Black Friday Hits Swell.com

“We ate the food, we drank the wine
Everybody having a good time
Except you
You were talking about the end of the world.”

Talk about a hangover. Last night Swell.com celebrated its tremendously successful XXL Big Wave contest, which awarded a 60,000-dollar check to Mike Parsons for his 60-foot-plus Cortes Bank beast of a wave. Today, staffers at Swell’s sister sites, MonsterSkate.com and Crossrocket.com, were handed their walking papers.

“Former Crossrocket editor speaking,” was the way Rob Campbell answered his phone this afternoon. According to Campbell, MonsterSkate.com and Crossrocket.com have been effectively “mothballed” — the entire staff of Crossrocket has been let go and the Monsterskate crew has been trimmed to a single person. Even Swell will be undergoing some cost-cutting measures and a further tightening of the belt, says Campbell.

According to a somewhat tacky Swell news bit, 26 employees were affected.

However, Campbell says he still believes the Swell.com model can work — given the play the Web site has received in the mainstream press from the Cortes Bank expedition and the various revenue streams the company enjoys. He also confirms the rumors that swirled through the surf industry last week: that a Swell/Primedia merger was in the works but that negotiations hit an apparently unreconcilable “ninth-inning” snag.

Suprisingly, Campbell seems to be taking the announcement in stride — despite the fact that today is his birthday: “For the past week, I’ve had a sign on my door that read, ‘You’ll pry my Web site from my cold dead fingers.’ Today, I changed it to read: ‘Don’t think of it as a layoff, think of it as more time to surf.'”

Speaking of surfing, did anybody else notice that the huge 60,000-dollar check Mike Parsons held up over his head at the party last night wasn’t signed? Let’s hope that was merely an oversight.