Meet: The Man Who “nearly killed” Dane!
It's Chucky Rigano, whose drop-in on Dane Reynolds made him a cult online star!
Was it only three short days ago that BeachGrit was gifted the headline: “Barneys act like I spat on Dane’s baby”?
The quote came, of course, from Mr Charles “Chucky” Rigano, the thirty-seven-year-old goofyfooter who “did almost kill me” according to Dane Reynolds.
Surf fans turned into primitive savages after footage emerged of Chucky dropping in on Dane, fluttering his wings in a long tube, at Sandpit in Santa Babs, California.
“I should like to stick you full of barbed arrows like a pin cushion,” said one.
And Chucky, who is actually semi-pro (he once won $100 and two case of Jim Beam at a tag-team event and was in the HB surf team to South Africa) was a little hurt that the only thing he’d ever be remembered for, surf-wise, would be his drop-in to el-rollo on the one-time best surfer in the world.
“Imagine crapping your pants on a first date with a girl you really like, and times that by 10!” he laments.
Interview me, he asked. Set the record straight, he said.
Show the world I can surf.
How could I resist?
BeachGrit: Let’s talk though that day at Sandspit a little. I’m guessing y’didn’t think it was Dane.
Chucky: Nah, but I knew he was out there. I spent the last hour before this just sitting watching guys rip…there’s no way I would have paddled to the top of the point because there were about 40-plus guys behind the rocks and I don’t live up there or surf that spot ever so I wouldn’t paddle in to a pack like that. There were another 40 guys or so sitting wider trying to get scraps like myself. I actually just told someone that I was outta there and was going to try to get somewhere else before dark. I finally got a one-foot wave and was about to head in at the bottom of the point, and said fuck it, I’ll try to get a better one to go in on, just in case I don’t end up paddling out again. I was paddling past the furthest guy down, noticed a guy that was a little stuck behind the lip on a medium size set wave (watch the whole video, not the one where that is edited out). I thought the guy I just paddled past was going to go, I wouldn’t just paddle past someone then spin around. But I heard “Go, go!” I was kind of tripping that he was saying to go, but you gotta spin around fast out there so as I spun I glanced over in to the glare and went. As I dropped in, I heard the same guy say “Ooohhh”, but in a bad way. I kooked out hard and ended up doing an el rollo, I’ll be the first to admit I have a horrible pigdog, especially on a small wave, I should’ve been somewhere else that I could do turns instead. I came up and heard a guy snapping.
He was super pissed initially, and had every right to be. Anyone, including myself, would have snapped for sure. I honestly felt so bad and embarrassed as it gets. Imagine crapping your pants on a first date with a girl you really like, and times that by 10! I said I was beyond sorry multiple times and that I really didn’t see the guy.
I was thinking oh shit, I just hopped some Santa Barbara fisherman that’s gonna kill me. Then I looked closer, and it was Dane Reynolds, honestly one of my favourite surfers. The guy that yelled go was for sure yelling at Dane because he made it around the section and was getting pitted!
He was super pissed initially, and had every right to be. Anyone, including myself would have snapped for sure. I honestly felt so bad and embarrassed as it gets. Imagine crapping your pants on a first date with a girl you really like, and times that by 10! I said I was beyond sorry multiple times and that I really didn’t see the guy.
Within thirty seconds he said it was all good and no worries. I’m sure he was tripping still, but he played it well. I was stoked it wasn’t some big gnarly guy, but so bummed at the same time because I knew I was about to get my ass torn apart for a bit on social media and surfing websites everywhere. There were 15 cameras on the beach at least.
I asked him later if he thought I’d really purposely drop in on him out there. He said he knew that it was not intentional, and semi jokingly said, “you did almost kill me though”.
BeachGrit: But speaking of Dane, does he drop-in a little too?
Chucky: Honestly I don’t know. I had a couple people tell me he got them good somewhere along the line after this got blown way out of proportion. But I imagine, actually I know for a fact, that pros get stuffed just as much as they give it. Stickers on your board sometimes are just a magnet for haters if you don’t live somewhere.
BeachGrit: Did the fury from commenters make you laugh or did it cut into your heart just a little?
Chucky: Honestly nobody would have known it was me for a bit if I didn’t fall for the social media trap and start trying to explain myself on a couple forums where I was getting riddled. I’ll admit, the morning after I got consumed with the whole thing. I ended up snapping a bit and not acting like myself. I’d actually take the time to look at someone’s pics that was calling me a kook, and they’d have pics of themselves on funboards with a full Waimea stance doing a cutback on a two-foot wave. Or they would have male modelling pics of themselves all over the place.
I mean, someone talking trash could be some 14-year-old kid in his undies using grandmas tablet, or some dude in Arizona in sitting on his laptop all day, taking bonghits and drinking whiskey, going back and forth from porn websites to surf forums…getting all mad and posting mean stuff about surfers, then clicking over and rubbing one out to calm himself down. The bottom line is you can’t take anything personally. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
(And, look, Chucky’s big in Japan!)