“Dane Reynolds is the most exciting Freesurfer in the world today and many of our young surfers wanted him in the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this year,” said Aaron Pai. “We are honored and very excited to induct him into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame!”
Reynolds, a 26-year-old from Ventura, California, is easily one of the most exciting and creative surfers on the planet; known for his “go for broke” style of surfing that includes a repertoire of experimental and aerial maneuvers. He was born in 1985 and started surfing at the age of 10 after he moved from Bakersfield to Ventura. It was here on the point breaks around Santa Barbara that Dane honed his progressive style. He first started competing at age 13 and by age 17 was considered to be California’s greatest hope for a world title, the heir to Tom Curren’s late ’80s early ’90s soul reign, and heartthrob to tons of teenage girls reading the surf magazines.
Reynolds competed in the 2003 and 2004 X Games and received the highest single wave score both years. His first video, “First Chapter”, won Best Male Performance in a Video and Video of the Year at the 2006 Surfer Poll Awards. Dane qualified for the 2008 World Tour after finishing runner-up to Jordy Smith in the 2007 World Qualifying Series. He wound up 19th on the tour that year and then rocketed into the coveted Top 10 in 2009. Reynolds had a breakout year in 2010, ending up tied for fourth in the world. It only seemed like a matter of time before he would dethrone Kelly Slater.
2011 came and went, but injuries kept him out of several events and seemed to throttle his competitive drive, but not his desire to push the boundaries of the sport. “I don’t put too much importance on winning contests, which I think can make surfing boring,” Reynolds said in an interview. “You’ve got guys doing safe turns all the way to the beach to get a seven-point ride. I don’t see the point of that. I prefer surfing as an art as opposed to a sport. It’s such a rad thing that it’s crazy to confine it to a certain criteria.”
In one of his few mainstream media interviews, Rolling Stone opined that one of the ways to understand just how differently Reynolds sees waves-and the act of riding them-is to consider the fact that, for a guy who makes his living on the water, he spends a lot of time in the air. His athletic, acrobatic free-surf style is punctuated by unearthly aerial maneuvers and cartoonish twists and turns, running counter to the straight-ahead, power mode that seems to dominate the professional circuit today. But in Reynolds’s view, it really isn’t whether you win or lose, but rather what you do when you’re confronted with a break.
In announcing that he was leaving full-time competitive surfing, Dane posted on his website that, “Surfing is my passion in life. I always think about how lucky we are that there’s even an ocean, and it’s not too hot or too turbulent and it’s not made of acid that burns our skin off. And how lucky is it that the land tapers into the ocean in just the right way so that when lumps of energy approach from a thousand miles away they gently rise up and crash at just the perfect speed so that we can wave our little arms and match their speed and hang at the crest weightless for just a second before sliding down the face. There are tons of them (waves). They keep coming, all different sizes shapes and speeds; endless joy.”