Originally published on Vert | LeBoogie
Phil Gallagher is done with the bullshit. Having been immersed in the bodyboarding universe since, well, practically ever, he lived and experienced the most notorious ups and downfalls of the sport, but never saw it in such a dark place as of today. So he’s one to point out the greedy, pocket-locked industry for not pumping some green ones into boogieboarding’s development and to gauge that not all riders rip as hard as you think.
So the 35-year old Australian photographer (on the right) has put himself in a place where he can actually extract bodyboarding’s cultural nectar. As the founder of photographic journal Le Boogie, he took the publishing built-in reputation to hammer out what he calls an “art house” by producing mind-bending films, representing underdog musicians and pushing bodyboarding’s unique culture and lifestyle forward.
After the release of SPLIT, Le Boogie’s latest film production, I swapped a few words with the Aussie creative about the publishing’s new face and the future of bodyboarding.
What exactly is SPLIT?
Four riders teamed up with four cinematographers to create a banging 30-minute film. They all created their own parts and we slammed them together and released it.
Why did such project come up?
Too much web content gets produced without purpose, but the success in the 2-3 days around it before becoming forgotten. We tried to get the guys to work on something they would be stoked about and have some fun challenging them against each other.
What impact are you looking for with SPLIT?
Bringing some sense of fun and competitiveness back into things. Trying to stop people from just pumping out mindless web clips to get likes and hits.
What challenges have you faced while producing this flick?
Four different teams means four sets of problems and, as the deadlines tightened up, it got pretty heated at the end, getting it all together and keeping everyone happy.
In this past year you’ve released a batch of films under Le Boogie – you are now you are promoting The 8 – and added a music label to the publishing. Why this change of paths now?
We cant’t sell magazines. Pure and simple. We have the largest current fan base and database and we can help people and make it profitable to a point by helping out. The music thing is just for fun and nothing too serious. But it feels good getting people to listen to some new tunes made by people we know. It’s a way of helping people and for us to keep busy.
What sort of music and artists do you represent?
All types from pop, rock, metal, electro and some others I don’t really know where they fall into the current name brackets. All these guys are music lovers with full time jobs who are looking to make music. If we can help getting people to their shows, we will.
Are you fed up with the print media? You still going to put out magazines?
Making magazines is like shooting film photography: you’re really doing it for yourself and, as a business, no paying client is going to pay for that extra effort, whether it’s photo based work or a guy looking out to get some bodyboarding content,. The internet is amazing and I use it daily, it’s brought many great things, but in the end there’s so much content out there, regardless of quality, so why would people pay money to see more? We have a very special photo annual due out at the end of the year and this might be it, who knows. If it sells and people buy it and we cover the costs, we are stoked, but breaking even ain’t the goal of the business really.
What do you look to achieve in bodyboarding with these projects?
Quality with a human touch.
Bodyboarding is actually at a crossroad: it doesn’t have a steady commercial culture nor a counter-culture side. Where is boogieboarding going and what’s it going to be in the next few years?
It’s a dark time, I’m not going to lie. If you love it, you will never stop, you know. But from a business point-of-view, it’s time to lay low and trim the excess. There just seems to be no money or will to invest in any projects or advertising. And I get it, trust me. If you ain’t got cash, you ain’t going to spend it. Maybe people are just not bodyboarding anymore. It’s crazy, I see so many people riding and all kitted out with the latest gear, but I guess it’s the lack of any main stress cash that hurts it all.
How do you define Le Boogie in the bodyboarding culture?
I hate to use the word, but due to a lack of anything more fitting, I’ll stick with art house. We try to put a quality spin on things and not worry about making a profit and blowing it all on a party or tour or premiere. I guess people love that stuff. We tend to tell it how it is and not sugar coat the crap that goes on and hurt us. Honestly, it’s what we are. If we played by the rules and said that everyone ripped and all these new products are awesome and everything in the industry was perfect, we would be fucking lying to your face and basically throwing the bullshit on pussy publications. Any one with a smart phone can be a blogger and do what we do. The difference is: do they have the balls to call people out and the trust of those in the industry who are in game to tell it?
What are the plans for the near future?
Photo annual is the main one currently. We had hoped to make a follow up to Passing Through, but a lack of backing from sponsors meant we had to put a hold on that. Keep shooting and try keeping the website turning, but really just taking each day as it comes.
SPLIT is digitally available for $5