Cornwall's new Local Surf Magazine by Caleb Giddens
Our great friend Caleb Giddens has made his name known around Cornwall not only for his outstanding surf photography, but also for his exciting new venture, a surfing lifestyle magazine called 'Local' catering for all Cornish natives (and maybe a few outsiders!) that love the sea, their region and the people in it as well as finding out what's going on in their beautiful part of the world. We caught up with him as Local Surf Mag hits the printers for the second time to ask him a bit about surf, print and some of his favourite adventure spots...
From the looks of it, you’re a family full of surfers - has this always been the case? When did you first jump on a board and what’s the surf community like in your home of Cornwall?
The ocean has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up on the South Coast of Cornwall and was homeschooled which meant countless hours spent on the beach. My dad has surfed since he was younger so I grew up very much in the culture of surf. I remember my dad teaching me to surf and I even remember my first wave, 9 years old on a bright yellow swell board. One of my biggest regrets is not pursuing it then. It was only at the beginning of lockdown that I got back on the board and committed hours to improving my surfing and rediscovering my love of the sea. My brothers both got into it then as well, they are now frothing groms and you can't get them out of the water. They are getting really good too!
So at what stage did you pick up a camera alongside your surfing? Was there a pic or moment that made you think “this is what I want to do..”?
Before lockdown, I was really into filmmaking and photography, after just finishing college I had started a degree in Filmmaking at Falmouth Uni. I found this ridiculously restrictive to the point where it was unbearable. Dropping out to follow my dreams was one of the best decisions I have ever made. After getting back into surfing, it only made sense to try both of my passions and merge them together. I never looked back. I became obsessed with capturing the unpredictable beauty of the ocean.
You now have taken that love of the surf life and photography one step further by creating an incredibly beautiful surf & lifestyle magazine. For those that haven’t got themselves a copy yet, what’s ‘Local’ about, where can we find it?
Local is a passion project based on the incredible surf lifestyle community in Cornwall. I was surfing a lot and taking photos at all the best spots around Cornwall and everywhere I went, I would meet incredible people, and amazing characters who have so many stories to tell. I found a spider web of connections all over Cornwall of incredible stories, photographers, surfers, and businesses. I love magazines, as you probably can tell. My shelves are filled with Carve, Wavelength, Surfers Path, Pit Pilot, etc. All of these I love, but what I found I loved the most were shots and stories from home. I thought why not make something that is purely Cornwall. Not that it is Localist in any way. I love the rest of the world and there are so many other surfing communities that have so much to give. But I wanted to prove that Cornwall has enough to fill issues and issues of a surf mag. It has so many incredible stories and photos I cant wait to showcase and support. Currently full steam ahead for Issue 2, Issue 1 is available to order on my website, www.cgmedia.uk.
‘Print is dead. Long live print!’ - no doubt starting up was a challenge, was it as hard as you’d imagine? What’s been some of the challenges you’ve faced?
It’s been a mental journey and still is. Funding this thing has been the hardest struggle to overcome. Print costs are through the roof at the moment and it's very easy to think ”Oh just whack it online” This is the exact thing I am against. There is something different about holding a magazine in your hands, seeing your mate or yourself, seeing your photo. Screens are taking over and it's so easy to flick past an epic shot on Insta but pretty hard to ignore a double-page spread. I want to give surfers and photographers the credit and print space they deserve. I have a vision in my head of what I want Local to be, unfortunately, it's an expensive one. To bring the highest quality content in the highest quality form. I don't want to compromise. We have had some great advertisers hop on board so far which has been amazing. But we definitely need more. We have a fundraiser coming up which I'm excited about!
What’s been the result of all that blood, sweat, and tears and what advice would you give to those wanting to get into surf photography/magazines?
It’s so rewarding to hold it in your hands and look through the incredible content from all over Cornwall. So stoked to get the next one out, you are going to love it. Regarding getting started, If it's what you really want then go for it. Don't give in to what other people say and don't give up. I have really struggled with comparison in the past. Wanting to be exactly like other photographers and trying to mirror what they do. I have definitely been set free from that and been able to embrace my own style and way of shooting which is so refreshing. Just keep taking photos, at every moment you can, walking the dog, take your camera, going to Lidl? take your camera. The way to get better is to keep shooting.
You managed to be one of the first to get your hands on our Sandracer series watch, the Ainsdale - how have you found it?
The Sandracer is the best watch I have ever had. Really ergonomic, stylish, and very comfy. I'm a big fan of the leather strap. Feels really nice on the wrist, not too heavy but has the weightiness that we all want in a watch. It feels great.
Vazon watches were made for adventure - Can you name three of your favorite spots to surf - be that at home/abroad/UK-wide… and why/what memories are attached to those places?
Number one is probably Praa Sands, I grew up there and it's where I caught my first wave. Hollow, steep beach break when it's bigger and lovely log wave when it's small.
I'm a sucker for Godrevy. Big walls and long rides, perfect for testing boards and getting practice in for turns.
Abroad wise I really love the South of France. Many a happy family holiday/surf trip has been enjoyed in Hossegor and the surrounding areas.
With special thanks (and all photo credits!) to Caleb Giddens - you can find out more about his work and pick up a copy of Local Magazine from his website, make sure to give the new magazine a follow on instagram to keep receiving beautiful shots of Cornwall in your feed! You can also catch Caleb's new show 'The Endless Pursuit' coming to The Cornish Art Gallery July '22.