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Body Watch

Making a Splash

Water-sports fans, rejoice: Whether you're surfers, water-skiers, scuba divers or swimmers, you have a magazine that speaks especially to you.

May 15, 1996|LESLIE KNOWLTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When it comes to active water sports, California is the place to be. Whether you want to ski and surf over the waves or swim and dive below them, there are dozens of specialty sporting magazines to help you get that butt off the beach blanket and into action.

Here are our 11 best bets--four of which are California-based. (Ahoy! Magazines on pleasure boating will be reviewed on a future Body Watch page.)

Swimming

* Swim Magazine

Issues a year: 6

Established: 1984

Circulation: 42,600

Cover price: $2.95

Subscriptions: (800) 345-7946

The official magazine of U.S. Masters Swimming, founded to promote the adult water sport, is strong on event coverage but also includes plenty of practical advice for everyday swimmers.

Recent features: "Swimming's Scientific 'Studmuffin' " (read about Masters swimmer Brian Scottoline, a PhD and Mr. January in the 1996 Studmuffins of Science calendar); "Swimming With Jimmy Breslin" (the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer overcame alcoholism by swimming).

* Fitness Swimmer

Issues a year: 6

Established: 1991

Circulation: 50,000

Cover price: $2.95

Subscriptions: (800) 846-0086

This new kid on the block was purchased in 1994 by Rodale from a man who published it out of his apartment. Bumped up to the big time, in just two years it already exceeds circulation of other swimming magazines. It is very health and how-to oriented.

Recent features: "Giving His Eye Teeth" (meet John Runkle Sr., inventor and founder of Barracuda goggles); "Liquid Gold Therapy" (injured athletes rehabilitating with aquatic therapy).

Scuba Diving

* Scuba Diving

Issues a year: 9

Established: 1992

Circulation: 180,000

Cover price: $3.50

Subscriptions: (800) 666-0016

Strong on travel, instruction and editorial quality, it covers everything from resorts and dive operations to objective equipment reviews and environmental issues. Next month it will regionalize to provide more localized coverage.

Recent features: "Guaranteed Wild" (from mantas to manatees, 10 places where you're sure to find the big game); "The Truth About Rebreathers" (hype meets reality in this first-person report).

* Discover Diving

Issues a year: 6

Established: 1982

Circulation: 85,000

Cover price: $3.95

Subscriptions: (800) 776-3483

Subtitled "The Diver's Journal," this San Diego-based publication with broad appeal and languorous writing was started by diver Ken Loyst. It's very strong on underwater photography and travel--both domestic and exotic--and covers equipment and how-to advice for all levels of divers.

Recent features: "Hunting in Harmony" (get back to simpler days of spearfishing); "Lighting Translucent Subjects" (learn to photograph jellyfish, strawberry anemones and buttercup coral).

Surfing

* Surfing

Issues a year: 12

Established: 1964

Circulation: 100,000

Cover price: $3.95

Subscriptions: (800) 879-0484

Originally called International Surfing, this hip San Clemente publication was started by a couple of California surfing characters named Pete Peterson and Leroy Grannis. Targeted toward the high-performance crowd of younger surfers, the writing has a definite edge and is accompanied by lots of photos and a monthly California poster. Even the more than two dozen monthly letters to the editor are chattily interesting, like members of a big family keeping in touch.

Recent features: "In God's Hands" (a story about a surfer who died); "California: A Cool Change" (a lavishly photographed aerial overview of California surfing).

* Surfer

Issues a year: 12

Established: 1960

Circulation: 105,000

Cover price: $3.99

Subscriptions: (800) 289-0636

Started by San Clemente surfer and surfing filmmaker John Severson, this 35-year-old magazine--the nation's oldest surfing publication and one of its first specialty sporting magazines--is based in Dana Point.

Striving to be the one surf magazine for all surfers with a focus on modern progressive surfing, it also includes fiction, an environmental column and an annual surfer poll. Like Surfing, it's also very hip, with lots of great letters from readers and a monthly poster.

Recent features: "California Love" (California surfing: "It's back lit. It's glassy. It's what we live for"); "The New ASP Top 44" (emboldened by the promise of anonymity, pro surfers rate other pro surfers).

Bodyboarding

* Bodyboard

Issues a year: 6

Established: 1985

Circulation: 45,000

Cover price: $3.95

Subscriptions: (800) 879-0484

Started in San Clemente by Surfing magazine back when bodyboarding was a fledgling sport and not taken very seriously, this publication has developed along with the activity it covers. Like surfing magazines, it gets interesting mail and includes a poster.

Recent features: "Strange Days" (a pleasure cruise through the Indian Ocean); "Mex" (Mexico: "It's hollow, it's cheap, it's warm. . . . So why aren't you there?").

Water-Skiing

* WaterSki

Issues a year: 10

Established: 1978

Circulation: 110,000

Cover price: $2.95

Subscriptions: (800) 879-0495

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