Unfiltered surfing in a new age of man-made bullshit
It can’t have been purely coincidental that Dane Reynolds dropped his 'Bakerz Dozen' clip just hours after the Surf Ranch Pro had finished. Four years of Dane’s surfing had been distilled into 251 seconds, set to a Slayer track and crop sprayed over the internet. It suddenly made the 256 waves ridden at Lemoore over four days all look so, well, silly.
It was vicious, viscous reminder of just how good Dane Reynolds is. And how much better he is than everyone else. After years dealing with anxiety, sponsorship breakdowns, fatherhood and a new business, it his surfing that comes in like a blast of unfiltered fresh air.
It might be unfair to compare Keanu Asing surfing a crumbly left in front of a hulking metal train to the best of Dane’s surfing over four whole years, but the timing of the clip makes such comparisons inevitable. Just as when Kelly Slater dropped the first ever footage of Lemoore in the hours after Adriano de Souza had claimed his World Title in four-foot onshore Pipeline, timing is everything. Back then the prophesy was that the new technology would bring a whole new level of perfection and innovation to what was a staid format.
After watching Frederico Morais score a 5.23 for a wave that included a 12-second barrel, and then watching Dane’s clip, you can make your own mind up about that prophecy. The pool, and maybe even competitive surfing itself, has already blunted the edge and excitement of surfers like Mikey Wright, Yago Dora, Zeke Lau and to a lesser extent Griffin Colapinto. It did the same to Dane back in the day; straightjacketing a surfer clearly not designed to be formatted and judged. And that was without a tub and the added mental anguish of performing out of the ocean under even more pressure.
‘Bakerz Dozen’ has been matched only by Noa Deane’s ‘Head Noise’ in terms of being a truly memorable, groundbreaking edit in 2018. Again with ‘Head Noise’ the timing was important. It was released just after the death of Noa’s dad Wayne. It felt like a statement was made and a mantle handed.
Yet, as with Dane’s clip it wasn’t about narrative, but pure, instinctive performance. The two let unpredictable, powerful, stylish and uncomplicated surfing stand on its own without the need for a backstory or future chronicling. There was personality, but only seen through the prism of they way they surf. They were both statements of exactly where the sharpest edge of surfing is now. After watching them repeatedly, it seems clear that edge sure ain’t in a basin.