Stab Magazine | Revelations From "The Electric Acid Surfboard Test"

Revelations From “The Electric Acid Surfboard Test”

“Do you really think Dane’s going to be able to rip on these?”

Words by Stab

Four days into our ten-day Mexican freak out, and five hours into a ten-hour day with plenty of south swell lingering, and Dane Reynolds is absolutely scorched, his legs* a few shades brighter than his trusty pink Former tee, and no signs of slowing down, paddling back up one of the nook and cranny right points north of Salina Cruz, not another surfer in the water. 

His first trip in 11 months following the birth of his twins, Dane’s had no problem finding his form, despite Stab insisting he leave his performance shortboards at home, and having little to no idea exactly what we were planning on putting under his feet. 

 

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All hail the Santa Monica Surf Case. Dane Reynolds, unloading at Punta Conejo Surf Camp.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen

See, Dane wasn’t always sold on The Electric Acid Surfboard Test. A control freak of the highest order, and one of the most intelligent, skeptical, and opinionated surfers in the world as far as board design goes, it was always going to take some convincing to get Dane on a plane without a bag of his beloved Channel Islands in-tow.

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The Acid Test’s forgiving test track: Mexico’s sandbank points.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen

With the success of Stab In The Dark, we wanted to double-down on our efforts shining a light on the steady hands and trained eyes of some of the world’s most respected and influential shapers, while making space for fringe characters and their left-field designs.

Confident the Acid Test concept was the right long-term addition to the Stab In The Dark family, we mapped out our first three years, compiling a very impressive list of board builders, and a very short list of surfers whose minds we wanted try and blow, and began making our pairings.

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You can imagine Dane had an idea who made this mutant.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

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Recognize that hack-job tail?

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

Of course Dane was at the top of the list, and here was our pitch:

“In 2018 surfboard design is as experimental and wide-open as anytime in history. However, wary of hipster hyperbole, Stab wanted to see what some of these so-called “alternative designs” look like under the world’s most critical and influential surfer’s feet.”

“Litttttle rich, don’t you think,” Dane laughed.

By January, with a little Sam McIntosh massaging, and a very fine title for the concept offered by our friend Stevie Dreher, Dane was on board, with two caveats: no longboards and no finless boards. Invitations were sent out to our carefully selected roster of Sunshine Makers, a broad and diverse list if ever there were one, and within weeks ten radical boards were stacked in our LA abode, taunting us.  

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Trying to get ten boards Dane lovingly called “plugs”, some with glass-ons, in to three board bags and two Santa Monica Hard Cases was a feat; dragging them through LAX was a fucking nightmare.

Photography

Sam Moody.

When Dane pulled up to LAX, we had three coffin bags and two Santa Monica Surf Cases stuffed with ten boards we were fairly confident would either confuse, challenge, or, we hoped, pleasantly surprise Mr Reynolds.

Unpacking the bags at beautiful Punta Escondida Surf Camp, Dane was quick to acknowledge the craftsmanship and beauty of the acid-splashed lineup of twins, quads, mid-lengths, displacement hulls, and asymmetricals.

“They’re all really well-made, beautiful surfboards,” Dane admitted. “As far as how I can surf them… that might be a challenge. But I guess that’s the point of the trip.”

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This is what “a massive fish” looks like thoroughly on-rail.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

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Dane’s manifestation of displacement hull theory.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

The next morning, with a pumping southern hemi swell in the water, visibly anxious to see how this whole experiment was going to go, filmers Jason “Mini” Blanchard, Sam Moody, and Dylan Roberts, photographer Alan Van Gysen, and I stood awestruck, cameras barely rolling as Dane chip-shot into a heaving sandbank bomb on a fork-nosed, twin-finned asymmetrical and rode a wave that all parties agreed was probably the closest thing we’ll ever see in our lifetime to a Curren’s First Wave At J-Bay moment. 

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Suffice to say, Dane had no trouble figuring out even the most “complicated” of the Acid Test roster.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

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Ashton Goggans, Matt McCabe, Dane Reynolds, Sam Moody, Dylan Roberts, and Mini Blanchard at Acid Test base camp.

Photography

Alan Van Gysen.

For the next week and a half, I spent ten hours a day swapping boards with Dane, as well as his brother from another mother, Ventura’s Matt McCabe, as Matt and I watched what is legitimately some of the best surfing that’s been done in the last five years, on some very divergent, often confusing or “complicated” designs. 

Going into this project, the main question asked by anyone who got their mitts on the boards at Stab’s Los Angeles office was: “Will Dane really be able to rip on these?”

https://player.vimeo.com/video/282734359

We think you’ll agree, regardless of how Dane felt about some of the boards, I’m at a loss to recall anyone ever riding any of these designs so well, and his critical considerations and epiphanies during the week were myriad, and make for a concise, thorough education in alt-left theory.

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What can only be described as an eclectic assortment, during the final days of filming “The Electric Acid Surfboard Test.”

Photography

Alan Van Gysen

This project has been rattling around in my skull for years now, and I’m truly grateful to Dane for being open to the project, as strange as it may have seemed at first glance. For me, the project is the culmination of a quarter century spending just an asinine amount of time thinking about surfboards, and even more time spent studying surf films, and I hope that comes through. To be able to make this film with Dane, and the ten shaper’s profile films with Sam Moody, has been quite literally a dream come true, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it, hopefully in person. 

Dane’s on his way down from Ventura right now with the final cut of the film, the shapers are making their way into Huntington Beach, and the Vans crew are preparing quite the party at Pacific City tonight. The party starts at 7pm. 

We’ll be announcing premiere dates in New York, Sydney, and France soon, and we hope you’ll come and join us. 

 Sincerely,

-AG

 

 

*Scorched: 

DSCF6559

See? Fucking scorched.

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