An Interview with Pete DeKay, Founder of Windsurfing Now Magazine!
It’s not every day that we get the pleasure to see a new magazine hit the shelves – especially in the windsurfing world! Well, the wait is over: Windsurfing Now has launched! The decline of print media has been chronicled ad nauseum, but the picture today is definitely not as bleak as everyone might want us to believe. In fact, with today’s technology, digital marketing tools and connected supply chain, this might be the best time in years to launch the paper magazine you’ve had in your dreams all along. But it takes guts, and know-how, and more than anything, a clear vision. We spoke with the man at the helm: Pete DeKay.
A print magazine in today’s digital world – are you crazy?
I may be crazy… but I think a print magazine for North America fits into a niche sport like windsurfing very nicely. Personally I prefer thumbing through an actual magazine rather than swiping across my iPad screen. The photos have more power and the printed text seems more permanent. Plus we can always add a digital edition down the road. I’m thankful to the brands in the industry that have supported Windsurfing Now and now we just have to keep getting the word out so people will subscribe.
What’s the mission of the magazine? And why call it ‘Windsurfing Now?’
Windsurfing Now is a magazine for North American windsurfers. We want to show off what windsurfing is across all of the US and Canada. We’ll have as much regional coverage as possible while also exposing to our readers everything that is cool in windsurfing today. This covers a lot of ground as windsurfing is a very diverse sport. Our biggest goal is to listen to the readers and really give them what they want. So please email me your thoughts/ideas/photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. The name was nailed down after a phone call with Francisco Goya. He loved calling the mag Windsurfing Now and he exuded so much positivity (as he always does) that my mind was made up!
Could you tell us briefly about the history of windsurfing magazines in North America?
I’ve been in the windsurfing magazine world for almost 10 years but I may not be the one to answer this question. However, I’ll tell you about the ones I’ve liked. It was sad to see Windsport go under earlier this year (and to lose my job). Windsport started in 1981 as a Canadian magazine but became a full-on North American mag in the late 90’s under the guidance of editor John Bryja. Also starting in 1981 was Wind Rider, which later became Windsurfing Magazine. Both Windsport and Windsurfing Magazine had a major influence on my windsurfing career. Two other mags I have to mention are Wind Tracks and American Windsurfer. Clay Feeter’s Wind Tracks was a sponsor of ABK windsurfing clinics when I was teaching for them and was an awesome grassroots magazine. John Chao’s American Windsurfer was printed in a bigger format and was a very cool and sometime controversial read, which made it always fun. Oops… almost forgot to mention the New England Windsurfing Journal, an awesome newspaper-style grassroots mag.
What are some of the key differences between your job today and your time at Windsport?
The editor part is basically the same — pitching and editing stories, requesting and picking photos, working with contributors and all the website work. The new parts have involved the general business setup, running the circulation department, looking after the day-to-day accounting and some other things I’ve blocked out of my mind. It has been a very busy year but I think things will settle down once I get in the groove after a few issues. Plus I’ve put together a great team to help me out!
Could you tell us a bit about your editorial team?
Let me tell you about the entire Windsurfing Now team. My right hand man is Rick Bruner and he is in charge of Advertising Sales. Rick was a F2 distributor back in the late 80’s and in the 90’s transitioned into working for magazines… He’s worked for Windsurfing Magazine, Wind Tracks and Windsport. I am very lucky to have him on the team as no one knows the industry better than Rick!
For gear testing I rely on Derek Rijff as he is very experienced and good at what he does. Gear testing is not about saying what is good or bad, but about saying what rider each piece of gear is suited for and how it can be tuned to get the most out of it. On the instructional side of things I turn to Andy Brandt as he gave me my first job in windsurfing back in 1998 with ABK. I’ll be running an article from Andy in each issue, but will also try to feature as many other great instructors from all around North America as I can (Randy Rhodes of Worldwinds, Tinho Dornellas of Calema, etc.). My website designer is Russ Faurot, whom I met while helping with the media side of things on the American Windsurfing Tour. Behind the scenes I have Joe Andrus as my Art Director and Kate Rutledge as my Copy Editor. I worked with both at Windsport and they are great.
Do you find time to windsurf these days? What skills are you working on?
To be honest this has been my worst year for getting on the water since I started working in the industry. However, I can’t say that it’s entirely the fault of Windsurfing Now. I’m based out of southern Ontario in the Great Lakes and it hasn’t been a great year for wind. When I do get out I work on maintaining the harder moves I’ve learned (Spocks and Grubbies) but have the most fun doing old-school carving freestyle moves (Duck Tacks, Hoss Tacks, Carving 360s, Reverse Monkey Jibes, etc.). I do need to re-learn how to loop… that’s my big goal. I could do it once but I’ve regressed into a big chicken!
Are you planning to travel to grassroots events throughout the year?
I was just at the Toronto Windsurfing Club’s Mammoth Marathon race around Toronto Island… so I’d love to get to more grassroots events. However I do have to watch my bottom line so I’ve been not traveling very much. I’ll try to get to the ones I can but even more so look forward to experiencing them through being sent stories and photos from windsurfers across North America. Please contribute to your next Windsurfing Now! Email me at email@example.com.
The first edition is out and it’s awesome! Please head to the Windsurfing Now subscription page to support the magazine!