Magazine Intro, Surfing World Magazine, June 2015
In the Surfing World office we received the sad news that after five years of dedicated service to the magazine, first as Deputy then as Senior Editor, Mike Jennings had decided to pack his black leotards, white face paint and invisible robe into a man bag and head off to Montréal, Canada to pursue his childhood dream of becoming the world’s best street mime.
Jennings’ short career in the surf media has been a colourful one (and you can read all about it in Jock Serong’s Short History of… on page 27) and his contribution to Surfing World extends well beyond the brilliant feature stories and same sounding Melbourne-based indie bands he reviews in Recommended each month. A student of magazine craft it is no exaggeration to say his influence can be found on every page, be it the tweaking of coverlines, ideas for layouts or an opinion on content. Even the basic structure and pace of the magazine have benefitted enormously thanks to his endless passion for this crusty old medium known as print.
Further to that, Jennings believes the Surfing World readers are intelligent, kind hearted and love surfing for all the right reasons. He strives to make sure each issue delivers the kind of experience that will not only be entertaining but that will mean something to you after you put it down because that’s how he felt when he read SW as a kid. In short, Jennings cares. A lot. About everything. In fact if a topic, any topic at all, is worth discussing then it’s worth discussing properly. There certainly aren’t too maybe people I know who can shut down a raging party by getting into an hour long screaming match with the host about which episode of Seinfeld is the best and why.
Despite his sense of duty to always play the devil’s advocate, Jennings is extremely sensitive and compassionate. He’s the kind of guy who’ll take on your problems as if they are his own, offering thoughtful insights and good advice on how to navigate your way to the best possible outcome in a any situation. It may not always (or ever) be what you want to hear but it’s a measure of the man that he’ll always tell you the truth. I don’t want to be too parochial because it’s one of Jennings’ pet hates, but that’s the sort of mateship that Australia was once famous for. I’m fully gonna miss the dude, ay.
So on behalf of the crew here at SW, from the owners to the interns, on behalf of the readers and on behalf of Ellis Ericsson who is the guy in the barrel you see on this page for no specific reason, I’d like to say thank you Mike Jennings. Thank you and bon voyage. Here’s hoping you find what’s on the other end of that invisible rope we call life. I hope it’s an invisible dog. That would be funny. – Vaughan Blakey