Staff in Spotlight
Meet Surf Europe's Editor-in-Chief Paul Evans
Staff in Spotlight shines a light on the creatives, designers, editors and executives who make Factory Media happen on a daily basis. Our company values – authenticity, inspiration, access and insight – are never more apparent than when you meet the real people behind our business.
"We've always been really lucky to find great talent at Factory, and we're brilliant at attracting some of the best and most innovative people in media and action sports." says CEO Darryl Newton.
Read a little bit about the about the experiences and unique personalities of Factory’s staff, in their own words.
This month: Paul Evans, Editor-in-Chief – Surf Europe
What was your start date and position at Factory?
Nov 2004, Editor-in-Chief, Surf Europe. About a week after I started Matt Fenton came down to our Biarritz office and said, ‘Have you booked your tickets to Hawaii to cover the season?’ and I said “Oh go on then."
Paul interviewing Kelly Slater
What has been your favourite Factory project?
Nothing really springs to mind in terms of a project, but I could probably say a year, 2014. I kind of felt the death of the magazine was imminent, and we’d lost most of our advertisers, so the last refuge was copy sales. Our rearguard action was doing 4 issues (instead of 8) with bolder content around what we thought the readers actually might find interesting, rather than trying to appease a handful of marketing bods at 6 surf brands. That was liberating.
What has been the weirdest job you’ve ever had to do?
When I was a student I signed up for a temping agency in Bracknell in the hols. On Monday I was sent to Broadmoor delivering lunches to some of Britain’s most dangerous people, for £3.15/hr. At the time patients included Ronnie Kray and Peter Sutcliffe, and about 300 others, most of whom you don’t even want to know what they were in for. The highest risk ward is called Berkshire and I remember two supervisors arguing in the courtyard about whether or not I should be allowed to do the Berkshire lunches. Unfortunately, the one that thought I should won. I called the agency in the evening and said ‘non mas’. The next day they sent me to work in the staff kitchen of a veterinary disease research lab near Guildford. I had to serve the boffins their lunches through a hatch, and I couldn’t touch them or their crockery. They’d put their cup or plate down, I’d fill it, and so on. One girl touched one of the vet’s plates by mistake and he sounded an alarm and she got carted off to quarantine, crying.
On Wednesday I decided the workplace was too perilous, and opted to stay home and eat Wagon Wheels watching Richard and Judy in my pants.
Kernow, 1989. Boardies over wetsuit... this is sure to catch on any day now
What’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia. It’s the other side of Siberia in the far east, above Japan and just across from Alaska. There are no roads, we got dropped off by helicopter with guides, guns and a sat phone. That was just before I started at Surf Europe. I’ve done a lot of amazing trips since with the magazine, to the tropics and all the world’s best surf spots in Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Mentawais, Bali, Mexico, etc, but nothing really compares to camping on a remote Siberian beach with grizzly bears outside your tent, volcanoes erupting a few miles inland and surfing completely virginal pointbreaks with Tom Curren, and not another surfer - and very few humans - within a thousand miles.
Who has influenced your career the most and how?
Realistically… probably Darryl? I mean he hired me. Ideologically, I’ll say Steve Hawk (Tony’s brother) who was the editor of Surfer Magazine in the early 90’s, a period when I used to geek out pretty hard on magazines, l can still recite most of the captions by heart.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be? (dead/alive/fictional/famous/not famous…)
Jonathon Meades, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Bacon, Johnny Vaughan and Super Hans
Greatest personal achievement?
I can’t really think of any genuine achievements as such… but probably the best thing I’ve ever said was when I was working at a magazine in the South West called Twentyfour-Seven. I was supposed to interview Tim Westwood who was due to play a couple of dates in the SW the following month. I spoke to his PA who said Tim was in Jamaica and took my mobile number. Anyway, the surf was really, really good one day at pretty much the best wave around and I had my wetsuit half on when my phone rang. So I sort of hopped around the car to answer it and a distant, yet recognisable voice said, “Yo wassup Rudeboy, you’re in the house for real my man..." And I said, ‘Sorry Tim Westwood, I’m gonna have to call you back’.
Famalam. The boys were born in Bayonne meaning, as Anglo-Basques, they can play for both Athletic Bilbao and England.
Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
1. I used to be into birdwatching it as a kid, then I started going again recently, semi as a joke, only now it isn’t. I write them down in a little book. I saw a black shouldered kite last year, which is kind of a big deal. The year before, for my birthday treat, we drove up the Pyrenees to a place called Col de Mehatxe to see griffin vultures. Just last night, a there was a big crane migration above the coast here, you can hear them for miles. This time of year, spring, is epic. After the cranes, you’ll start to hear the first cuckoos when you’re walking through the forest, then hoopoes, then the first swallows arrive around the start of April. It’s radical.
The best place in Spain/the universe is the province of Asturias, about half way along the Biscay coast on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. They make natural cider that you have to pour from a great height into the glass, which apparently I'm amazing at. There're snowy mountains, green rolling hills, beautiful empty beaches, fun waves, good food, super nice people - and cider.
2. Not sure if anyone would be surprised at this, but my first car was a mark 2 Escort, I went halves on it with a mate, £50 each. When the auctioneer said ‘Sold’ and we stood up, there was an audible ripple of laughter around Tamar Car Auctions. It was red with a yellow door and black boot. We used to take it turns to lie on the roof holding on to the sun roof (it had a sun roof!) while the other one cornered as fast as he could round the Cornish backlanes while we were waiting for the tide. I’m not sure how we didn’t die. It was a phase in my life when, well I was watching a lot of films and eating a lot of toast and cereal, so to speak.
3. I was on a TV program called Worldwise with David ‘Kid’ Jensen on ITV when I was 9 or 10, it was a geography quiz show. My brother had to have make-up put on, but I didn’t, which I loved. We lost. We went and met Dave in his dressing room, but nothing untoward went on, he was a perfect gentleman. The Floor Manager was called Harriet and was really nice to us. She told us that we were the best pair she’d had all series and her favourites, and we’d done really well even though we’d lost. Then, as we were leaving after touring the studio and eating some lunch courtesy of Thames TV, I heard Harriet saying the exact same thing to another pair of lads who’d just recorded the next show, after us. I remember sitting in the back of the car thinking, ‘This show business is brutal’.
Best thing about your job?
There’s nothing shit about getting paid to travel the world surfing perfect waves with your heroes. But the best part is probably just that I actually really enjoy writing. Sometimes I read something from a few years ago and I’m like, ‘This is actually pretty good…’ and then LoL. Which is almost certainly a form of narcissism, but it’s a good one.
"This Joel Parkinson interview was live on Fuel TV in Brazil, Australia, Portugal and a few other places, as well as the webcast," Paul says, "He was the World Champion at the time, I asked him about getting punched in face by a bodyboarder the day before the comp, got a bit told off for that..."
Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.