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Epilogue for

A Note From During November 2016, the website known as was transferred to for maintaining an important historical record of alternative surfcraft and surfriding; and, other items of surfing and alternative thoughts as recorded by the site's originator, Nels Norene. Virtually all of the former website is visually and factually presented on as it was before being migrated (e.g., one exception was the updating of some website links; and in a few cases linked websites or images had already ceased to be). Editorial content has not been changed from the original site. being a website focused on paipo and bellyboard surfing, the link below takes the reader to the Alternative Vehicles portal on vagabondsurf. From there you can explore other parts of vagabondsurf as well.

Happy browsing:

Please read Nels Norene's epilogue below.

vr/Rod Rodgers

Epilogue for

November 2016
Camarillo, California

Where does the time go? Lost in tsunamis of technological churn? People themselves don’t change all that much, to be honest, but people don’t drive cultural change any more…an odd thought given that “culture” is truly a term that applies to living things, and not machines.

I write this not to praise my old website, but to put it in context. I’ve always thought that a “surfing career” seems to last about 7 years for the vast majority of people who take to the waves through whatever means. That was more accurate back in 2000 when I brought to life. It’s tough to remain that “into” any activity, much less one that demands so much time and lifestyle flexibility. 16 years later and you can add expense into the mix for most surfers. It should be harder to stay involved, if anything, but the floods of new people into the oceans of the world subsequent to 2000 have coupled with technology and new “economic realities” to allow the waveriding population to have exploded since that time, and hold.

I say that to remind the voyagers who may come across these words that at this point most surfers these days and going forward will not have known a time when nearly all surf information came from physical magazines that had gone to the printer a month or more prior to their release. That was the definition of “immediacy” back then, and the structure of print journalism was tight and expensive to produce. The internet was a “game changer” on many levels.

As the 21st Century arrived the internet “DotCom revolution” was hitting the shores of surfing culture like those tsunamis that devastated Thailand and Indonesia a few years later. Deep pockets created action sports websites and pillaged surf magazines for talent and staffers. They needed a constant flow of new material and let’s say the editorial standards dropped. I was still totally wrapped in print mentality, having spent about 8 years in the 80’s freelancing articles and photos. I had just come off another 8 years working in the aerospace industry and was ready to roll…and I rolled into a brick wall. There was no work for me in that economy and I didn’t like what I was seeing most places.

So…enter It was envisioned as a place where we rank and file surfers could contribute views of our surfing reality. I define surfing as “riding waves” and don’t distinguish by method. If you ride waves, you’re a surfer. That’s where the “vagabond” part came from…free to roam from place to place and on any equipment you want. Unencumbered. Free. The “.com” was a tweak to the commercial interests, both mine and the greedy corporate raiders. To be fair though, back then there were only “.com”, “.net”, and “.org”.

Back then: there were actual print magazines that came out monthly that did nothing but list every new website url that came online in the world during the previous month. Seriously. I bought one the month went live, just to see it. Search engines were in total infancy. It was a “dial-up” world and sometimes uploading or downloading would slow to a crawl just because I was doing it when Europe and Scandinavia were coming online after dinner (that sounds like hogwash but a friend of mine working in IT at NBC at the time came up with that as the only reason he could figure for certain periodic morasses I would find myself in). Ponder that a bit and you will get a sense of the times.

During the peak of vagabondsurf it once was one of the top ten surfing websites according to Yahoo. Of course Yahoo was the hosting service, so that might have had something to do with that rating, but things did thin right out after the top ten. I think all the big surf-related action sports journalism websites had exploded by then, victims of Too Much Money and no real long term business plans., like The Dude, abided, due to an operating budget that was so small that monthly expenses then would buy a single tank of gas now. Even then, it never made a sustainable income. The rewards, however, were immense.

Like-minded people from all over the world checked in, sometimes to share, sometimes just to touch base on some level. Virtually all would be considered “outcasts” from contemporary surfing culture, while being fully engaged in real life. It was great. Early in the morning, middle of the night, it didn’t matter – something amazing could be in the Inbox. 

It was a tightrope but a fun tightrope, and as “fortunes” waxed and waned depending on season or what might be occupying my personal life, the quality varied. At some point I could see the writing on the wall, that it wasn’t going to take off to some majestic level or get a buyout offer, and my own interests couldn’t stay focused on just surf topics. It began to morph into a blog, and then blogs were invented…and then internet forums…and that was it. IBM doesn’t sell a lot of typewriters any more, you know? The reason for vagabondsurf no longer existed. It was time to move on.

That was many years ago now, and one may ask why I kept it up. Simply put it was a repository of some material that couldn’t be found anywhere else, primarily the alternative surfing and paipo material, and especially the words and photos of my friend Roger Wayland, who had passed away unexpectedly.

I am currently streamlining all aspects of my life, seeking that illusive simplicity. Even an abandoned website takes some effort, if minimum expense. Rod’s original paipo website existed before vagabondsurf and he’s made the transitions that did not. Rod has kindly offered to archive some bits here so the better of it won’t be lost in the internet ether, and I am grateful for that.

It’s still about life – not lifestyle.

Nels Norene

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Last updated on: 12/04/16