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Student's surfing-inspired essay exploring new era of Apple software featured nationally

Loyola press release - December 6, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans English major and Ventura, Calif., native Stewart Sinclair used his love of surfing to inspire an evocative essay on Apple’s rollout of its new operating system, OS X Mavericks, named after an extreme surfing spot in Northern California. Sinclair’s article, “Apple’s Private Beach,” aims to make waves. Published on the national literary website, The Millions, the essay explores Apple’s branding entry into the California surf life—a wipeout or hanging 10?

“Mavericks is such an evocative place for surfers, having taken the lives of two prominent surfers,” Sinclair said. While Apple likes to present itself as a singular, evocative company, Sinclair questions its use of Mavericks—a deadly surf zone with waves that can tower to 80 feet—to represent what he terms as the safe, closed user experience available to anyone wealthy enough to purchase a new Mac.

“The very nature of Mavericks—open, wild, unpredictable—is ostensibly in direct opposition with the technological environment Apple cultivates in its operating systems,” Sinclair said in his essay.

Even before the essay was published in The Millions, Sinclair was writing about surfing. His 2-year-old surfing-themed blog started as a lighthearted writing outlet, but quickly became more. “I realized that you can dig deeply into any subject, and in fact writing about surfing became writing about everything: society, globalization, culture—it’s all hidden beneath the surface.”

Digging deeper in his writing is something Sinclair said he owes to Loyola’s Department of English, especially Christopher Schaberg, Ph.D., who looked at Sinclair’s blog in the beginning and encouraged his student to stick with it. “Now, the project has become my thesis, and I've published this essay and a book review,” Sinclair said.

“I feel like our department is good at encouraging students to write outside of their own areas of interest. I came to Loyola wanting to write fiction. When I graduate next semester, I'll have had experience writing across multiple genres. I understand now that it’s not the genre or medium that is important, but the bare act of writing.”

Sinclair hopes to pursue a master’s degree after graduation.