Surf Life for Women

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In the midst of this emerging market, a young and determined entrepreneur, Sunshine Makarow decided to launch her own all female surf magazine. Thus, Surf Life for Women was born in June of 2002. The magazine focused on the sport and athleticism of women’s surfing.  At the time of Surf Life for Women, Wahine was in print and SG Magazine was launching.  The void seemed to be oversaturated, but Sunshine’s philosophy was that “if they [the men’s market] could have a Surfer, Surfing, Transworld, Longboard, Surfer’s Journal: why couldn’t we also offer the women’s segment different takes on the sport and market?”

Surf Life for Women dedicated itself to the “stoke” that makes the surfing lifestyle attractive and the untold stories involving female surfers and water-woman enthusiast. The magazine lasted three years as a quarterly publication with a subscription base that was a little over 3,000 and a total circulation of 30,000 which included a mix bag of subscribers, newsstand circulation and promotional circulation. Yet, progress slowed from once again, lack of support from the surf industry. At that time many of the large companies took their advertising dollars to mainstream fashion magazines like Teen Vogue. However, some strong supporters did fuel the venture.  Surf Life for Women connected with the Independent Press Association, which helped them secure distribution in bookstores and newsstands across the nation and internationally. These outlets included; Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Books-a-Million, Hastings, and Tower Records.  Their largest success story distribution:  a niche market of readers was very excited about the publication and the newsstand distributor was constantly surprised by their sell-through rate.  Granted they didn’t flood the newsstand, but sell-through consistently reached the 50-60 percent mark. To put this in context in the magazine business: a sell-through rate of 30 percent is considered extremely successful.


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