(Semi) Essential Equipment: Dane Reynolds’ Sperm Whale

Wide as a river, thin as a reed? What fun you'll have!

Carpinteria ain’t but two hours north of the City of Angels, up there in Santa Babs county. A real good righthand point there called Rincon, too, in case y’didn’t know. But what should really get your SUV rental pointed to Carps is the Channel Islands factory. For there, in the corner of the reception area, is the Dane Reynolds-shaped Sperm Whale (among a bunch of other iconic CI boards).

Pick the Sperm up! What do your hands tell you? It’s wide, yeah, the wax is dirty, sure, but feel the rails. Have you ever felt anything quite so slender? And ain’t it ugly!

But there is something incomprehensible, something a little mystical about this surfboard, something that makes it paradoxically easy to ride, but difficult to master. How did it appear? Let’s ask Reynolds, the shaper.

“Thomas (Campbell) was doing a book and wanted to take pictures of me shaping a board that I would bring and ride in Morocco ’cause he thought that was a cool thread for the book. He did the same with Alex (Knost), too. I ended up hurting my knee and didn’t go to Morocco, but anyways, I had shaped three boards free-form and thought I was the free-form guru. My point being this: look at the thing you stand on the board with, your foot. It’s such a bizarre shape and there’s no way you apply pressure to the heelside rail the same as you do the toeside rail, so what’s the point of symmetry?”

Listen, closer, readers, as Reynolds continues with the theorem. “So we just fucked around in the shaping room all afternoon. Thomas was more interested in taking weird photos, cutting up blanks to look like Christmas trees and shit. But the Sperm Whale basically came from that. Just hacking away until it was too thin and we had to stop and glass it. He was telling me what to do, kept telling me it needed more vee, more vee, more vee. ’til it was crazy thin and the whole board had vee. I didn’t know he hadn’t even shaped a board before. He was telling me what to do like he was Skip Frye or something. But the end result was a misshapen Sperm Whale looking thing, hence the name, and somehow it actually worked. Well, I thought it worked. Thomas wasn’t convinced. He didn’t like the way I surfed on it. I brought it to Chile and he kept telling me to get off of it. But it was pretty fun anyway. For me.”

CI’s Trav Lee says: “Dane had a knee injury at the time so he shelved it for a bit, but as he was recovering he pulled it out and rode it a bunch and was surprised how incredibly fast and fun it was. Sometimes boards, no matter what they look like, have a magic element and work incredibly well. When scanning and reproducing this board for the model we really wanted to maintain the integrity of his original shape.”

Says Reynolds: “Travis said he kept getting orders for a Sperm Whale and so they scanned it and I’m surprised at how many people I see riding ’em and saying they love it. The scanned version, where they took out all the major mess-ups, goes pretty insane. It’s less of a curve ball. The basic fundamentals aren’t that weird, just flat with a ton of planing surface and that eggy wide-point back thing with the big hip to pivot off of.”

“This board has a big cult following and sells extremely well in Australia and Japan,” says Trav.

Adds Reynolds. “I think I see way more homemade Sperm Whale incarnations in the lineup than real ones, which is pretty cool.

Dimensions: 5’5″ x 21¼” x 2 1/8″ and 28.1L volume. Interesting side note: “It’s crazy how close to Dane’s normal volume he got on this board when shaping this from a raw and using no measuring tools,” says Channel Islands’ Travis Lee.

Kolohe Andino with satirical penis
"I’m making a statement about the absurdity of taking surfing so seriously," writes Rory Parker. "It’s nothing more than playing in the ocean but it’s been turned into this super serious industry that generates millions of dollars. By putting dicks in their hands I’m illuminating the ridiculous nature of pro surfing as a whole.”

Humour: The Penis as Satirical Sledgehammer

Who knew cartoon dicks could give such wonderful laughs?

As a stay at home husband who suckles from the teat of a successful wife I have certain duties regarding the maintenance of our household. The responsibilities are hardly overwhelming, but I’m not very adept at cleaning, or caring, and our home degenerates, relatively frequently, into a state approaching squalor.

My wife’s approach regarding enforcement of my husbandly duties usually takes the form of a series of passive-aggressive hints over the course of a few days, a tact that is as ineffective as it is emasculating, finally switching into outright demands that I mop the damn floor and do some fucking laundry.

Fair enough, she’s the bread winner, I have ample free time. But I just don’t like cleaning, and no amount of persuasion, in whatever form, is going to change that.

I get a pass when I have writing work. Apparently not so much when I’m creating visual art.

It was a few days ago when the missus strolled into our cozy little two bedroom and surveyed the filth in which we live.

“What the fuck, Rory? I thought you were going to clean?”

“I know, sorry, I was busy working all day.”

“Oh, what did you write?”

“Nothing, I was making art.”

“What do you mean, art?”

“Here you go.”

“This is just a bunch of dicks. You spent eight hours drawing fucking dicks?”

“Well, twelve.  I started last night.”

“This isn’t fucking work.”

“Yes it is, it’s art.”

“How the fuck is this art?”


“See, you know it’s…”

“No, no, give me a second… It’s satire.”

“No it isn’t. It’s just a bunch of dicks and it’s copyright infringement anyway. You can’t use it for anything.”

“No, satire is protected. I’m making a statement.”

“No you fucking aren’t. You’re just drawing dicks. You’re going to get sued.”

“That’d actually be pretty cool, if I got sued for drawing dicks on pro surfers.”

“No, it wouldn’t be fucking cool.”

“No, don’t you see, I’m making a statement about the absurdity of taking surfing so seriously. It’s nothing more than playing in the ocean but it’s been turned into this super serious industry that generates millions of dollars. By putting dicks in their hands I’m illuminating the ridiculous nature of pro surfing as a whole.”

“You’re just making this up as you go along. They’re going to send you a cease and desist.”

“Yeah, but then I get to write about how the ASP is going after me for drawing dicks. Oh!  I could title it, ‘Why is the industry so scared of my cocks?’ That’d be awesome!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re going to get sued.”

“No, look, I’ll just come up with some clever little intro showing how it’s satire and I’ll be fine.”

“Fuck…  I’ve had a long day. Just do what you’re gonna do and let’s talk about something else. And do some fucking laundry tomorrow, okay?”

“I promise I will.”


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Ask Pam Reynolds (Episode Two): Pop Your Pistol!

Dane Reynolds and Courtney Jaedtke's French bulldog's most revealing sortie yet!

Such a cosmopolitan and egalitarian spirit! How can anyone resist the elusive manifestation of the four-year-old French bulldog owned by the surfer Dane Reynolds and his falconer and designer girlfriend Coutney Jaedtke? Over the course of the last three months, Ask Pam, an advice column that has covered topics as diverse as the insignificance of life and the Solange-Jay-Z rift, has become a  much loved and much visited part of BeachGrit.com.

And, today, Pam, advises honestly and without a fibre of hate in her little body (only love!), on the contentious topics of whales in captivity, what dog to keep in a city under siege and how to work your style with a little help from Jen Lopez and Iggy Azalea…

Ask Pam: Episode 2 from BeachGrit on Vimeo.


(And here, from WhatYouth, see Pam at home!)



The eight people who matter in surfing: Right now!

Nat Young (2.0) ain't one of them...

Surfing is an ever changing tableau. Who matters today most likely didn’t matter yesterday and won’t matter tomorrow. Remember Kieren Perrow? Me either. But if the great modern feel-good philosophers have taught us anything it is that this minute right now is the only thing that matters. Or to quote Montaigne, “Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” Without further ado, feast your eyes and hearts upon:

Dave Prodan: The ASP, soon to be WSL, is running in the red. Employees haven’t been paid in months. The future looks very very dark for professional surfing in its current state but Dave Prodan wakes up each and every morning with a smile on his face. He goes about his job, as marketing director, spinning the bleakest of bleak into sunshiney gold. No money? No problems! When the ASP/WSL officially sinks in a bankrupt pile of its own filth Dave Prodan will go on and get a job in politics. He will drive a Mercedes C-class. He will finally get paid.

Michael Fassbender: It is fantastic when jet-setting Hollywood hits the surfs. There they are, flopping around in the water, limbs askew and tres uncool. Celebrities! They’re just like us! Fassbender, who starred in the sex film Shame, recently graced Bondi Beach with his star power and shredded a yellow single fin. The global press ate it up and he got more views than any professional surfer maybe ever highlighting a) outside of the miniscule surf community, no one cares about surfing and b) Celebrities. They’re really not just like us.

Mark McMorris: He is a snowboarding champion and Canadian heartthrob but he belongs, only, to Coco Ho. They are, currently, action sport’s cutest couple. I saw Mark, on the beach in France, watching Coco shred awful beachbreak with pride in his eye. So supportive. Such an example for the rest of us. And now that the snows are falling in the northern hemisphere, Coco will certainly be in Aspen, next to Mark’s side, cheering him on to gold. For Canada! For love!

Kelly Slater: The champ has quite a hill to climb in order to steal the crown from Brazilian heads but has he ever met a challenge he didn’t overcome? Watching him surf Pipe with the fire is going to be a highlight of the year. Will it be sweet, when he wins number 12 and breaks a nation’s heart or will a precious supply of acai berries suddenly dry up leaving his Purps with one less super fruit?

Graham Stapelberg’s bodyguard: There he is, on the North Shore, standing next to a small South African wondering, “Why are these big and scary Hawaiians so angry? Why did I take this job?” He was, of course, hired by Paul Speaker, my source tells me, to protect Graham from embarrassing and painful slaps, and initially must have thought, “Paid vacation” but now must be thinking that his time would have been better spent doing something else. Anything else.

Albee Layer: Have you seen his film Creative Distractions? Have you seen him punt crazy spinny things and then go surf Jaws? Have you seen his crew? Albee makes surfing, all kinds of surfing, look very fun and not boring and definitely not mechanical. And, as they say, the surfer having the most fun is the best surfer. Don’t they say that? Or something like that?

Matt Warshaw: How would you like to be surfing’s historian? Sitting in mahogany-walled libraries day after day, week after week, cataloging the highs and lows of our favorite pastime? Teasing out the intricacies of Nat Young (2.0)’s illustrious life? Matt smokes a pipe, when he studies. He can read Latin, though it is not usually required of him. He knows everything ever about surf and gives it to you freely right here. If that doesn’t make him matter then I don’t know what does.

You: This time I’m not kidding because, as they say, “The surfer having the most fun wins.” You are on BeachGrit.com so fun is completely assured or money back!

Stephanie Gilmore
Stephanie Gilmore is… everything. | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Candid: Let us be elegant or die!

Stephanie Gilmore, sprinkle some of your fairy dust on me, make me a better man! A love letter to the world champ… 

The debate as to the most beautiful (or ‘hottest’ – yuck!) women in the world always seems to throw the Victoria’s Secrets ‘angels’ into the fray. Gisele and the gang. Every time the annual runway show appears on the box I flee the scene in fright and hideth under my bed. The clutching fear that one of these modern day Amazonian’s might trample out of the screen and all over my fragile heart is too much.

If these Fembots are the depiction of feminine beauty circa 2014, then gender equality will never come to fruition. The real deal is something far subtler. A pretty face and great tits do not a beautiful woman make.

Enter Stephanie Gilmore.

Watching Stephanie surf reminds me of when I attended the ballet as a boy. I dug my pre-pubescent heels in outside The Royal Opera House with gusto but to no avail. However, seeing Alicia Markova dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker laid the foundations for my adoration of women. I was transfixed. The poise, the power, passion, and the elegance. The Tchaikovsky!

I felt something rumbling deep within. Not sex but desire. Fitzgerald wrote that:  “Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known.” Thus the desire. Alicia, Stephanie, sprinkle some of your fairy dust on me, make me a better man!

Stephanie Gilmore is doing more for gender equality than any University-educated soap boxer could ever hope. She conjures a different faculty of male admiration. One completely void of sex. Almost.

Gilmore’s taken a testosterone-saturated field and beautified it infinitely. Men can be beautiful on a surfboard, sure, but it always seems partially contrived. The feminine flow that Steph achieves on an open right wall is pure dance and the epitome of feminine beauty.

Unlike every other female surfer Steph works with her genders physical capabilities, not against them. She understands that flow and well-distributed power and timing are her allies. Women will never be able to reach the progressive high-bar set by the men. Ever.

But why would they want to? They’ve got something that’s uniquely theirs to cherish: elegance and grace.

The fact that Stephanie’s reached cereal-box fame with no jealous boyfriend lurking in the shadows and no overbearing stepfather waiting at the gates just adds to her vehemence. Just a beautiful set of pearly whites and a highline-to-wrap-back combo that puts nine-tenths of male pros to shame.

Steph stands alone, and by gosh that’s attractive. Congratulations Steph Gilmore on your sixth world title, but more importantly, congratulations on being the most beautiful woman in the world.