Stab Magazine | Dane Reynolds: The Copacetic Interview

Dane Reynolds: The Copacetic Interview

Family, Former, Chapter 11, filming his new part between naps, and why “we just all need to be more empathetic towards each other and kinder.”

style // Jul 18, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Tomorrow we’ll be dropping “Copacetic,” with Dane Reynolds and the Former boys, exclusively here at Stab.

“Copacetic” is Dane’s first offering since the addition of two beautiful twin girls to his family, filmed around home over the last 11-months, and promoting a new range from the brand by the same name.

Since we love keeping you patiently waiting, we caught up with Dane while on our way back from Mexico with him, filming for a full-length we’ll be premiering in the coming weeks, to talk about, well, everything…

Let’s get into it.



Stab: You’re not one to leave things up to too much interpretation. Tell me about this new edit and Former drop, “Copacetic,”—what’s the name’s meant to communicate.

Dane: Copacetic means “in excellent order,” which as anyone with three young kids and a small business knows, nothing is ever in excellent order.

But it’s interesting—if you look at the history of the word, it comes from the Cajun French word ‘coup es’etique’ which means ‘able to cope with anything and everything.’

I guess that’s where I found relevance or context or whatever. But really it’s meant to be ironic more than literal.

You’ve got a few new Former pieces coming. Any favorite pieces from the line?

Well my favorite is the Army Man hostage situation. Sammy was taking a bath, playing with army men, and he set them up on the rim like that. I was like, “Holy shit.”

Reminds me of an old Sunny Day Real Estate record cover. 

I just thought it was funny and took a photo, but it sort of gathered meaning for me, in a few ways…

With parenting, your kids are pretty much your captor. They’ve got you hostage. But it’s a Stockholm Syndrome thing. You love your captor.  

And as far as “Copacetic” goes—‘able to cope with anything and everything’—like, the guy’s in a fucked situation, but just smiling and care free. You turn on the news or look at the latest tragedy on social media it’s easy to feel like shit’s fucked and the end is near, but the best thing you can do is look at the positive aspects of life and smile I guess. Craig and Austyn were worried about it being offensive cause of the sensitive nature of guns and gun violence, but it’s like ‘Yeah dude, we’re promoting gun violence,’ ya know? 



Frame grab from “Copacetic.”

I want to get to what to expect from the clip dropping tomorrow, but we have to talk about your Thrasher interview with Austyn Gillette. I think that interview really surprised a lot of people, how’d that come about?

Austyn called me on a Friday, and asked me if I could interview him for Thrasher, and said the deadline was Friday [laughs]—as in that day.

He had Marc Johnson lined up to do the interview but that fell through and I don’t know why he turned to me, but I thought it would actually be cool to have a different perspective for an interview, because I read Thrasher interviews and they always go through the video part and all the different tricks and stuff, which is cool, but…I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that.  

I did a pretty white bread interview, but he wanted to take it where it went—I just think he had some things he wanted to get off his chest.

I had known a little about a lot of the stuff that we talked about, sort of, but I just didn’t know the details and I had never asked about it because it’s tough to bring up and…

Just about death and suicide and losing people close to him?

Yeah, he’s had a rough go with people that are close to him passing away and I just think he wanted to talk about it.

Austyn’s “Radiant Cure” part for Former and Thrasher is not to be missed. 

And the Dylan [Rieder] subject can’t be easy, especially with Former, though it seems like you guys are finally moving forward.

Yes, it’s a tricky sort of subject to navigate, because we started this with Dylan.

Right after Quiksilver was done, I met up with Damon Way and we talked about doing a brand. At the same time Dylan and Austyn happen to be talking to Campbell from Monster Children about starting a brand. We were all friends and it seemed like a crazy assortment of people to bring together so we merged and shit started gaining momentum…

Then I freaked out and threw a grenade at it. Because when shit started to get real, some major factors weren’t in favor of the riders. It didn’t feel like it was ‘ours.’

After that, I met with Dylan and Austyn in LA and was like, ‘Well, what are we doing? Is it over?’

Dylan was like ‘What do you mean? Why would we NOT still do this?’

At the time, Dylan was better. He was cancer-free. Then it got him again, and the whole time that we were developing the brand, he was getting sick.

When he passed away, we didn’t know how to really move forward from there, because we didn’t want to exploit the fact that he was a part of it. I feel like we’ve done a good job of not doing that.

People are really protective of his legacy, and we definitely didn’t want to exploit the fact that he was a part of it, but…


It seems like his influence is inevitable, though—even through Austyn, as far as there being Dylan’s DNA in the brand, I mean, they were like brothers.

His influence is pretty strong in everything, especially that first line, because we designed it with him. The Sweetheart jacket was completely his design, and that shirt that has a cigarette pocket on the sleeve, he got the idea from this old Marlboro shirt that he had.

I can’t say Marlboro, right, I don’t know how the fuck I’m meant to say that.



Oh, I think it was a Camel shirt anyway.

Do you think that Austyn wanting you to interview him had anything to do with Chapter 11? Just seeing that film, and what it meant for you, getting things off your chest? Has he talked to you about that?

Yeah, I’ve talked to him about the film, and Warren has told me, and I’ve heard from a couple of people, that Austyn really loved the– I don’t know what word to use, but…

Like, the sincerity of it.

Sincerity, yeah. I’d imagine that that had something to do with him wanting to talk about real issues in the interview. [Read it here.]



unnamed 35

Framegrab from “Copacetic,” dropping tomorrow with Former, here at Stab.

I feel like that’s a pretty common thing you’ve heard since that movie came out. It sort of made… it didn’t make people want to talk about this stuff, but it’s sort of opened up the conversation to a lot of people. Did you think it would be received that way?

It’s kind of crazy, what’s going on right now with mental health and awareness.

There’s a piece by Kevin Love, this NBA player for the Cavaliers, who wrote this heartful thing about anxiety and having a panic attack during an NBA game, and it was detail by detail identical to my experience. [Read here.]

There’s this therapist that helped me a lot. Who helped me come out of that phase. He emailed me recently, telling how many people referenced the film when they came to see him the first time.

Do people often approach you, and feel comfortable talking to you about it, or has that been a complicated thing?

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they can relate, but they’re a little–I don’t know…

They feel nervous about trying to bring that up to you?

Yeah. Kind of…But if you’re not nervous, then it’s a little weird, too.

The guy that comes up to you and is all, “Yo! Bro! I got anxiety, too!”

I actually have had that happen, and it’s a little strange if you- you’re not too timid about it, you know?

Sure, but I think the people would probably be surprised you’re pretty open to talk about it.

One hundred percent.

I mean, partially why I wanted to make Chapter 11 is because I just don’t understand why it’s such a… why there’s such a stigma about talking about it, like it’s your fault, or something to be embarrassed about.

We talked about this the other day a little bit, but what prompted me to get to that point with the film was that people expect that when you have a—I hate calling it a job or career or whatever—but when your life is a professional surfer, to people that’s the most… You said “romantic,” but it’s more like you would think it’s the most light and airy and carefree lifestyle. The way I might once have found myself looking at, I don’t know, some guy with a Bentley and mansion thinking, “Oh, it must be nice.”

You think that actors and famous and rich people don’t have problems, but I’ve found that famous people, rich people—they are the loneliest.


It’s isolating.

It’s isolating. Fame is a funny thing to deal with. I’ve had only the tiniest brush with fame but, I think that there’s something very important in understanding that money and fame and nice things don’t protect you from real human problems. I think the title of the Kevin Love thing is cool: ‘Everyone is going through something’

I just think that everyone no matter what has shit going on and we just all need to be more empathetic towards each other and kinder. I don’t know. That sounds corny but–

Why? [chuckles]

I don’t know.

Isn’t it true, though?


I think the world splits pretty evenly right now, between people that feel that way and people who don’t.


I just think that it would have helped me if I knew what was going on, that tons of other professional surfers had gone through this and don’t talk about it. For professional athletes in general, there’s a lot of pressure. If you care enough to get really good at something, to obsess over it and put in the time and focus and energy into developing your skills, then you’re going to be susceptible to falling really hard when you crack from the pressure you put on yourself

I couldn’t believe how many people came out from the woodwork after the film and were like, “Oh, I went through this phase. My friends had to have an intervention, I was driving in circles around a parking lot naked..”

And I just thought, “Fuck, I wish I would’ve known that then, when I felt like I was the only one.”




Framegrab from “Copacetic.”



Framegrab from “Copacetic.”

I keep thinking about you sitting in that garage hammering out that film, trying to get the tone and narrative and everything right, just what that process felt like, knowing what you were trying to accomplish with it.

It honestly felt like a tightrope. It was such a fine line to navigate, between something great and the shittiest, most self-indulgent bullshit of all time.

When you’re so close to something you really lose perspective. I kept having other people watch it and give me feedback, I think Sam [McIntosh] was one of the first to see it.

How long was the process, once you had all the footage, actually putting together the story?

It’s hard to say. I did maybe a few weeks of eight-hour days, I had some friends interview me, which is a weird thing to do by the way, then a lot of building the story in my head, writing it down, putting it in the film, realizing it’s absolute dog shit, restarting. Stuff like that.

Just false starts?

Not even false starts. I don’t know, just crafting the story.

Think about this, I essentially crammed a memoir into a surf film, and the entire storyline of the film is a total of 10 minutes—not even, probably. Those things all have to connect. I have to get the point across and you have to just pick what’s important to the story. You can’t say everything.

You want it to be a story that somebody can follow, which gets to its purpose and to the point in a very short amount of time, crushed between surf parts.

It’s a bizarre thing.

Did you want the surfing in that film to be sort of the honey that made the medicine go down, or…

The whole thing wasn’t really conceptual, I didn’t set out to make a memoir/surf film. The last thing I wanted to do is make a sob story. I didn’t want to get sympathy out of it or anything. I just wanted to tell the story, and surf films are the only thing I know how to make. Then, I find humor in how much irony is in my life. I think that first section maybe– I haven’t seen it in a long time but…

You said you’ve only watched it once?

Yeah. So, I’ll have to watch it back, but I find a lot of things in my life ironic—even just the Depressed Pro Surfer thing. Or, not “depressed”—I was never depressed… More “brain-melting-down” pro surfer.

Brain-melting sounds right. But isn’t that part of it though, that you’ve had a very successful career and you’ve built a very beautiful life.

And it caused my anxiety [laughs].


x955100 x955100 R2 052 24A 2



As far as knowing the pressure of the surf industry, do you feel like you get that with Former?

I don’t feel pressure in the same way. It can be overwhelming in different ways, but I don’t put pressure…

It’s more stuff that you can just get your hands dirty and just fix.

I guess so? For me, the president of Quiksilver telling me I’m underperforming for what they pay me, that was an odd source of pressure.

Does it feel similarly challenging, filming a part for your own brand, or your own projects, than filming a throwaway clip for Quiksilver or something like that? Do you feel like you’re putting more pressure on yourself because it’s your own stuff?

When Quiksilver would want a clip or whatever, I didn’t give a shit. I’d just like give them B-minus clips—because it’s an ad, and I wouldn’t trust them to make something cool, that people would really pay attention to or appreciate. I just wanted to put stuff out through Marine Layer.

As I’m saying this it reminds me how much perspective I’ve gained by starting my own company. Like, they were paying me a ton of money and I couldn’t even provide them with A-grade content? It’s kind of come full-circle.

But…  I don’t take direction well. I’m a control freak. I just like making things on my own and through this brand that’s what I’m doing. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to do quality surfing and make quality shit, and that hasn’t changed.

The clip was all filmed around home in California this winter, are you still able to dedicate a lot of time to surfing these days?

This winter I surfed the least I ever have in my life, but I still surf quite a bit. It’s just scheduled around kids and shit—unless the waves are special, then everything else sorta goes away.

But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can already see being able to travel again. The first six months after the twins were born, it just didn’t seem feasible—it was too gnarly—constant care. It was a two-person job.

But now that the kids are getting into a routine, I feel like it’s possible to travel again. I have a newfound appreciation for a surf trip, where you wake up and you have no other responsibilities with surfing. At home, it’s like I’m surfing around naps and stuff.

Do you feel like with the three kids now, you guys are pretty set as a family unit, or are there more surprises?

Like, another kid? Fuck. No. [Laughs].

Absolutely not.

We never wanted three kids, but we didn’t have a choice [laughs]. Now I see it as a blessing and it’s awesome, but we definitely never intended on having three kids, we just didn’t want a single child [laughs].

The family is all healthy and happy and things are good, all around?

I pretty much think Sammy is a carbon copy of me. He won’t do anything unless it’s his idea, which was me as a kid, exactly.

My mom always talks about how much of a monster I was when I was a toddler and I think that we’re doing pretty well with him. I feel like he’s prone to be a monster but we’re savvy to the psychology aspect of it. It’s so crazy.

It’s like mental judo with little kids.

It’s like psychological warfare. It’s insane. When you do nice things for them, get them toys, do cool stuff, take them to a water park, they turn into the biggest brats, ever. He’s really sweet when he’s good, and then he’ll have a week where he’s just a brat.

But it’s really trippy, just how much you love them.

It seems like they’re a massive source of happiness for you guys.

Yeah, totally. Coming home from Mexico right now, I’m so excited to see them.

Do you feel like with having a family now, that running a brand and being a pro surfer has more purpose for you?

I don’t know, I’ve always appreciated it. I was always super grateful that I was able to make any sort of career out of surfing. I feel like there was a lot of really good surfers with the same amount of talent that didn’t get to do that. That somehow I made a career out of it. There’s tons of equally talented surfers that didn’t figure out that aspect of it. It’s way more than surfing good.

I think I just was always such a control freak with the way that I was portrayed.

You just don’t seem like somebody that’s comfortable with letting other people speak for you.

Yeah, maybe that, but I also just really love… I think I just love surfing.

That’s why I surf so much when I can, and love putting out surf films. That feels like the most natural creative outlet for me.

“COPACETIC” drops here tomorrow. In the meantime, go have a look at Former’s current offerings and to support one of surfing’s only true rider-owned brands. 


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