Like Fighting The Ocean is a zine about skateboarding and listening to punk music. Creator Paul Renn describes it in exactly those terms: “This zine is about punk rock and skateboarding, that’s it. They are inseparably linked in my mind and are two of the most important discoveries I’ve had in my life.” Thematically, Like Fighting The Ocean is about maintaining enthusiasm for counterculture activities that are associated with teenagers, even after turning 30 and starting an “adult” life.
You can buy the zine online ($4 + free US shipping), but Paul writes that he “would much rather trade for your zine/record/whatever the hell you think is worth trading…” I encountered Like Fighting The Ocean at Pegasus Books in Oakland, then emailed Paul to trade some of my writing for his. You can do the same via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoyed Like Fighting The Ocean because it enthusiastically explores a culture that I’ve never joined. (Positive, good-hearted media is my favoritest thing. Okay, and then there’s Peep Show…) The zine could have been improved by including non-male voices, but punk rock and skateboarding are kind of a boys’ club, so I wasn’t exactly surprised.
The first section is “Skateboarding After 30”, which Paul prefaces by explaining that when he was a young adult, “doing rad shit past age 30 seemed amazing, but also unrealistic.” Following this are testimonials from other close-to-middle-aged skateboarders. After that, Paul interviews band members from the punk outfits Scholastic Deth and Night Birds. The last section (my favorite) is Paul’s tour diary from visiting Canada with another punk band, Reservoir.
Like Fighting The Ocean will appeal to skateboarders, punk rockers, and cultural voyeurs like me. It’s also a very nice physical object. The brown cardboard cover is heavy and good to touch; within, the font choices are charmingly playful. Recommended.