“Local legend” is one of those terms that can be hard to define. There’s no metric, no mathematical equation for when someone becomes a legend. It’s easier in some sports. Throw a certain number of touchdowns or score enough goals, and you’ll achieve legend status.
With other people, it’s less precise. Sometimes, you just know.
By any metric, Dutch Schorn is a legend. Dutch, whom I interviewed for a profile in this month’s magazine, has for decades been one of the most well-known names on the Fort Lauderdale surfing scene. He’s been associated with BC Surf and Sport since his early teens, and as an adult he built up his own surf school and camp, Hangloose Surf School. We talk about all that, and we also talk about his love of Fort Lauderdale. His family moved here from New Jersey when he was 10; a neighbor took him to the beach not long after that, and he’s been surfing ever since. He’s surfed all over the world, but he always comes home to Fort Lauderdale.
I respect that. I like locals. I appreciate hearing and telling the stories of people who make our community better. It’s one of my favorite things about being a local journalist and editing my city’s monthly magazine.
As it happens, this will be the last time I do that. I’ve had this job for nearly a decade, and now it’s time to let somebody else have the fun. I’m proud of the work this magazine and the talented people who put it together have done in my time here. We’ve written about big issues such as the existential threat of climate change, homelessness in Fort Lauderdale, crime versus perception of crime and how to balance livability with developing a growing city. We’ve also written about everything from sharks to burlesque-style swim-show performers to Dillard High School’s nationally ranked jazz band. I’ve interviewed people including Guy Harvey, Evander Holyfield and Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola. I’ve also interviewed chefs, artists, fishermen and a long list of other people who make Fort Lauderdale what it is. I will miss this job.
I will continue reading Fort Lauderdale Magazine, and I encourage you to as well. It’s locally owned, locally produced and written for the people of Fort Lauderdale. I didn’t necessarily plan it this way, but I find it fitting that the big feature story in my last issue is about a surfer who has dedicated his life to teaching young people in Fort Lauderdale how to surf. In our interview, Dutch Schorn recalls how after high school, several surfer friends wanted to head out to California and join the pro surfing tour. Dutch declined; they went, and now he’s got friends who made it pretty big in surfing.
Dutch has no complaints. He made it big too, but in a different way. I class him as a local legend not for any one thing he’s done, but for everything he’s done, taken as a whole. People like that make our city better. It has been a privilege to tell their stories.
By Erik Petersen