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Watch: Dane's Protégé Just Released His Profile Film

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Watch: Dane's Protégé Just Released His Profile Film

Embarrassing admission: I'm one of those people that watches their Surfline Rewinds religiously.

Vanity aside, there's something gratifying about getting out of the water and watching the turn that made you feel all those things just a few hours earlier.

When I called Eithan up to chat about his new film, "Happy Talk", I was aware that the project was recorded on 16 mm film, but it wasn't until we spoke that I realized the magnitude of that fact. Contrary to all modern conventions (mine especially), Eithan had to wait months on end to see the clips he was working with. Given how expensive film is to develop, choosing to create an entire project on the stuff takes confidence, patience, and a whole lot of skill. Eithan and director Andrew Schoener channeled all three to make this piece a reality over the course of the past 12 months. 

Eithan's film features his mainstay surf buddies in Dane Reynolds and Micky Clarke. Dane threw his support behind Eithan when he dedicated the second episode of his Ch11.TV to Eithan's story, and he doubles down here. The first half of the film features Dane interviewing the young Ventura up-and-comer. While the questions are pre-scripted, the banter is anything but. Dane is able to pull out surprisingly candid responses from Eithan, shining them both in a light previously unseen. 

Watch the film above, hit 'Happy Talk's' official landing page for heaps of behind-the-scenes content,  then scroll down to read about Eithan's experience making his first profile film, his Chopes inauguration, and why he gets into so many fights with his surfboards. 


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Stab: Let's start at the end. If you had stuck that one air at 16:30, it would probably be the biggest straighty ever. Tell me a little about that session.
Eithan: That day I was riding a weird board—more of a step-up barrel board. The waves were a little funky but there were some huge ramps. It was pretty late in the season to have waves in Ventura, and that wedge was pretty much the only place breaking. Definitely wish I had that one section back though [laughs].

The clip is pretty much three-quarters smallish Ventura then five minutes of Chopes. When people think of both you and Dane, not many think “Tahiti”. How did you guys end up on that trip?
That was actually really funny. That was my first time going to Chopes. One of my mom’s good friends, Thierry Dominick, lives over there and does water patrol when it’s big [Ed. note: he's the buff bald guy]. They’ve been begging me to come for a while, and I finally found an opportunity where I was able to get tested and go.

We never got firing-firing Chopes—the big shit that you really want to see—but for my first trip it was pretty all-time. Such a good trip to get used to the wave. Chopes is so trippy in person, videos don’t do it justice at all.

Was Dane giving you any tips out there?
Dane and I actually didn’t go together. We were just at home and the waves were shit and we were trying to do a trip, so I wound up pulling the trigger and heading there with Andrew. We were there for a week and were ready to come home, but then another swell lined up and Dane said he was gonna come. He was trying to act like he didn’t know what he was doing, but of course he knows exactly what he’s doing.

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It may have been his first time to Tahiti, but from the looks of his face it surely won't be his last.

So what was it like working with Andrew, and how did you guys decide you wanted to do this on film?
Andrew’s amazing. He’s super professional. This would have been way too much for me to do out of pocket, so we got Billabong into it, then Channel Islands. Once we actually got the green light, we didn’t even really know where to start.

Andrew had the idea to do it on film, and I was behind it right away. We couldn’t remember the last time we saw something entirely on film. We felt like we could do something different and cool if we did it good, and with Andrew you know it's gonna be good.

What was the crazy twin fin that Dane was riding around the 3-minute mark?
To be honest I don’t really know what that thing is. He just pulled up one day and had it. It had a weird sort of channel in the nose and then the tail was… let's just say I didn’t think it would go good. I rode one wave on it, but it was obviously way too big for me. Actually thinking of it, I haven’t seen him ride it since that day!

Has he been able to sell you on any of those crazy concept models you see him riding sometimes?
He doesn’t ride that many weird boards actually. When the waves are shit he’ll try different stuff. We both love our Neckbeards, but I’m always down to ride weird, trippy boards. It keeps it fun.

We’ve documented your love for Neckbeards quite extensively, seeing as you’ve ridden one at both Stab Highs. We wanna know, when the waves get juicier what board are you reaching for?
I was pretty much riding a CI Black and White the entire time. The whole last section, everything but the last four air reverses and the straight air were all on a Black and White—that’s my favorite shortboard for sure. Other than that, after the rage section where it’s just offshore tiny wedges, I’m on a Flyer. I love that board when waves are that size. Then in bigger, barreling waves I’ll switch to either a Proton or a Happy step-up.

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"What're those?!?!?!?" Eithan inspects Dane's board.

Your Stab x Pro Lite grip was one of their fastest selling pads ever. Is there a size board where you decide you’re not rocking front traction anymore?
I honestly like the front pad in barrels. It feels sick, but I don’t put them on my contest boards because if you put too far on the rail, it can change your turns a little bit. So basically any of my little boards and on step-ups too. I have this one step-up I ride at Backdoor that has the front pad and feels rad.

Dane interviewed you for this film, and you guys laid it over the first half of the movie. How did you come up with that idea? Did you have a hard time taking him seriously while he interviewed you?
It was Andrew’s idea for the voiceovers [laughs]. I’m so awkward, I always have a nervous giggle and I laugh before I answer. I thought it was funny. We actually tried it in Tahiti at first, but Dane had the mic way too close to his mouth so it was way too loud. We had two or three takes to get it right, asking different questions.

So obviously there’s an angry session in there. What tends to start those types of sessions and how often are you getting into fights with your boards?
I try not to hit my board, but I do hit myself a lot. A lot of my frustration comes from outside of surfing, then when I do go surf I just let everything out. I don’t give a fuck while I’m surfing—I may look angry or like an idiot but I don’t really care 'cause I let that shit out and it feels good.

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You write 'Happy Talk' on your board in one of the clips. How’d you get the name, and did the name come before the board or vice versa?
Andrew came up with the name. Andrew and I both had big lists of names for the film. We combined them and...I think it was from a Daniel Johnson song, and Andrew wrote it down. He liked it, I really liked it, and it kind of fit cause I’m not the happiest person all the time (obviously), but it just worked with what we were going for with this project.

Anything else you want people to know about your project?
I think people should know how hard it is to make a movie in Ventura in the spring and wintertime on film, and how stressful it is knowing you just recorded a bunch of sessions without even being able to see the clips until it’s developed. I think we maybe got half of it together halfway through the year, and most of the good waves were after that. The swell window had closed in Ventura and we still hadn’t gotten the footage back, so if the film was bad we’d essentially be screwed. Props to Andrew for getting this all together.

I’d also like to a second to thank Ryan Daniell from Billabong, he did all the art direction and designed our logo. Him, Evan Slater, Chris Hefner, everyone at Billabong, Nathaniel and Devon and the crew at CI all deserve credit for making this happen, so thank you!

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