Their latest post is about love-starved sharks that listen to Barry White. I’m not kidding. They also have mini-blog dedicated to a hurricane that should produce epic surf along the Eastern seaboard. Man those Right Coasters must be hurting for waves. Good for them. Then they posted a fantastic video of a surfing juggler they stole borrowed from the Hobgoods blog. And the kicker is a piece about a Disney-owned wave pool contest in Florida. Way to wave the Disney/ESPN rainbow flag guys. I can’t wait to see what ESPN has planned for professional surfing. It’s going to be “special.”

Inside a Transworld Surf Editorial Meeting

31 07 2009


Chris Cote: Okay, quiet down everyone. First, as tradition dictates let’s give thanks to our savior, leader and mentor… aSalaam ‘Alaykum Sal Masakala!

Everyone: Sal Masakala aSalaam

Publisher Liam Ferguson storms in…

Liam Ferguson: Sorry I’m late guys. I just got back from Sweden. Man those Bonniers are crazy. Those Swedish Jews know how to party. I’m just sayin’.

Chris Cote: Wow. I heard the age of consent over there is like 14?

Liam Ferguson: Easy there tiger. Guys, our ad revenue is in the toilet. How can we generate some revenue? Any ideas?

Justin Cote: Boat trip. Indo. I know it has been done a million times but we could make it…ya know…different.

Liam Ferguson: Apparently you have spending money and bringing in money confused, Justin.

Justin Cote: Can’t we just have Volcom buy the cover again?

Liam Ferguson: Problem is they paid us in beer cozies and sombreros last month.

Chris Cote: Hey, my sombrero was pretty sweet. How about another gear guide? Or…I got it! Another swimsuit issue?

Aaron Checkwood: (adjusts monocle…speaks in a thick German accent) all of these photos are crap…

Chris Cote: What about a guest editor issue…maybe Dane Reynolds or Kolohe Andino. Someone the kids relate to. I got it! What about the all-Broism issue?

Casey Koteen: (thinking to himself). I should have took that job at Billabong.

Liam Ferguson: Oh man, I remember the glory days like it’s yesterday. TW SKATEbording was 600 pages thick. Sure there were 580 ad pages, but still…

Chris Cote: Hey isn’t this an editorial meeting? Why are we taking about advertising?

Liam Ferguson: Listen here son. You are here to entice 12-year-olds to read the mag. That’s it. We only need you so the Nike and Army ads don’t bump into the Reef ad.

Chris Cote: (confused) But without my sarcastic wit and cunning tongue the mag would be all ads?

Liam Ferguson: All Ads? I think we are onto something here.

Aaron Checkwood: Ah. (adjusts monocle again) Like the Pennysaver of surfing. It’ll have photos right? Photos of the Sudetenland?

Liam Ferguson: You bet your ass it will. Okay, we’re done here. This meeting is adjourned. All Hail Masakala!

Everyone: Sal Masakala aSalaam