You’re acting like you’ve never seen a surfer this good not wanna do the world tour before. And that’s, uh, because you haven’t. Dane Reynolds stole all our hearts and made the progressive zeitgeist tremble and curl into the foetal position. He redefined accepted air heights and rotation speeds. He brought future and past to that perfect spot: He’s Right Now!
Dane took the fire escape outta the theatre of competitive surfing in 2011. The ASP quivered at a potential drop in viewers, the viewers quivered at a definite drop in excitement and the top 34 quivered with excitement at the removed potential of facing Dane in a heat. “I’m just trying to hold on against Dane,” said Kelly Slater after beating Dane at the Quiksilver Pro in March (where Dane was a wildcard). “He hasn’t beaten me and that’s only because I end up getting the better waves. I think that proves that it doesn’t come down to surfing, ’cause Dane’s pretty much everybody’s favourite surfer. Heats are a different thing, there’s technical things, and to be honest I don’t think Dane wants it for the same reason that people do, competitively. He likes to perform and that’s the beauty of Dane. It’s not his contest results, it’s the beauty of his expression. I love surfing against him, I wish I could surf against him at every event. But I know he’d start smashing me.”
“Dane’s awesome for surfing,” continued Kelly. “He’s such a unique individual. He just moves to the beat of his own drum. As far as I see, I don’t see him being influenced by anything other than things he loves. Which is really cool. So many times in sport things get pasteurised down to a norm and Dane’s an anomaly and an outlier. He’s a guy who’s pretty much every good surfer in the world’s favourite surfer and he doesn’t view the importance of competition the way that other people do. It opens people’s minds to other things.”
So, is Dane gonna return to full time competition? Does he have an interest? Will our prayers be answered? Or should we stop praying?
Interview (below) by Damien Fahrenfort
Stab: Any interest in getting back on tour?
Dane: Ah, I think I get asked that every day. And, I trip out on how often people still think I’m on tour. I trip out on how many people know what the next event is, and ask me if I’m going. It’s weird to me that people are knowledgable enough about the tour to know what the next event is, and they’re not knowledgable enough about it to know that I haven’t been doing it for two years. I might as well be on there. I’m still getting credited the same as being on there. I don’t even know if I could qualify. I’m not very good in shitty waves. I’d have a tough time qualifying, probably. But when I watch Tahiti, and then I go surf one foot Emma Wood, I’m definitely pretty jealous of the guys on tour.
What about if they just gave you a wildcard back on? Oh, fuck, I’d feel so weird taking that with how much work people put in to getting on there every year and all that shit. I’d feel like that’d maybe be my last opportunity for doing that sort of stuff, so… maybe. But I’d feel like I was taking the opportunity from someone else. So probably not, actually.
Does seeing John John’s alley oop at Keramas get you psyched up to do tour events? I don’t know if it gets me psyched to do world tour events, but it was sick.
How’d you feel about John John claiming the oop in the comp? It wasn’t ruined by the claim. It was definitely claim-worthy. But I think it would’ve been pretty badass if he didn’t. Shit, if I landed something like that… I dunno, the best airs that I’ve ever done, it just doesn’t cross my mind to throw my arms up in the air. But I don’t know, if I ever do an air like that… maybe my arms would fly up. I’ve never done any airs like that though, that thing was fucked up.
How do you feel about spots like Brazil or Bells? Is that part of the reason you don’t wanna be on tour, ’cause you don’t wanna do events like that? I don’t know, the waves are fun for Brazil and it’s definitely a necessity to do events in big cities and have a lot of people get to see the surfing live, firsthand. I think that’s pretty important for the tour.
So if you were back on tour, you’d be psyched to do those events? Uuuum… Yeah, sure! (Laughs).
Does the best surfing happen on tour? It seems to have been lately. It all happens live. Shit, it’s hard to say, ’cause it seems like there’s a Brazilian dude doing a backflip every day or something somewhere random, but it comes up on the internet in low resolution and in a way that doesn’t have much impact. I don’t know how that relates to the tour but y’know, I felt like at Teahupoo that was the best tuberiding I’ve ever seen. Every single guy was getting behind the foamball on every wave. You can’t really do that freesurfing, ’cause you’ll be trying to battle with 40 dudes out there trying to catch a wave. It’s pretty nice when you’re in a heat and you can just position yourself as deep as you want and not have to worry about fighting for it or someone getting in your way. When I was still competing, I felt like a lot of the time I would maybe not do the best thing I’d ever done, but surf nearly my best in heats, purely because I was able to get a lot of waves and not have to worry about people in the way or shit like that. You can get in rhythm when you’re catching lots of waves.
You’ve also said that you just wanna be pushing your surfing and that’s why you enjoy doing the events, huh? Yeah.
Are you afraid of failure? Oh yeah, of course. Definitely, f’sure. With everything, not just surfing.
On a scale of 1-10, measure your confidence of success at Lowers. Shit, I don’t know. I guess, since I said “I don’t know” maybe that’s definitely not in the high range. That’s automatically at least less than a five. I’m gonna try my best. I’ve been trying to eat right and not drink. I mean, not train, but just not be a lazy fat-ass. Well, I was never lazy, but I just have a sweet tooth and like junk food n’ shit. So I’ve been trying to eat right and exercise and get back to, uh, athletic shape (laughs).
This is quite weird. I saw your Instagram. How’s that one guy writing on your Instagram, going fucking mad. Oh yeah, that’s pretty funny. I think I wrote that so cryptically that people didn’t know, like… I’m not expecting results in three days, and I’m not training or anything, I actually am just trying to get fit though. So I was like, “How do you live like this?”
It’s boring isn’t it? Yeah, I just wanna eat a pizza.
You don’t measure success at an event by winning or losing, do you? I always felt pretty happy with my performance if I just felt like I surfed my best. If you have an 18-point heat and still lose, you still feel pretty good about yourself.