Photos by Owen Tozer
There are approximately 10 zillion podcasts out there (stats are approximate, don’t @ me).
Roughly one billion of these focus on action or adventure sports, talk-show style interviews featuring a radio-voiced host and some subculturally-famous guest chatting away like Marc Maron circa 2012. Of all these, you can easily count the decent ones on two hands, and the consistently listenable on just one.
At the very apex of this approximation sits Matt Barr’s Looking Sideways.
Unlike the horde of ‘yo I climbed/ rode / shredded / jumped off / leapt over’ hype shows that simply seek to grow the shine of various action sports glitterati, Looking Sideways has, since its inception some 150-plus episodes ago, insisted on being different. Quieter. Smarter. Yeah, host Matt has had his share of big names—Terje, Torah Bright, Jamie Thomas, Danny MacAskill, Herbie Fletcher, Cara Beth Burnside, a Malloy Brother™, whatever—but just as often he features a lesser-known ‘lifer’ member of our action sports world; a part of the glue holding it all together.
No matter who the guest is, the talk is sure to go beyond the usual ‘who did what where’ banality and delve deep, taking on culturally relevant but normally taboo topics like race and gender, getting beyond the PR-prepped façades we as consumers are generally slathered with and instead, showing the actual person underneath the hype. That he accomplishes all this with dry British wit, while still keeping things entertainingly humming along, is a testament not only to his decades as a journalist but also his empathy as a human
Okay, yeah, I’m a fan of Looking Sideways, and if you haven’t checked it out you’re blowing it and should go get on that right now, you’re welcome very much. But wait! Before you click off, and even if you’re already a regular listener, there’s something you gotta know about. Even if you hate the very idea of a podcast, just hold your damn horses and read on—there’s something you gotta know.
A couple of years ago, before the world dried up like a COVID-soaked raisin and sharted into a fiery marble of political chaos, Matt and his photographer pal Owen Tozer took a road trip down the California coast, basking their pale English skins in sunny SoCal sun and knocking on doors from Ventura to San Diego to record some pods.
During this three-week sojourn, they managed to land an army of legends including Jamie Brisick, Cara-Beth Burnside, Chris Cote, Herbie Fletcher, Nick Hamilton, Colin Kennedy, Taylor Knox, Greg Long, Kevin Naughton, Craig Peterson, Cori Schumacher, Jamie Thomas, Circe Wallace, and Rip Zinger. Now, these interviews are free for you to stuff into your earholes wherever you get your pods, but that’s not why we’re here.
No. We’re here because, after looking at Owen’s massive collection of images from the trip, a narrative formed, and they decided to make a book. Featuring essays and interviews with the above, plus many more, as Matt would say, ‘absolute legends’ like Jeff Johnson, Chas Smith, Todd Richards, Lauren Hill, Demi Taylor, and way more, it’s a couple hundred pages of coffee table clutter that you damn well need to get your sweaty paws on. Why?
Because in this day and age of Instagram instantaneousness and overflowing advertorial ‘content’ frothiness, Looking Sideways Volume 1 is overstuffed with aesthetically pleasing soul, passion, and downright beauty. You want to keep that fire burning to get out and shred? Need a way to feel connected to the—again—absolute legends of our culture? As that earnest surf shop grom told Keanu Reeves in Point Break, Looking Sideways Volume 1 is ‘…the source man, swear to God’.
Check out some shots below and order yours today, with free global shipping!