Do you miss their romance? Their sexy?
I’m torn. Because there are definitely two (and probably more) ways to look at this depending on your level of fandom for these dudes. But I feel like we haven’t seen them in a while and that is significant.
And I know, I know, buncha fuckin’ hipster surfers etc, but, seriously, where’d they go?
Let’s begin by looking at what they were doing last we checked:
Dane Reynolds: Started Former, put out Premium Violence, and added twins to the family. OK, Dane’s busy — and it’s usually when you start to really miss him that he drops an “excerpt”-level vid out of nowhere and we remember him all over again and beg him to compete or something. Please let that be the case, minus the compete.
Noa Deane: Last time I saw Noa he was on the deck at the Volcom Pipe house, soaking wet and fresh out of surfing third or fourth or fifth reef Pipe (it was huge) with the core of the core on the North Shore. He was right there, trading stories with “The Boys” over a Stella — showing the world in his nonchalant manner that he’s more than just a punk kid with a middle finger. There was no media there to document this, but I saw. He was earning it. Oh, and that deck hangout came after he beat John John that morning in maxing and hectic second reef Pipe at the Volcom Pipe Pro where he went on to make the semis in what was very good Pipeline the whole way through. Is Volcom holding? Hopefully…
Mitch Coleborn: Since most his sponsors stopped paying photo incentives for magazines, Mitch continues trying to qualify. He gets a great spot at the Volcom House in Hawaii and when it’s good there, that’s good and he’s good. Otherwise, you can still find him doing some of the best straight airs to the side of most WQS contest areas and living in California. And should he get on tour, the waves there will allow him to thrive. Oh, and should the right filmmaker come along: Mitch absolutely has another hammer of a section in him.
Dion Agius: Dion is officially a Tasmanian Devil after buying some beautiful land on his home island state of Tassie. He still has his hands in several brands (Epokhe and a sig line at Globe etc) and and he’s always around the prettiest of girls. I’ve also heard whispers of him producing a new Nti Sheeto film if the resources can be found (I hope they are!). But until then, I picture him on his Tasmanian porch, drinking coffee and talking to Joe G in the morning, and drinking wine and talking to Kai Neville in the evening. Something will come of those chats, right? Of course they will.
Brendon Gibbens: In recent times, like Dill and Beeg era times, Brendon would hang out for long periods of time in the British Airways Lounge at London Heathrow, using it as a hub for dismount to Portugal, or Mexico, or Indo, or back home to SA to bag clips. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was dancing. Like authentically dancing. I have to assume that hasn’t changed. Please tell me that hasn’t changed. Dill and Beeg II, coming any second, right?
Craig Anderson: Last I heard Craig was camping in a van somewhere in Ireland with a bunch of boogie-boarders, hunting slabs like the humble mad hipster he is. Proof he’s more than a knee-knock highline and may have been, in fact, born too late.
Creed McTaggart: Well, Creed is in a rock band, partner in an Australian grip brand (RAGE) and I think he shows up to Billabong shoots if they bring Iggy Pop. So that’s pretty cool.
My takeaway from this short update: These dudes are actually doing stuff (rad stuff even), but ever since the surf industry decided to police itself, then acquire itself, and then sell itself for likes and views and basically go upside down and over the falls like that shark in the barrel on Instagram, these dudes don’t have a whole lot of outlets to be seen on.
And with every brand acting as its own media company, when we do see them, we only get commercials, not parts, or films, or interesting interviews or stories.
Now, keep in mind: I am a hard-core surf romantic. I am emotional with my surfing and surf videos and surf photos. And I have long been a loyal industry pawn because of this.
But in return I expect vids and romance back. With anticipation. Characters. Emotion. Style. Zest. Moxie. Fun. And it should be set to a good fucking song. But most of these elements have become extinct and diluted from the once intoxicating surf world.
And those were the places where we usually put guys like Dane, Craig, Noa and Creed. They were the polarizing romantics and they made surfing sexy and strange and unique. Now, the most “exciting” places we can go in surf are the comment sections. And I’ve never gotten jazzed on much of anything in there. And I’ve definitely never gotten buzzed up enough to go surf from them.
Perhaps I’m getting older and realizing Santa Claus just aint real and I should just go get insurance or something, but I can’t. I actually love(d) the surf industry.
I have boxes of VHS’ and DVD’s and magazines that contain the stoke of my adolescence and beyond. Every good (and shitty) surf I’ve ever had was sparked and made better by the contents of those boxes. And I still get supercharged when I hear a song come on from a favorite surf vid. And this is why I used to shell out much more than I earned on surf shit. Boards. Vids ($29.99 a pop!). Wetties. Grip. Wax. And every flavor of t-shirt and trunks there was. All because it made me fucking psyched, and if I’m going to support it, I need to be fucking psyched. And currently, I rarely know where to turn to get those feelings.
Which proves to me that something is wrong and it might start here with these missing characters. But maybe that’s selfish of me. Maybe those dudes are doing what I supported all along and are now some of the best in the world at being actual freesurfers. And that’s punk in its own way.
But I can’t believe that entirely, because I need them and the romance and stoke they bring. I need a boned-out slob by any of those four above. I need the yin to the WSL yang, so we can get T&C Surf Designs out of Tilly’s and Pac Sun and back where it belongs: as a sticker placed unironically on our walls that makes us stoked enough when we see it to want a T&C tee to go with our new Glenn Pang shape.
And for all that we need Dane, Creed, Craig and Noa all over our phones and computers and TVs…set to a damn good song getting us psyched.
Otherwise, we don’t deserve them and we should set them free.