dane reynolds

Shocking: “I surf better than Dane!”

Do you believe Danger Mouse Reynolds is the best surfer in the world? Think again!

Memory. I was a ten-year-old wanna-be competitive surfer living in Santa Cruz. I forced my Mom to drive me down south every month for the NSSA contests which, back then, were like the WSL of amateur surfing, minus exploding phones and #TourNotes.

But, National Scholastic Surfing Federation…tha fuck?


My buddy couldn’t keep a 2.0 GPA and was stripped of his open men’s Western Championship victory ‘cause he wasn’t “scholarly” enough. Side-note: the guy who placed second, Travis Mellem, began listing the title on media as one of his accolades. That’s worse than setting up a GoFundMe account to mount a WQS campaign!

We became pretty good friends, but it was more like “I saw that Surfing cover of you in South Africa…how gnarly was that!” instead of “Dane! You got dinner plans?” He was always very quiet and nice, but he and another few competitors would hang out inside the officials’ tent in between heats. That was weird.

Regardless, if you wanted free shit and cool guy stickers on your board, you had to compete. Despite the association with school, our Santa Cruz crew did our best to tip toe around that ugly word and please our sponsors while still being little punks: packing chews, taking bong hits in the sand dunes, wrestling and thrashing around the parking lots on our skates. We had some contenders, guys like Bud Freitas and Noi Kaulukukui. Mostly, I would head back up Highway 1 with a plastic fifth place trophy and sunburn. If I was lucky.

I did have my moment in the sun, however. I beat the star of Dear Suburbia, of Cluster, of Chapter 11, Dane Reynolds!

Let me set the scene. I’ve known Dane for twenty years. The first time I saw him surf in was my very first NSSA event, held at Ventura Harbor, a truly world-class break. Before the heat I saw this little buck-toothed kid standing around in his jersey wearing a hole-ridden O’Neill wetsuit but with Rip Curl and Hardware (remember them?!) stickers on the nose of Channel Islands board. Believe it or not, this was a big deal. Fuckin kid thinks some stickers on his board’s gonna take me out? Poser!


The hooter sounded and our heat was on. Reynolds was first up. Any notions I had about this kid’s legitimacy were silenced as I watched from the back. Dane blew his fins out six times on a two-foot left.

Being ten days older than Dane, we were locked into the same division for the following seven years. As he grew in stature and profile, the whiz kid would perform, every contest, as though he was blindfolded and we were riding inflatable zebras instead surfboards. Crazy, inverted backside carving 360 on a six-foot close out at Pismo Pier. Searing gaffs and big airs. It was like he was alien or, perhaps “touched by an angel”. I know people have claimed this kind of shit about Slater, but when you consistently crank out the most mind boggling shit imaginable every time you paddle out, people are going to shout “reptilian”. So when Dane talks about losing all the time in Chapter 11, he’s full of shit. He could have filled a pick-up truck with all the trophies he collected as an amateur.

So I continued to compete. I crafted a DR voodoo doll and ritually gored it with needles. My efforts were in vain. Every month, he’d show up, limbs and vision intact. I gave up on the black magic and just accepted my lashes and the fact we were men among the company of a god and we had front row tickets to his performance.

We became pretty good friends, but it was more like “I saw that Surfing cover of you in South Africa…how gnarly was that!” instead of “Dane! You got dinner plans?” He was always very quiet and nice, but he and another few competitors would hang out inside the officials’ tent in between heats. That was weird.

Dane was gnarly. Not Geoff Brack gnarly but Kelly Slater gnarly. However, I would have my day. I would surf better than Dane Reynolds. My mom told me to get into yoga, to work on my competitive strategy, meditation and maybe, just maybe, I’d get to his level.

I didn’t buy it. The kid was just too damn good, breezing through wins with his eyes closed. Every once in a while he’d ride an egg or a weird fish just ’cause he could.

However, I did best himand I will carry this victory close to my heart until the day I die. Even more than my equal seventh at the Kustom Tahara Pro Junior in 2005 in Japan. Is Kustom still a thing? I remember thinking it was so edgy when they came out. I mean, they spelled custom with a K. Genius.

Back to the aforementioned victory. It was the year 2000. Eminem was shocking the world and N’SYNC were wetting the panties. The location was Port Hueneme in Oxnard. WhyyyyKneeMe? WhynotSilverStrand??!! For how much quality surf on the stretch of Oxnard to Santa Cruz, in the NSSA Goldwest Explorer Division (whatever that hell that means), we would routinely get skunked. This event was no different. Shit wind. Shit tide. Shit waves. Standard issue. I had just moved up into the 15-to-17 year old junior division. And that meant I was just a minnow among nearly grown men. I’m not too sure of what I did to make it through to the final, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say luck factored pretty heavily.

The only other person I remember being in that heat was Nathaniel Curran, who still surfs really well, likes to go fast, and babysits the Channel Islands surfboard team. Nathaniel was really the only one who could give Dane a run for his money. That didn’t last too long, but in this heat, Nate Dog was Regulating. I was surfing the peak to the south, which was providing a few chippy lefts. Being a goofyfooter from the land of righthand point breaks, I figured this would give me a chance to hone my frontside attack. Actually it was just an attempt to give me some breathing room from Nathaniel and Dane, who were surfing the rights about 100 yards north.

Nathaniel owned the final. I remember watching in agony as he tore the shit out of wave after wave. For once however, I was in the zone. I caught a little wedge left and did a few snaps and buckin’ bronco butt wiggles. Where was Dane? I saw him catch a pretty decent right, but as the time ran out (fifteen minutes is not a long time to catch two quality rides when it’s flat dogshit), it was clear that he didn’t have a good backup wave.

With about two minutes left in the heat, another wedge came my way. I scratched harder than Adriano De Souza, popped up and began to string together another pair of gaffs with a little drop wallet on the end section.

The ocean went dead and the buzzer hooted. I felt pretty confident with my two keepers. Still, I saw Nathaniel murder at least three waves and the thought of beating Dane did not compute in my adolescent, drug-muddled mind. There were no live scores so we had to wait until the awards ceremony to find out how we placed. The fateful hour arrived, and Dane, Nathaniel, myself, and the three other competitors all lined up in front of the scaffolding for the awards ceremony.

Janice, the beach marshal began announcing the results. Name after name began being called. Not another fifth place? My arse puckered. Fourth place, not me. Then, by the grace of Satan, Dane was awarded the third place trophy! I’d slayed Goliath! Of course Nathaniel won, but for a brief moment, I had felt like I’d won the Eddie or Pipe Masters.

better than dane reynolds
Dane was gnarly. Not Geoff Brack gnarly, but Kelly Slater gnarly. However, I would have my day.

Of course, I’ve never surfed better than Dane Reynolds. A random fluke. Stroke of good luck, call it what you may, but I will carry this result as a badge of honor until I’m pushing up daisies.

I saw Dane at Keramas in 2008. I paddled up to him to rap out and he looked at me like he didn’t know me. Maybe it was just a momentary lapse of memory, but I felt like it may have been due to the fact that he was being worshiped worldwide at the point in his career. Then again, maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m just a cynical and sensitive bastard. After reintroducing myself, I paddled away feeling hurt and confused. Why wouldn’t my old chum greet me with enthusiasm and open arms?!

Wait! Maybe it was because I bested him that day at Port Hueneme! Blood Feud?

I paddled away and saw him do a six-foot lien grab air from the back. He looked like an alien blasting off to return to his (reptilian?) planet. That air scored him the cover of Transworld Surf. So yeah, for fifteen minutes, in the shittiest of surf, I surfed better than Dane Fuckin’ Reynolds.


Dane Reynolds Transworld cover
Dane’s lien air at Keramas in 2008.

Where's my BeachGrit? I want my BeachGrit!
Where's my BeachGrit? I want my BeachGrit!

Surprise: “Big Bro” hates BeachGrit!

But loves and approves of The Inertia!

Ever see the film The Big Short? Did you walk away feeling like every financial institution perpetually fucks over the little guy for profit? Did you wonder just how much worse it could get? I’ve got the inside scoop that could be the final nail in the 99%’s coffin. But first, a short story about a dude named John.

John loves surfing. He loves all aspects of the harrowed and beloved surf culture. John realized he couldn’t surf all the time. Pursuing college and attaining a big boy job were necessary sacrifices. Got the degree, began working for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor, still surfed, just on the seven to five grind too.

Then tragedy strikes.

John is working at Merrill Lynch, part of Bank of America, doing his job well. John hears that Dane Reynolds and The Inertia are having an online street brawl via his phone. John gets a minute or two to jump online. John knows the place to get the scoop on the drama!


John slams “BeachGrit” into the search bar! The home page loads! CLICKS ON THE LINK …..loading….loading….loading…cannot find source.

John gets the feels.

John is mad.

Again, calamity has struck. Adding insult to injury, John isn’t able to open the article, or watch a Youtube link of Mason Ho rock hopping, or even a WSL broadcast or Surfline cam. The only site remotely related to surfing that Bank of America permits, the gosh darn Inertia.

John is furious.

The Inertia’s often absurd, uninspired dribble is the only bit of surf related access John has when the opportunity for free time in the office allows a moment of escaping the fluctuating stock prices.

Does Bank of America really favor The Inertia’s baggy frilled jeans and sandals look over us rebel scum?


More than likely the ass hats in charge of setting up the company wide website monitoring systems don’t even consider The Inertia a place worthy of blocking from their employees. John may have stumbled upon the most meaningless blood feud ever but I’ll be damned if his story didn’t compel this writer to share his struggle.

John isn’t alone.

The big banks have already affected everyone else. Big Brother wants you to know if Zach Weisberg’s clan of unpaid “writers” has something to say but the derelicts here at BeachGrit are not worthy of attention or access. Pity. John we stand with you.

John doesn’t really want to be a financial anything anymore. John said it’s not for him and that the whole system is pretty fucked up. John no longer desires to contribute to perpetuating wealth incumbency for the rich. John sums it up with a Kerouac quote.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

The End.

Ahhhhhhh I'll miss Rory Parker. This photo is testament to his high water mark on our little site. Can you heal my heart? Can you make me smile again?
Ahhhhhhh I'll miss Rory Parker. This photo is testament to his high water mark on our little site. Can you heal my heart? Can you make me smile again?

Contest: Be our next Rory Parker!

The noted Rory Parker has left the building. Do you have what it takes to replace him?

Do you dream of standing on a soapbox and shouting whatever you feel at the surf world?

Of being a lovable curmudgeon?

Of getting paid to fly to the North Shore and not hanging out with professional surfers or in the surf houses?

Well then you could be our new/next Rory Parker!

Our old Rory Parker has just broken up with us. I won’t go into detail as to why (hopefully the boy will come back for a last encore and explain himself) except to say that the surf journalism biz is a tough one. It takes a hide thicker than a Miura bull to stick around. Have you ever actually looked at Nick Carroll? At Matt Warshaw? At Derek Rielly? At me? That ain’t sun damage, baby. Those are callouses, scars and dried spittle!

But don’t let me discourage you! No profession is more esteemed, more noble. And to be buried underneath a tombstone reading SURF JOURNALIST 1976 – 2043 is the greatest pleasure a man can know.

And while the tears staining Derek’s and my cheeks re. old Rory have not yet dried our pain is your gain.


We are looking for a new voice, a fresh point of view. Someone fun? Funny? Connected? Hungry? Oh it could be anything! The only prerequisite is to be 63% anti-depressive.

If you think you’ve got what it takes email a 300-ish word riff on mmmmmm the best thing in surf to [email protected] before New Year’s day. The top three will get posted and the people will decide.

What do you get?

The chance to be surf famous of course which is ! But also maybe a paycheck in a few months (we’re sooo close to profitability!) and a Matt Biolos surfboard.

Come write for BeachGrit! It’s freer than the WSL™!

Mr Speaker, you chose....poorly.
Mr Speaker, you chose....poorly.

Just in: WSL copies wrong league!

Noa Deane was right all those years ago! Fuck the WSL!

Oh yesterday I was just so ticked. So peeved. So… angry with the World Surf League! Do you recall? You can click here if you care to relive the madness but, in a nutshell, I congratulated Jamie Mitchell on Instagram for winning the Nazare event and the bastards at the WSL ripped it down, busting me for “copyright infringement” in under an hour.

And I burned. Professional surfing needs all the help it can get. All the eyeballs it can pull. And you would think CEO Paul Speaker and co. would understand that.

But no. The bastards are spending their energies bullying li’l old me instead. Making sure that my congrats to Jamie Mitchell go unrequited.

So I wrote a story in response telling Paul Speaker to go and fuck himself. Or maybe fuck off. Or something with fuck.

Wally, in the comments, added this helpful nugget:

The videos are encrypted and copyright is managed by an outside company. Same set-up as the UFC and I guess most large sporting bodies.

And I don’t doubt that for a minute. But, still, same diff a far as I’m concerned. The UFC has billions of viewers already. They are allowed to control their media with an iron fist if they so desire.

Bruddah added:

Speaker’s bringing the shitty NFL-mentality on social media to this “league”. They really should model it after the NBA’s approach… “Adam Silver realized early on that people would tape things off the TV set and upload it to YouTube,” says David Levy, president of Turner, which airs NBA games and comanages NBA.com for the league. “He understood Instagram. He understood Snapchat. He gets the fact that fans are fans, and you need to fish where the fish are.”

Data backs up that instinct. “It’s almost like a free commercial,” Gilbert says. “To me, it’s all great for the league, enhances the league, promotes the league, and I think the NBA has got it right on.”

And provided a link to this story in Wired magazine titled: Techies are trying to turn the NBA into the world’s biggest sports league.

I found it so very fascinating! Thanks Bruddah!

In short, the NBA doesn’t act Speaker-esque when it comes to their content. Shall we read a small nugget?

More than that, these tech-enabled owners have helped turn the NBA into North America’s most forward-thinking sports league. Other leagues struggle with aging fans and restrictive views on intellectual property; the NBA has the youngest TV audience of any US league and lets its content flow through the wilds of the Internet. While the other US leagues struggle to build international interest in their games, the NBA has leveraged social media and new technology to build a huge global following. If the league has its way, the Golden State Warriors’ three-point-shooting machine Stephen Curry won’t be merely an ambassador for America’s most exportable sport. He’ll be the biggest star of the biggest league on the planet.

And it is true! Kids want to be like NBAers. They want NBA shoes, bags, gear and it is because the NBA fosters great personalities, doesn’t clamp down on fun and let’s the videos actually go viral, spreading into young hearts and minds like a wicked disease.

The NFL? I was hosting a failed TV shoot once and was told I couldn’t interview anyone with football team fan gear on because the NFL is so sue happy. They protect their copyright like a vicious drunken husband.

That is Paul Speaker’s home. That is where he came from. That vicious drunk his dad.

But did you know that the NFL is fading for the first time in years? Revenues down, participation down, viewership down, interest down. Down down down down and I would imagine, in part, because its commissioner is a Nazi.

Back to the NBA, I had the great pleasure of meeting its commissioner once, Adam Silver. He was smart, funny, easy going, not at all vicious and above all had vision. His ideas for where he wanted to take the league and what he enjoyed about it were very refreshing. He liked the personalities and he knew they would carry the game.

That’s what professional surfing needs. That’s what we don’t have and it ain’t that hard. The NBA is writing the book. All the WSL has to do is crib.

Paul Speaker should go and fuck himself. Or fuck off. Or something with fuck.

Chris Ward and the best wrap in surf!

A move so good you'll want to emulate!

I never hide my love for the wrap-around cutback in our dear surf. The move is both smooth and fierce, functional and stylish, simple yet takes many lifetimes to master.

Who has had the in surf history do you think? Andy Irons? Tom Curren? The Duke?

Maybe Chris Ward?

Examine his repertoire in this clip by Strictly Surf. He uses his wrap to slow down, to speed up, to cut ‘tween people, to wow!

I think his could be considered one of the best in surf history. But what about you? What do you think?