This photo


 had been kept a secret until now. It was supposed to be featured in surf mags in the near future, as we all thought it was “too good” to have 6 hours worth of fame on social media before disappearing forever into a scrolled down oblivion.

Surf Mags were magical places. They had the power to make every surfer on earth feel like a little kid watching their favorite cartoon every time we went through the poorly written columns about a surf trip to Indonesia. We used to read them just because. It was mostly about the photos that made us feel a bit closer to those places we didn’t have money to go to, but, above all, it was all about revisiting surf moments any time we wanted to. They were kept forever under our beds or in the bathroom (and there were no smartphones at the time, so…). They made us feel like a part of it all and provided us with conversation topics for the next day at the beach because everybody knew what we were talking about – Everybody knew who had won the under 12’s the previous week and everybody knew who had gotten barreled at Coxos yesterday – everybody knew everybody. And we were all “into it”. No one was proud to say: ” Oh I’m so out of this surf scene right now.” Surfers were not people who surfed, surfers were metaphysical beings. You were a surfer because you belonged to surfing and were a part of a community that doesn’t exist anymore – it died when we stopped having conversations at the beach about the last mag’s cover. It died when the last ads left surf mags in exchange for sexy bloggers on Instagram.
There was a time when I too started being featured on surf mags. The high I felt when I searched for my page on that month’s mag was the same the first time I was featured, at the age of eleven, as it was 2 years ago, in the last edition of Onfire surf. As a surfing fanatic, surf mags were a bonding element, as a surfing professional (a very poor professional, but a professional nonetheless) they added meaning. The hope of getting “the shot” used to make us get up at stupid hours in freezing temperatures to surf onshore winds on that little, crappy wedge that had the city as a background. They were everybody’s goal – to get a full page, to get a double spread, to get a cover.

@matrenophotos – double spread on ONFIRE surf mag.

I never got a cover. Many double spreads, full 10-page interviews… In one year, I was featured in all editions of one of the Portuguese mags… but never the cover. In the beginning of this year, I finally got “the shot”. A shot I showed to Onfire’s director, remembering a now vain excitement, and immediately got replied: yep, that is a cover.

What does this have to teach us all, surfers of the world? Well, not much. Fairy-tale worlds exist only in fairy tales, when you’re high on drugs or in a boat in Indo. Paper is dying (and you are too!) and there is nothing we can do to save it. It is an overall good thing – websites are great, I guess, scrolling down through Surfing Magazine’s Instagram is fun and we save trees and shit.
But it is nice to reminisce about an era that we now remember nostalgically as being an era of true surfing fanatism. An era when it was cool to be crazy about surfing even if you weren’t a surfer. And there will always be that platonic love for me – that cover I never got, that dream that died when a part of surfing died.

Two other shots that could have made it to stardom, but didn’t.



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