Six Very Influential Surfers Review Dane Reynolds’ Chapter 11
Superstar peer feels on Dane’s 2016 opus.
Needless to say, we loved Dane’s Chapter 11. Past the surfing, it’s one of the realest surf films to come out in recent years. Particularly in a time that’s so commercially driven, sponsor censored and stripped back from surfing’s purism. If Miki Dora saw what we’ve become he’d scoff, then figure out how to work the system – “Whatever scam it takes,” right? But in 2016, surfing’s beyond a scam to keep riding waves, its big business, its failing business, its appearance, commerce, fashion, and selling the dream: Dane’s dream. The one he strived for his whole life, the dream that turned him into, as he puts it, “a hardened, cynical, ageing pro surfer who should have milked it for all it’s worth.” So we rang up some of surfing’s most influential characters to get their take on Mr Reynolds’ newest release:
“I knew he wanted to tell his tale, but that was a real tell-all, straight from the horse’s mouth. It was insane, very revealing. Everyone speculates, but you never know what’s really happening. So it’s just awesome to hear it from him. And, it doesn’t sound too bitchy or whiney. It was perfect; he just tells the story. He comes across as though he doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks, even though I know he really does, like most of us. But he speaks his mind, and it’s awesome because I think a lot of guys would say similar things, but they can’t or don’t. I think it was cut to perfection. All the action is obviously fucked up – some of the best I’ve ever seen from him. There are some really cool shots, like this one wedge Puerto Rico where he finishes the wave and there’s a French Bulldog in the foreground – I love that shot. And he does a chop hop at the end of a wave in South Oz, but there’s something about the way the cameraman tracks him, that I love. He leaves those bizarre little things in because they stand out to him, and when someone like Dane brings it to your attention, you go, ‘wow, that is actually cool’. I didn’t realise the extent of the anxiety and panic attacks he talks about. I remember him at Lowers, having that meltdown, but I didn’t realise it was that extreme that they kept happening and he didn’t feel like he could leave his house. That was pretty interesting. It’s for sure the movie that everyone wanted to make, but can’t – he doesn’t have any boundaries or people telling him what he can and can’t do. He had all the freedom in the world to make exactly what he wanted, and that’s sick.”
“Fuck yeah Dane! Loved it. Made me go for a ride on my motorbike and write Satan on my board, and feel good about being pissed off at some shit that’s pissing me off.”
“I loved it. It was so, so sick. Different to what I thought was gonna happen! Obviously the surfing was incredible. But, it gave you a different insight into Dane. It was interesting to hear the pressure that he put on himself. People say freesurfing is super easy and fun, but it’s actually really hard. People think that freesurfers just put out clips and don’t worry too much about it, but it’s putting a piece of yourself out there to be criticised. The pressure you put on yourself as an athlete… Dane didn’t like competing in events, but it always seemed like he was competing against everyone outside of it. The hard thing is for us is that it’s a sport where we are so self-indulged, and we do what we want to do, but there are people that come in and tell you how to surf or try to dictate your future. A lot of people come to the realisation; I’ve just gotta go do what I’ve gotta do, and be happy within myself. Not only on tour where you get criticised by judges, or the great comments online, but also in the freesurfing world, which is a whole different thing. As a freesurfer, you’re judged by however good your last clip was, there’s no real metric for self-worth or how a company values you. Whereas, on tour, it’s easy because you come first, fifth, ninth, whatever – that’s where you’re at, and you’re paid accordingly. I totally understand the pressure he put on himself. I remember having those realisations myself and re-evaluating it all – a few times. I guess you get to a point where you think if I keep concentrating on what everyone else is thinking, I’m just going to be a mess. Pretty much exactly what he says in the film. If you’re not doing it for yourself, it’s not worth doing.
Surfing-wise, for me, I love watching Dane surf all the time, but I loved seeing him do a lot more power surfing in this one. And then, the last section down south… that was incredible. That got me so psyched.”
“I haven’t seen Dane’s film. But like any new Dane film, I’m eager and I’m sure people want to see what he’s been working on and where he has taken his level since being less visible the past couple of years. Maybe he’s the Rodney Mullen of surfing?
“It’s pretty sick. To me he sounds a little bit like he’s reading like he wrote down what he wanted to say. It doesn’t sound off the cuff. That’s the only part I didn’t really like that much but I understand why. He wanted to put a point across.
“As far as me, I totally relate to it and understand it, and I’ve had the corpo people try to put a number on me, I’ve felt the pressure. But from a technical standpoint what he does on a surfboard I don’t see other people doing. Dane does it naturally. I appreciate him as a person, an artist, being honest and self-effacing, surfing needs that so much. Especially in a time where it’s all about trying to sell a product. All that horseshit leaves you searching for authenticity.
“For one his surfing is why we’re all interested, but it’s nice to see him tell a story and let us in on his personal struggle. It’s pretty weird being not famous then being famous and I don’t think the average person can understand that. It’s a totally weird thing from being just a punk kid, and hearing pro surfing is wank – it’s commercialism. When I grew up in Encinitas it was pretty soulful, being a pro surfer was frown upon – I could relate to a lot of it. It’s super refreshing because that’s what heroes need to be, they need to be honest, they need to be human. You try to feel that with some musicians, you feel the honesty in their art, then you’re stoked on them, but the fame part of it can throw you such a loop because of the pressure.
“I’ve watched him since he was little, I saw him do this carve when he was 15 at Lowers and I was like fucking-A that’s it! I had to find him and go, dude that was the shit right there, keep it up. That was before First Chapter, I think he was still riding for Rip Curl. Then when First Chapter came out I remember being so stoked that he was so good and from California and not from Australia.
“I watched it, and I’m definitely watching it again. 98 percent of the shit I watch I’m not watching it again. His stuff I wanna watch over and over because he surfs differently, and also I want the kids that I’m coaching to watch it. And not just watch his surfing but take him in as a person. And have them take in his honesty and all the sponsorship stuff, because that’s the reality of what happens when you become a star.”
“I really like it a lot. It had good energy and a clever delivery. It was a story I could relate to, even through my age lens. I also always wondered what I was doing.
“Dane is his generation’s beat poet. He’s living more the artist’s dream than the competitors. I really love that kids will see another view of the top through Dane’s film. Also, the music I found so good in every segment. That Leonard Cohen lover song was perfect as was that Bobby Charles tune at end; it got me. I’m just so stoked this kind of project is still doable. Big shout out to everyone involved”
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