Acid Magazine

A holistic approach to surfing in a beautifully designed print format


To the outside world, surfers may seem like an obsessive bunch. Piling into a station wagon, driving for hours in search of rideable peaks in the depths of winter, shuffling across snow-covered trails in nothing but a few millimeters of neoprene is not uncommon for a cold-water surfer. More often than not, there’s a lot that goes into riding a wave and Acid Magazine—based between the French Alps, Barcelona and Paris—is setting out to tell the complete story of surfing. And by exploring the “California of Norway” (complete with white-out blizzard sessions) to the relationship between surfing and coastal geological and commercial developments, Acid aptly describes itself as a sort of exploration of the world—with surfing as an entry point.


“Our intention is to create a magazine that’s intellectually and visually stimulating,” says co-founder and co-editor Olivier Talbot, “Far from the usual surf tropes.” Acid is part of a larger push in the surfing world, in which there’s a focus on the holistic experience, the story. The biggest wave and the deepest barrel are no longer the only subjects in writing and photographing the sport. “We set out to create something interesting for 30-somethings that love their surfing but have other, broader interests like contemporary art, science or philosophy,” Talbot says.

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One of the more striking pieces in the publication’s second issue explores the many famous surf breaks from around the world that are artificial; manmade results of coastal development. Talbot paints an almost academic picture—drawing on history, science and engineering—to provide a truly informative piece. Coastal and underwater manipulation and development are constant and indeed rampantly increasing, Talbot argues, illuminating lesser-known issues in marine sustainability.


“We wanted a seriousness, kind of grown up treatment but with elements of subversion, trying to bring something to contemporary editorial design,” Talbot says. Indeed the color palette and layout of the magazine is one of its strongest points. Simple, yet nuanced with a few well-chosen bright colors and cheeky font details calls to mind retro style points with contemporary sophistication. Original photos that illustrate the personal side of the sport and lifestyle (and minimal ads) allow the reader to catch a bit of Acid’s curiosity-driven wanderlust for the sea.

Acid Magazine No 2 is available online from 1980 Éditions for €12.

Photos by Hans Aschim