Get on Drewslist, Get to Know Drew

The mark of Drewslist
To the untrained eye the above image is simply six dots. But to Whidbey islanders this mark, like Zorro’s Z, identifies a vital message from a swashbuckling local hero. It makes a few of us salivate.

Welcome to Tidal Life!


Tidal Life is not Drews List. You cannot subscribe to Drews List by subscribing to Tidal Life. But if you like articles about cool things like Drews List, beautiful beaches, sailing stories and funny books, then please subscribe!

The following article contains information about Drewslist and how to subscribe to it. More important, it introduces you to Drew, the most interesting man on Whidbey Island.

Tidal Life is not affiliated with Drews List except by long friendship and a shared love of the sea. This site publishes resources and stories about coastal living, coastal travel, sailing and promoting the health of the marine environment. I’m proud to have Drew as a fan and contributor.

Enjoy reading, and may you have fair winds and calm seas.



What is Drewslist?

Drewslist is THE PLACE to buy, sell, announce, promote, advertise and generally find out what’s happening on the south end of Washington’s Whidbey Island. It works by email. You send Drew your ad and he sends it out to his huge email list. You get many calls, you sell your item or rent your house, and you smile.

It wasn’t always this way …

The start of Drewslist

Drew is one of those guys who knows what’s going on. To keep friends informed, he started sending out emails about Whidbey events and such. His notes were helpful. But back then, not everyone was pleased.

I remember one friend who’d been receiving Drew’s four or five daily emails complaining, “All that stuff Drew sends, it just gets to be too much.” That comment is funny now. Back then, we didn’t know from email overload.

I personally missed Drew’s emails for a while when I changed my email address and didn’t send him the update. I finally asked him to put me back on the list when the number of his messages that were being forwarded to me by friends just became ridiculous.

The turning point for the list

Drew continued in his informal way until one day a hole developed in the Whidbey Island communications system. The Langley Forum, a popular town information source that was run as a community service by Langley Councilman Robert Gilman, became overly politicized. When Gilman announced that he was discontinuing the forum, those who used it to keep up on events and exchange information bemoaned the loss of what had been a helpful resource.

A round of virtual hand wringing ensued with people crying “what shall we do?” and asking someone to start a new site where announcements could be posted, minus the name calling and snark.

And someone replied, “We already have that, it’s called Drewslist.”

When I read, that my eyes popped. “Yikes,” I thought, “poor Drew is about to be inundated.”

Drewslist goes island-viral

Apparently Drew was thinking bigger than I. He welcomed the Forum refugees, expanded his list, and just kept on hitting Send.

More and more people sent him things they wanted to share with the community – the plant sale to benefit the Land Trust, the offer of gardening services, registration information for an art class, a plea for help finding a ring lost at the playground, whatever, Drew shared it, free of charge.

When the flood threatened to overwhelm us all, Drew made the list more user friendly (and probably more creator friendly as well) by formatting the emails into categories, always set apart by those triple colons.

Now every day he publishes –

::: Housing Report :::

::: Jobs & Services :::

::: Events :::

::: For Sale, Wanted & Free :::

::: Classes :::

::: Health & Healing :::

::: Restaurants :::

And every now and then – amazingly infrequently given the amount of work he has taken on –

::: Drewslist :::

which is his understated request for donations to keep the dots, and what’s between them, coming.

Drewlist has now become a business. Though a loose one. Revenues are based on the honor system. Advertisers send in donations of a percentage of their proceeds. There has never been an invoice.

What does Drewslist have to do with water?

Drew happens to live, and publish to his list, on an island. But there’s far more that makes him a perfect subject for Tidal Life. His life and his career have been devoted to interaction with constantly moving water.

The former editor of Surfer magazine, Surfing magazine and Windsurfing magazine, Drew continues to write for those, and for other water sport publications and websites. He is also author of several books about surfing and the sea, including, Stoked! A History of Surf Culture, The Book of Waves, The Way of the Surfer, Waves: From Surfing to Tsunami, Greg Noll: The Art Of The Surfboard, and The Lost Coast.

The promoter who doesn’t self promote

Noteworthy about Drew: He’s got all these books to sell, yet I’ve never seen any of them advertised under the Drewslist ::: For Sale ::: banner. That, in these days of 24/7 marketing, shows remarkable restraint. I don’t have to be so reticent though. I will tell you that you can buy Drew’s books via his website, and that you should go there and buy them now.

Drew Kampion and Jack O'Neill
Drew Kampion and Jack O’Neill

As we speak, Drew is off to another set of islands, somewhere in our watery world, for another surf related project. It may be Surf, Sex and Sandals: The Latin Art of Mixing Business with Pleasure, the autobiography he’s working on with Fernando Aguerre, co-founder of the Reef sandal and surfwear company. (My own beloved old Reefs appear in this Tidal Life self-portrait.) It could be a PR appearance for the story of Jack O’Neill, inventor of the modern surfing wet suit, Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer On the Inside. Or perhaps Drew, the surf photographer, is snapping photos of big wave surfers at the latest World Surf League competition on Maui’s North Shore.

Hey Dude, I just came here to sign up for Drewslist

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: Last year 100,000 people bought electric drills. But not one of them wanted a drill. What they wanted was a hole.

A certain segment of the visitors to Tidal Life, a site that talks about the wonders of oceans, marine creatures, sailing and living on the coast, will have arrived because they have something to sell.

They didn’t come here to learn about the activities of people who love the ocean. They weren’t looking for great surfing books to give as Christmas gifts. They didn’t want to hear about a guy named Drew who had a clever idea for getting the word out. They ended up here because they searched for Drewslist in hopes of unloading a used wetsuit, which would be kinda karmic.

How To Sign Up For Drewslist

Getting on Drewslist couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is send a friendly email to drewslist at whidbey dot com, and in a friendly way, ask Drew to put you on the list. That’s all there is to it. But I hope you find that you get more than you bargained for, and that you’re glad to know the surfer dude behind the list.

Drew signs each email with this touch of surf philosophy:

Life is a wave. Your attitude is your surfboard. Stay stoked & aim for the light!

I would argue that getting that reminder every morning is actually the biggest benefit of subscribing.

Photo of Drew and Jack O’Neill is from O’Neill South Africa



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  1. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It’s always interesting to read content from other authors and use something from their websites.

  2. Hello Drew. I have been on the Island since last saturday 11/24/2012. My is living now in Freeland. He is in the Navy and his new station will be out of Oak Harbor. My son and I drove his new pickup truck here from Toledo, Ohio witch it is both our home town. I had a very quick visit but, I have fell in love with the area. The people of your island is very nice! I heard about your web site from a nice girl from The Color Box hair and nail salon that cut my hair. She was very sweet to share some things about your island with me since she is a life long local. Please add me to your site for in hopes that I will find employment and housing when I do make the move to your great island.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for visiting Tidal Life. I’d love to help you get on the list, but I’m just the messenger. To get on DrewsList you’ll need to send an email to the man himself. His address is drewslist at whidbey dot com.

      Best wishes,


  3. Hi Stu,
    Thanks for signing up for Tidal Life, pleased to have you as a subscriber.
    I cannot sign you up for Drewslist – I’m just the messenger.
    To sign up for Drewslist, send Drew an email at drewslist at whidbey dot com, putting the @ and the . in the proper places. (I’ve written it this way in hopes of foiling spam bots.)

  4. Hey Drew,

    I’d like to get on your list. Hope this is the way to do it. Signed up for Tidal Life, too.


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