Dane Reynolds Rejects
Don't you just love Dane Reynolds at his most openly decorative, anxiety-free best? | Photo: Marine Layer

Watch: Dane Reynolds’ “Reject” Clips!

On his worst day, Dane still outshines most of the top 34...

Dane, Dane, Dane, Dane, Dane!

You captured my heart with Chapter 11, kinda lost me with the release of Former, but like Shaq in his prime you rebounded your wild free-throw and dunked it into my soul with this clip, Rejects!

So… maybe the lesson is just stick to surfing/editing?

Either way, my heart is yours once more. Nineteen minutes of witty and unique surfing the likes of which is only otherwise found in a pint-sized Hawaiian.

We know Dane’s got all the fancy moves — spins, jumps, that nose-dive layback thing — but what impressed me most were the unfamiliar lines drawn on waves we’re quite accustomed to seeing. This could be attributed to the myriad of board designs he used in the making of this film, but I believe surfing of this nature comes from nothing more than boredom with the status quo.

Dane’s always been seen as the misunderstood-artist-type. He’s introverted, avoids trends like The Plague, and seems to seek out all things weird and quirky in life. This contrarian mindset has allowed Dane to apply brush to canvas in ways never seen before. He goes up when he should go sideways, backwards when he should kick out, and somehow it all makes sense.

Oh, and all of these are B clips.

Prepared to be humorously amazed.

rejects from Marine Layer on Vimeo.

Florence and Walsh Trade Blows at Spot X!

Railwork theory inside!

I could say where this is, but I won’t.

That’s a dual reference to the wave that John Florence and Ian Walsh are surfing (below) and Sean Doherty’s book, MP (on my nightstand). Michael Peterson was many things, but a rat wasn’t one of ’em. At least not yet… I’m only halfway through the book.

To tell you guys where this wave is located would be a pointless endeavor. It may give you a slight sense of relief, but ultimately you’d never end up going there. It’s too fickle, too far away, and likely too expensive for any of us industry insiders. So I’ll just keep it here on my list of incredible, secret waves I know everything about but will never see firsthand. I suppose it’s something of a power trip.

John’s surfing in this video reminded me of a conversation I once had with Surfing Mag‘s gifted ex-video producer, Sean Benik (who I believe edited this piece). He claimed that while certain surfers tend to surf on top of the water (Adriano) and others surf through the water (Jordy), it likely had more to do with the board they’re riding than their ability or technique.

At first I didn’t believe him. I was convinced that top-of-the-water surfers were just inherently worse, or that they lacked a certain X-factor to pierce through walls like the Micks and Joels of the world. But that doesn’t make much sense.

Take Gabriel Medina for example. Easily one of the top five surfers in the world, but he floats across the surface as if riding a Michelin tire or worse, a Firewire. He still does amazing turns, sure, but he isn’t able to slice through walls in the same manner as JJF. On steep sections, Gabriel’s board will flatten or skip out while John’s board will remain on edge through the entirety of the turn.

In my mind, and this is a mind that knows very little of surfboard construction, the biggest factors involved would be rails and volume. A thinner, sharper rail can cut through water more easily, and less overall volume allows the board to ride lower in the water and become buried with less force. By riding boards that vary in rail shape and volume, two similar size and skill surfers (John and Gabby) can appear to be surfing very differently, despite performing the same maneuvers.

There are also obvious variations in technique, but in terms of how the surfer appears to cut through or ride atop the water, the board itself is mostly to blame.

So why would Gab want to ride a board that makes him surf worse? Because anytime the wave goes flat, he has the distinct advantage of maintaining speed and flow, whereas John will flounder. Gabby rides the anti-Banana to ensure consistency, AKA heat wins. This comes back to another theory of mine, in which a country’s socio-economic status can be directly linked to their surfers’ “styles”. But that’s for another day.

For now, sit back and enjoy this aptly titled video, “Ian Walsh Surfs Perfect Barrels with World Champ, John John Florence”. And you guys think I suck at writing!

Joel Tudor: “Why Surfing Mag Failed!”

No logs! Of course!

Oh, the Gram is awash today with tributes for the late Surfing Magazine. All sincere and heartfelt except for one by Joel Tudor whom, if you recall, has long feuded with the 53-year-old publication for not including longboarding.

Cue, eye roll.

But wait! Maybe Joel is on to something!

Let’s examine.

“Sad to see Leroy Granni’s baby/surfing illustrated ( later becoming @surfing mag) close its doors. Had a subscription as a grom and frequently purchased issues during air travel. I feel for the staff that lost jobs and wish them luck on new opportunities. As I wish them well and thanks for the 53 years, y’all may of had a better chance of surviving if you had taken a more open view of our tribe. I tried to warn you guys many times but you never wanted to hear it! Aloha and mahalo”. 

Now, nobody likes a “I told you so” but Joeljitsu has a point.

In the comment section he responds to a comment by Astrodeck matriarch Dibi Fletcher saying, “I hate online. Make houses look like libraries again. The value of looking at print is something that can’t disappear”.

But it is Joel! Magazine subscriptions are at an all-time low and advertising dollars are being re-routed from print towards sponsored online posts.

 “I hate online. Make houses look like libraries again. The value of looking at print is something that can’t disappear.” Joel Tudor.

As a former staff writer for Surfing Mag, I can tell you that Joel is right when it comes to his qualms about the mag’s fragmented view on surfing. Where Surfer had a broad scope of the surf media landscape,  including all sorts of wave riding and stories past and present, their adversary focused purely on progression, the here and the now.

Strangely, this difference in view created tension in the TransWorld building like you wouldn’t believe! Dildos would fly across the office at random! Fake announcements of a Todd Prodd art show were posted unabashedly in the break room.

Speaking of Surfer‘s Editor In Chief.

I interviewed with Todd before I got the job at Surfing and he told me some insight that I still hold dear to this day.

Stab is for gossip,
What Youth for the trendy, and those who don’t do surf contest news,
BeachGrit for the surf industry insiders,
Surfing had the next generation covered,
The Inertia the clueless kook,
but Surfer, their goal was to appeal to everybody.”

Why Surfing failed is also what made it great.

The magazine was made by those whose passion burned for the evolution of wave riding.

To grace the pages, you had to not only be ripping but actively seeking a new precedence for the sport of kings. Peter Taras and Jimi Wilson didn’t want to see Joel Tudor surfing eloquently straight, they wanted Yago Dora combos at Lakey Peak.

And while it made for dazzling imagery, there is only so many air reverses a person can take.

Surfer magazine’s brave new future!

She is alone and it is time to make her great again!

So I was vaguely aware that Surfing was, for all intensive purposes, finished a few weeks ago right? But I figured the death announcement would be quickly chased by a birth announcement. Something like, “Print is dead, long live the net!” and then everything would push to some sparkly new Surfing website feat. the best clips, amazing images, maybe a store. Maybe a softcore porn subsection. Girl in a Skirt. Etc.

The fact that the death got leaked and then… crickets confused me greatly. A leaked death then crickets then Surfing employees posting heartfelt eulogies on Instagram as the sun set while the website remained frozen on yesterday’s Pipeline summary.

There was no joy. No “Get ready for what’s next!” Only sadness.

Which leaves Surfer alone. And The Surfer’s Journal but the Journal is something wholly different, I think. The Journal is something quality and wonderfully good. Each issue like a curated book. Like an experience.

Surfer is not a book. It is a magazine and now alone with nothing left to cannibalize it and this should be a happy day for lovers of surf media. Right? One proud magazine where all the talent can congregate and contribute. Where Nick Carroll and Matt Warshaw and Derek Rielly and Derek Hynd and Steve Shearer and Lew Samuels and Ben Marcus… all the greats and all the great photographers come together and there is no more fear but only bravery. Only straight backs and clear visions. Right?

I so hope this happens but for this dream to become a reality Surfer would need a visionary editor-in-chief. A brave man not afraid to push out a unique vision. Not afraid to ruffle feathers. Not afraid to tell real stories but also fun stories. Not afraid to loose his writers and photographers onto the world and fight tooth and nail for them. Not afraid to present a glorious monthly (or bi-monthly or whatever it is now) picture of what surfing was, what it is, what it should be.

Not Todd Prodanovich. He is a clucking chicken with an inspirational palette as blandly vanilla as his skin. With an impotent temper as red hot as his hair. With a backbone made out of stroganoff noodles.

No…now that she is alone it is time to make Surfer great again and if we have learned anything over the past year it is that strongmen are in fashion. Who wants to be editor-in-chief? Matt? Nick? Steve?

Come on. Uncle Severson Wants You!

Surfing Mag: An Insider’s Perspective

An obituary of sorts.

In June of 2015 I went on a study abroad trip to Bali where Matt George introduced me to creative surf journalism. In December of 2015 I started interning for Surfing Magazine as a writer and web editor. Over time the internship developed into a part-time job and by July of 2016, nary three weeks after graduating from college, I became a salaried employee.

It couldn’t have worked out any better.

Surfing Magazine’s tone was youthful, tongue-in-cheek, and overtly positive. So much so that whenever I proposed an idea that hinted at negativity (i.e. stating that American pro surfing is extremely weak at the moment, mentioning the possibility of terroristic attacks at the US Open, dubiously approaching surfing’s inclusion to the Olympics), I was kindly shut down or steered in a more merry direction. I think that was mostly a good thing.

I’m not sure if this had always been the case, but since I started there the ethos of the Surfing brand centered around progression. I was always encouraged to seek out undiscovered talent or test revolutionary products and accessories. Our biennial Peer Poll was unique in that it allowed for kids to pick the best kids around the world. This stands in stark contrast to more antiquated forms of production, like Surfer’s Hot 100, where teens are ranked presumably by company ad dollars and Todd Whodatovich. 

In that way, Surfing was great. In other ways, Surfing was a little bit… questionable.

I should preface this criticism by mentioning that I joined the team in a very precarious moment, wherein producing a fluid stream of income took precedence over all else. It seemed to me that we sacrificed certain production quality and moral standards in order to grow our numbers and become, in the eyes of The Enthusiast Network, not a liability. This led to atrocious practices like a wetsuit “Field Test” with only positive reviews (can’t upset the brands that buy into your projects!) and social media schemes that were intended to drive traffic through any means necessary (like following people so they’d follow us back, and then subsequently unfollowing them).

This isn’t what anybody wanted, but it’s what had to be done to preserve the brand and, most importantly, all of our jobs. Guys like Peter Taras (photographer, professional road-tripper and social media mastermind) and Chato Aganza (graphic designer, great-hair-haver and big-picture guy) have been with TEN for almost two decades apiece! I’m sure they’ll be fine, but the way the surf industry is looking, it’s unlikely they’ll soon capture another position in the game. Imagine working your whole life in a particular field, learning everything there is to know about the subject, and then being told the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired are no longer of any practical value. This is the ongoing struggle of priests and surf magazine employees everywhere. I pray the latter find a way to survive, myself included.

So how will Surfing Magazine be remembered? I’m honestly not sure. But I’d like to thank everyone there for the opportunity to share my voice and try my hand at this surf journalism gig.

I’d also like to thank them for laying me off in December, so I could watch today’s shipwreck from the relative safety of my little Beachgrit dinghy. Onwards and upward!

Here’s one for the nostalgic types.

A video posted by Zander Morton (@zandermorton) on