Surfer Staff Bails To Swell.com?

In the past week, three top staff members of 40-year-old Surfer magazine made the dot.com dash, heading for thedollar-green pastures of the Internet world, and providingan opportunity for new faces to step in and lead theworldâs longest-running surf magazine.

Surfer’s Group Publisher Doug Palladini, Editor EvanSlater, and Associate Editor Matt Walker have pulledup stakes from Emap Peterson to join former Surfer EditorSteve Hawk at Swell.com, an Internet startup based inSan Francisco, California.

This follows close on the heels of the departure ofSurfer’s Senior Editor Chris Mauro to The Den (www.den.net),and Surfing’s Editor Skip Snead to Broadband Interactivegroup, which publishes bluetorch.com (formerly Gotcha.com).

So why the mad dash for the door? Rumors abound thatthese Internet start-ups are offering top dollar foreditorial and publishing talents from the action-sportsworld.

Swell.com CEO Nicholas Nathanson and Palladini wereunavailable for comment, and Hawk declined to go onrecord about either the new hires or the plans of Swell.com.

However, rumors around the surf industry predict thatswell.com will be editorially driven but with an e-commercecomponent that will drive revenues.

An article published by the Orange County Registerreports that Hawk will be executive editor, Slater managingeditor, and Palladini chief operating officer of thenew venture.

Rumors are that long-time contributor Sam George hasstepped in as editor of at least the next issue of Surfermagazine, while the staffs of other Emap Peterson titles(including Snowboarder, Skateboarder, Powder, Bike,Box, and Gravity magazines), have been less affectedby the dot.com dash.

TransWorld SURF Business will be following this continuingdot.com saga and will bring you up-to-the-minute reportsas they occur.