I don’t really care what the ratings of the WSL say. I’m not interested in which Whirley Bird Brazilian or Coolie Kid is currently tops right now in a jersey. We need to realize we’re sitting through a moment in time when the world’s best, most authentic, passionate, honest and freestyling surfer of all time is putting out edits, tattooing himself with his own words and letting us read them before they dry, all while breeding with everyone’s favorite mama, Napkin Apocalypse. And for some reason all we can muster for a response is to try to convince him to put a jersey on. And tell him his art “looks like b-sides.” And criticize his lack of competitive desire. And tell him to lay off the beer. Or ask what he’s done for us lately, when the reality is he spends most of his day trying to creatively remind us why we even like surfing. And that’s when he’s not actually surfing — in whatever conditions present. And while it’s nice to watch Dane surf in a jersey and out, if he doesn’t want to dawn a jersey every month, I’d like to be the first to say: great! Because if you think we set the bar too low for Kolohe to give a shit about us as a culture and industry (from This is the Last Thing I’ll Write About Kolohe Andino in What Youth Issue 11), well we sure as shit don’t register much of a pulse from Dane.
Dane’s new short is called Sampler and it reminds me why I surf. Why I copied every airbrush Benji Weatherley had. Recited Kalani Robb quotes. And started a club called “New Borns” in middle school to follow up Tim Curran’s “Pre School” generation. From the grom footage to the off-beat editing to the high line and paddle-in inclusions to the no-makes to the kick-outs to the absolute hammers to the tunes I want playing in my car on the way there, there is not an edit of anyone that reminds you that “life is fucking strange but we all got this surfing thing going for us” more than Dane Reynolds. And while the world depletes our attention spans to little more than a flash of light and a socialite, giving us less and less bang for no bucks and we continue to devour it and ask for even less please, I fucking love that he continues to disregard us all.
Fuck us. Fuck it. Fuck you.
But thank you, Dane.
And while I’m not looking to make this a magnum opus any more than Dane Reynolds was trying to make Sampler one, we should really use Dane’s edits and words and honesty as a reminder that we’ve all lost our fucking minds. And we’re blowing it by not crowning Dane Reynolds World Champ right now. And since we know we can’t count on anyone else to do it, and we think some of you might agree, I think we’ll go ahead and do it ourselves:
Dane Reynolds, you are the new What Youth World Champ. Long live the king.—Travis