Why Dane Reynolds Is (Still) The Best Surfer In The World
Noa Deane: “Anyone that doesn’t include Dane on their ‘list’ of best surfers, is just fucking lying to themselves.”
Alright, straight up: there’s no one better—not now, nor has there been anyone better before— than Dane Reynolds.
John John is of course close—but for me, Dane’s the pinnacle.
Why? I guess for some of the the same reasons people have already said before—about him being ‘unpredictable,’ or however you want to describe Dane’s surfing.
To me, it’s more than that though; it’s that Style. Everything he does has his own style.
"There’s no one better—not now, nor has there been anyone better before" – A bold, yet reasonable statement from ND.
I mean, he went on tour and wasn’t about it. He proved that he could do it, then went off on his own direction afterwards. And during that entire time, he made the best videos out of anyone, ever.
With skateboarders, there’s people who have good style and there’s people who have better tricks. Typically, the better someone’s tricks are, the worse their style is. But every once in a blue moon there’s someone who combines the two.
In surfing, that person is Dane.
The attractive qualities of controlled use of power.
One thing that separates Dane from the herd is his turns. The turns he did in Japan in Dear Suburbia—nothing compares. No one has done better turns than that. People who don’t agree are simply lying to themselves.
John John’s turns at Margies came pretty close, but they’re not quite on the same level.
(Now, John John is probably a more accomplished and better surfer in larger waves, which obviously puts him in contention for Best Surfer In The World. And sure, I agree that in a lot of ways that he is. But I would love to see what John could do if he was purely freesurfing. I think competitive surfing holds people back a bit, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)
Another from Stab In The Dark, 2016 with Mr Reynolds.
If you look at what Dane was doing seven or eight years ago, the new generation are just barely starting to approach it.
Like look at the Club Sandwich, or nose-pick reverses—Dane was doing that years ago.
Or even the turns that he does on his backhand. People obsess over surfer’s forehand turns, but Dane’s just as gnarly going the other way. Go look at his turns at Cloudbreak in “Loaded.” That’s as good as backhand surfing gets.
Even beyond his turns, his airs are so much more impressive, because Dane powers into his airs. From the moment he leaves the lip, to landing—its difficult to describe, but there’s Power in them. They don’t look flimsy.
Personally, I got stoked on Dane back around Young Guns 3, when I was in my mid-teens; that was when Dane became the surfer I most looked up to. Modern Collective re-emphasised that. To be honest, as lame as it sounds, I was sort of... captivated.
Then of course there was Marine Layer.
Everything he put out on that was bullshit.
Even the boogie board edit—where he shaped the board on the outline of this old bodyboard and chopped the nose and tail off. When those were coming out, I was a sponge – the way most people are at around 16 or 17 – and it gave me hours of entertainment at my fingertips. I was inspired and essentially constantly absorbed by it, just like every other grommet out there.
Even beyond groms, he inspired so many fucking people.
"Even beyond groms, he inspired so many fucking people."
During the Marine Layer stint, Dane’d been putting shit out nearly every week; at the end of each week, people like me were like addicts, checking the site constantly.
For example, ‘Excerpt’ was fucked I was truly baffled by what he did there, and I still am, six years later.
Dane’s surfing influenced what I am as a surfer today, it drove my focus towards getting the best clips that I could get, and I’m thankful for that, I know whether my approach would be the same without that.
I guess Dane was sort of revolutionary, in that DIY sense. He didn’t rely on being in Kai [Neville]’s films, or having consistent sections in other big films—he was editing all his own work and had his own individual output that was arguably more important.
He was one of the first people to do that and it opened up a new realm.
The next person could be all on Instagram, and moving to that platform, but to me that has no interest, I’m not into watching one minute edits on my phone. There isn’t really a platform transition occurring at the moment like the one which occurred during the Marine Layer phase.
During Dane’s best phase, we were undergoing this huge transition from print to digital, and that was probably a large part of what highlighted what he was doing to. I don’t think there will be anyone like Dane for a while. There’s no one on my radar I think could do it, although I could be wrong.
"Even if he was finished, he’s already fucked shit up and done everything that needs to be done anyway. No one has bettered anything he’s done, yet. Everyone’s just catching up."
It’s so funny that people think Dane’s less relevant now – in my eyes he’s still the best surfer in the world.
Everyone’s probably like, ‘oh, we haven’t seen anything from him in ages, he’s done now’, but each year he releases something which is the best edit of the year.
People thought he was finished after Chapter 11, then boom, fucking Premium Violence came out. That shut everyone up.
Even if he was finished, he’s already fucked shit up and done everything that needs to be done anyway. No one has bettered anything he’s done, yet. Everyone’s just catching up.
Essentially, anyone that doesn’t include Dane in their ‘list’ or whatever of best surfers, is just fucking lying to themselves.