Article

The Return of Dane

In just two heats, the best surfer alive reminds us what the tour was missing

| posted on October 05, 2011

Though he didn't win his first round heat, he captured all of our attention at the final horn with an incredible slob rotation. Photo: Courtesy of the ASP

Shea Lopez

The author of SURFER’s Top 32 Review, Shea Lopez spent 11 years competing on the World Tour and now reigns as our resident expert on the pro surfosphere.

I have to admit something: I replaced Gabriel Medina with Dane Reynolds this morning when the webcast showed solid, lumpy, mostly rights at La Graviere. Gabriel went on to struggle with the extra volume of water in the lineup, with Jake Patterson relentlessly grilling the young phenom over the webcast for his inability to perform in those conditions. Dane, on the other hand, came out of Day 1 in France with two of the highlights of the year—the first being a fully-rotated slob 360 at the horn, and the second, needing a big score to beat Adriano, was a well-overhead left that reminded us why Dane is the best surfer in the world. On his second turn of an already excellent ride, he committed to a grab-rail bottom turn that had to be over-torqued so he could project up vertical enough and tight enough in the pocket for a huge blast. The magnitude of that turn, and his aerials earlier were larger-than-life.

Much like the person he himself has become.

When has there ever been a time when the best surfer in the world wasn’t chasing world titles? Kelly when he retired? But he already had six world titles—and AI was better than Slater at the time. No, only Dane can show up 10 months into the year and in two heats re-confirm his place.

Where is his place?

Meanwhile, the rest of the competition looked similar to the last few, with all the usual suspects keeping their form in place. Owen and Julian both looked strong in the deceptively perfect-looking but wonky surf. Brett Simpson surfed exceptional again, and again fell just short—this time to Fanning, deservedly, when Mick screamed through an incredibly fast tube as the heat came to a close. Being the non-elimination three-man round, both surfers are still in the competition, and, if they continue to find the right waves, both will be extremely difficult to beat.

With plenty of swell and nice weather forecasted during the waiting period, the event should be a huge success—if the sandbar improves with the changing conditions or the event is moved to a better one, that is. Because today looked extremely challenging to find quality waves out there, even with the swell and weather looking like it should have been an epic day.

Editor’s Note: To read more about Dane’s tenuous relationship with the Tour, check out the interview in our November issue.

  • rob gilley

    another insightful post, shea. the visually-hidden wonkiness of the surf and the the mastery of Dane’s grab rail bottom turn are two things that needed to be pointed out.

  • Joe

    Contest or not…..Dane is the best surfer right now. He is exciting to watch because he freesurfs in his contest. From huge 360 slob airs to power carves to blasting his tail out, he freesurfs in his contests which makes it exciting to watch.

  • Nick

    The tour directors should pay attention to this. WE love watching Dane. WE buy that crap they are selling. So… THEY should be paying attention to that. We want to see these guys go off and take chances, not undersurf for scores.

  • kent

    willi wonkiness…going to use that word for the rest of the day….

  • Paul

    Dane’s left in Rd. 2 made me forget everything that happened on the tour so far this year…. including Chopes, NYC, etc. Curren would be proud of those two turns he did.

  • Marcellus

    ‘Gabriel went on to struggle with the extra volume of water in the lineup, with Jake Patterson relentlessly grilling the young phenom over the webcast for his inability to perform in those conditions.’

    Parko (5 and 2) John John (4 and 4) Davo (2 and 0.5!!) Kp (2 and 0.93!!) Otton ( 4.3 and 2.5) Bede (5 and 1.8!!) Dusty ( 1.8!! and 1.3!!!) Ross (3.7 and 3.3) Pupo (4.8 and 3) Josh Kerr (2.4 and 1.9!!) Pat G. (4.6 and 1.3!!)

    All grilling during the webcast not being enough at the end of the day Medina is the only one with an ‘ inability to perform in those conditions.’

  • Fishboard Twin

    Dane fit two good moves. That makes him the best in the world? Why do not you talk about thousands of times he fell trying to get them? Of the thousands of 3 to get an 8. Of the thousands of times he loses. The best surfer is the one that is constant. And this isn´t Dane. He never managed to win an event. There’s always someone better than him.

    ps. Jake Paterson is the worst commentator I’ve ever seen. His laugh makes me sick.

  • Marcelo

    Fishboard Twin said it, spot on!

  • byron

    Oh please, Dane the best surfer in the world , Kelly is the man in anything from 2ft to 20ft over and over again. After Kelly is definately Jordy.
    After Jordy there are heaps of guys of really good ability, this same pack is where Dane sits.

  • Shawn

    Kelly is the best surfer alive. Dane is nasty, no doubt about it, all the guys on tour surf circles around us all. Kelly is the best of all time, no question at all. Simply put, Slater is the Man!!

  • http://trombonedevara.wordpress.com/ Trombone

    Sure Slater is the man and is consistent and is good on 2 to 20ft waves and all.

    But I’ll stick with Shea, Dane is the beast surfer in the world. Take every event he surfed on, now tell me that the best moments of these events weren’t related with Dane’s maneuvers!

    Take Quikpro France for instance, what is the best of it so far? Dane’s left against the Souza.

    I rest my case.

  • Fishboard Twin

    Trombone, a WT event isn´t a expression session event. Ok, Dane put everything into a turn. When he manages to complete them it appears in the highlights. However, he falls for the most part. If he can stay on top of the board will probably be the best surfer in the world and win events. Until then i think that guys like Jordy Smith are much better.

  • Fishboard Twin

    I totally agree with you Marcellus. I think expectations are very high on Gabe Medina. Even the professionals who work with surfing forget that he is a rookie. Dane and Jordy were not well in the first year. I’m talking about a whole year and not events. In addition, high expectations in those conditions was silly. Guys who are known for powersurf, like Parko, was going badly. Nonsense expect Gabe Medina did better.

  • http://trombonedevara.wordpress.com/ Marcellus

    Fishboard,

    Look with what courteous action.
    It waves you to a more removed ground.

  • shea

    Medina looked better in his rd 2 win for sure. Kai Otton looked better than Medina though. Medina, even for how great a surfer he already has become, he is very young. After a few years on the WT he will be much better in all conditions.

  • Me

    No… No big pressure at Medina, he’s a calm kid with total focus.

    That was just Jake Patterson doing what he loves most, being a prick against brazilians.

    Gotta love Jake. Overestimated surfer who thinks he still rips.
    Its a sad little world he lives on.

    The saddest part is that Quik dont realize it’s market in Brazil.

    At this moment, for third time they’re attempting to open wholly owned stores here in the so call “monkey land”. For the third time, they will fail.

    For Quik managers, all I got to say is this: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!

    Study the brazilian surfers….

    I’ll give you a tip, surfing in Brazil is an elite sport and our elite(me included) is very, very rich and very, very well educated. We all know english, so we watch the transmission in English. Therefore every time you have an official commenter/athlet sponsored by your brand bashing on a brazilian kid for nothing at all, we know.

    So there you go, ready to fail for the third time?

  • shea

    being the best surfer or the best contest surfer are two entirely different beasts. Kelly has been both for nearly 20 years.

  • Me, Myself and I

    No… No big pressure at Medina, he’s a calm kid with total focus.
    For being so young, of course he need to improve a little and he will with given time.

    But lets be real, Medina wasnt the only one suffering on those conditions….

    ——————————————————————————————–

    But that was just Jake Patterson doing what he loves most, being a prick against brazilians. He used to do that when he was on the tour.

    Gotta love Jake. Overestimated surfer who thinks he still rips.
    Its a sad little world he lives on.

    The saddest part is that Quik dont realize it’s market in Brazil.

    At this moment, for third time they’re attempting to open wholly owned stores here in the so call “monkey land”. For the third time, they will fail.

    For Quik managers, all I got to say is this: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!

    Study the brazilian surfers….

    I’ll give you a tip, surfing in Brazil is an elite sport and our elite(me included) is very, very rich and very, very well educated. We all know english, so we watch the transmission in English. Therefore every time you have an official commenter/athlet sponsored by your brand bashing on a brazilian kid for nothing at all, we know.

    So there you go, ready to fail for the third time?

  • alex

    Dane is absolutely the best surfer in the world. Surfing is creativity and passion and Dane has those things in spades. He has, and is still paving the way for the new generations of surfing. He has more talent and insight on surfing than most other surfers on the tour have the courage to express. Including Kelly Slater. I am so damn tired of him, and it’s not that i hate him for being talented, it’s because he doesn’t bring anything to the table for surfing. Dane deserves to be named the best surfer in the world

  • Polonius

    Me, myself and I,

    no, Medina wasn’t the only one suffering on those conditions

    Parko (5 and 2) John John (4 and 4) Davo (2 and 0.5!!) Kp (2 and 0.93!!) Otton ( 4.3 and 2.5) Bede (5 and 1.8!!) Dusty ( 1.8!! and 1.3!!!) Ross (3.7 and 3.3) Pupo (4.8 and 3) Josh Kerr (2.4 and 1.9!!) Pat G. (4.6 and 1.3!!)

    And by your description of Brasil, it looks like Jake is not alone…

    Give first admittance to the ambassadors.
    My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

  • Jeff

    I’m sorry, I just can’t get behind the hyperbole surrounding Dane. He’s been a no show for most of the year, with a variety of lame excuses, and he’s wasting his talent making rip off T-Shirts like the ones the sell in Urban Outfitter.

    I just read the article on Pottz in Stab Magazine. That’s an icon of the sport. Or Curren, or Slater, or Carrol, but this kid has been spoiled by an overblown contract.

    Be nice to see somebody using their natural talent instead of wasting it with a lame web blog.

  • jose

    “Kelly Slater doesn’t bring anything to the table for surfing.” Alex you should be banned from this site for that comment. Many people argue that we are witnessing the best athlete in recent memory. Not to mention that he’s pushing 40 and is still leading the way in progressive surfing. As far as the Dane comments. He’s extremely exciting to watch and root for but he’s not the best surfer in the world. Yeah that 360 full rot. slob was crazy but that bog on the first turn was embarrassing. Where was he at real Chopes? What major comp. has he won? Where is he when Pipe gets serious? This should not even be a point to debate. The dude is an amazing surfer but Shea you and a couple others on here are drinking the Kool Aid from Quik and the media.

  • http://www.tidalpush.com malam minggu

    Danes bottom turn was unreal, watch it again. Shea Is Right.

    He has (dane) been doing things like that all year, just not for you and I, Just the dregs at Dredge and Overhead.

    Wearing a singlet isn’t the only barometer.

    Contest surfing is limiting, Dane beat Adriano with a floater.
    Three to the Beach is still the status quo

    Kelly is King

  • Chris

    Three to the beach is the status quo? Hardly! There’s some incredibly progressive surfing going on right now in contests. Just watch any of the high performance events like trestles or NYC. I don’t think you could say Kelly had a three to the beach attitude when he did that 360 air against Taj! Three to the beach doesn’t win you contests any more. Kelly can surf progressively, charge pipe and backdoor, and has also won the Eddie….. So spare me this argument, what you’re saying doesn’t hold any water

  • Mani

    Blasphemy! Dane is NOT the “Best surfer in the world”

  • http://pydesigns.com Phil Y

    Dane is the only surfer I get excited to watch. He falls all the time but his carves and his airs are beyond everyone elses. He has grace on top of full on thrust.

    Technically Slater is the best but he isn’t the most fun to watch.

    What does best surfer mean anyway? I’d rather watch Derrick Hynd at JBaY going backwards than most contests.

  • Fishboard Twin

    If the best surfer is someone who just tries a big air or carve without the commitment to complete the maneuver I bet all WT´guys would try to do the same. The key point is to complete hard maneuvers in live webcast and not just try. The best surfer is someone who often can do both . Not only occasionally.

    I like to watch surfers trying new things and admire so Dane. But do not admire him more than Slater and Jordy. These guys surf solid in live webcast not just in edited movies or when the waves are perfect.

    Just in time check the heat Dane x Jordy. Dane hasn´t been shown to be the best surfer in the world. Far from it. Also had a overscored wave. Look at 7.7 from Medina to the 8.5 of Dane. After the air Dane was caught in the white water showing any flow.

  • http://surfer kimbo

    and in 3 heats he was out ! Shea , surely the “best surfer in the world ” can get to a semi or final .

  • http://trombonedevara.wordpress.com/ Trombone

    @FIshboard twin, Kimbo, and a few others.

    I don’t remember who said it, probably some kook or a haole. But ‘being the best surfer or the best contest surfer are two entirely different beasts’

    YOu know.. when one comes to a forum, it is expected that one reads the comments on that said forum. Therefore not spilling unnecessary feces all over this twice already said forum.

    Forum, Forum, Forum. How many times have I said it now? Can you count? Because you sure can’t read…

  • chris

    Trombone, take your racist rant elsewhere you ignorant idiot.

  • http://trombonedevara.wordpress.com/ Trombone

    Hi, Chris, I have not place to go, sorry.

    Go to this link ( http://quiksilverlive.com/profrance2011/heat_review.en.html#quality=med&round=171&heat=178 ), click on the last wave of the heat, the 5.33. And watch the last 5 minutes of the heat. Then come back here to tell me and Minggu that Three to the Beach isn’t the status quo.

    ‘he should’ve done a floater…’

  • Danny

    I agree with the comments here about Medina. Most of guys (more experienced and all) were struggling. But Jake in very biased and kind of a dick really (that’s why Pottz is so much better commentator than Snake) grilling the kid, I wonder how he surfed when he was 17…

    That’s he’s second event and he’s on the 4 round. I guess thats pretty good. And who knows, wouldn’t surprise me if he win this contest or other this year

    About Dane…I really get sick with this whole Dane been the best surfer without surf…I mean, Kelly for me is a better surfer than Dane. Let’s see:

    Power – Kelly
    Tube riding – Kelly
    Big,huge waves – Kelly
    Inovation – Dane
    Style – for me the same. both good styles

    P.S – You should had stick with Gabe Shea ;)

    Cheers

  • Joe Ropper

    YES I AGRRE: JAKE P IS A KOOK< SURFED WELL SUNSET BUT IF YOU TAKE AN X-RAY FROM DANE AND KELLY BALLS, YOU SEE JAKES HAND THERE. I HOPE MEDINA WILL BEAT SLATER AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE QUATER FINALS. SHAME ON QUIKSILVER TO PUT SUCH AN ASSHOLE MAKING THE COMMENTS FOR THE WCT EVENTS, SHOULD BE TRANFERED TO ROXY-TOUR. LATER

  • Danny

    LOL, I told you Shea 2 days ago you should has stayed with Gab Medina in yout Fantasy Team!

  • J.P.Morgan

    AT Surfysurfy.net there was like 200 posts on one thread about Dane being a fake hippie surfer. Funny stuff. It’s about a week old it has a pick of his quiver and people really responded.