"Some day I’ll have to hang it up. Stop forcing my fossilized body to pump and thrash and relax into a more soulful manner of riding waves." Not today.
If the World Surf League represents the VAL apocalypse, the mid-lengthers, the murfers, and so on, then it follows, I think, that Dane Reynolds is the last bulwark of a sport in the grip of its darkest enemy.
Last year, Reynolds, who is thirty-five, returned to the vlog game with Chapter 11 TV, a reboot of Marine Layer Productions, which was shuttered three years ago.
In a manifesto published at its launch, Reynolds wrote,
I got excited to start Chapter 11 TV in January when I was surfing a lot and feeling pretty good about it and getting inspired by the new generation of local surfers. I miss making surf videos despite the preposterousness of the pursuit.
Things have changed for everyone since January and for me has slowed the development of the site but i’m still excited and ambitious. I’m going to try and keep the bar low and get videos out rather than dwell on what’s worthy.
There’s no real concept or criteria for Chapter 11 TV, Surfing means different things to different people, I’m just trying to convey our version of it.
From my experience the less you expect the less you get disappointed.
Today, we are gifted episode seven, Not Today and, as always, Reynolds colours in the clip with a passage of writing filled with his deceptively simple observations. The Lou Reed song, Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams, and performed by Nico, anchors the short, proving that even in the darkest crannies, in this case the destruction of a once-great sub-culture, there can be light.
Sometimes I feel ridiculous driving around checking waves. Checking swell forecast. Checking wind. Checking tide. Rubbing elbows with groms trying to catch a wave to do a trick with someone standing on the beach with a camera to record it.
Some day I’ll have to hang it up. Stop forcing my fossilized body to pump and thrash and relax into a more soulful manner of riding waves. Maybe buy an old van and burn some sage. Get resin tints and grow a pony tail and wrap it in a bun. Switch to craft beer. Hang up the thruster and glide in from out the back on a 7’6 single fin. I’ll put my arms in the air when I reach the crest of every gently peeling wave.
But not today. The waves are shit and onshore. After I write this I’m going to clean the wax off my 5’9 square tail epoxy and call Matt to see what he’s doing. He probably won’t pick up. He’ll probably call me back in about 5 minutes and I’ll ask him if he’s seen the ocean and he’ll say no he had a few things he had to take care of but he was thinking about going look at the wood. I’ll say I was thinking the same. I’ve got a sore knee so I’ll roll on a foam thing for like 2 minutes before I get distracted. I’ll hop in my car and head south with a Howard Stern re-run playing from my radio at maximum volume. If it’s a stupid episode I’ll listen to Royal Dog Shit for the 1000th time.
When I pull up Matt will be on his phone. When he gets off his phone he’ll say he’s seen a few. I’ll say yeah looks fun enough for a surf and after all, If it’s shitty we’ll come in. Then we’ll suit up, I’ll ask him how his bitcoin trading is going. He’ll say ‘awwww man not so hot’ and I’ll laugh at his misfortune. The waves will be average but I’ll be able to hit the lip a few times and maybe do an air reverse. Matt will pearl going straight at least once and i will yell “I can’t believe you are still riding that board!” I’ll be happy I surfed. The waves could be good soon and I’ve got a new 6’0 with glass ons that I’m excited to ride.
And for the record. If you ever see me on a set at Rincon throwing my arms in the air on a 7’6 single fin feel free to burn me…