|Dane: amazing, talented surfer. But how is he influencing the future of America´s competitive surfing?|
Well, i don't know If i can actually be more hated in USA than i'm already, but this post is not gonna help my cause. Anyway, this is my opinion, so, let's go:
Fact: we have witnessed a huge decline in USA's overall competitive surfing results in the last few years.
If wasn't the phenom Kelly Slater, North America would be maybe #4 surfing nation in ASP/WSL ratings/representation in the last decade or so.
But Kelly is 43 years old. Where's the new generation? USA's change of guard?
|Kelly Slater, perfect example of competitive surfer. But he´s not gonna last forever.|
We have Nat Young. Kolohe Andino. Brett Simpson (!). A retiring CJ Hobgood. And that's mostly all we can see in the horizon.
What happened? The richest, the world's most important surfing nation shouldn't be in a better place in terms of competitive surfing? C'mon!! America is the homeland of Tom Curren and Kelly Slater!! 14 world titles combined, not to mention CJ´s.
Well, James B has his own theory about what happened:
Dane Reynolds ruined everything.
Let me explain, before crucifiction....
First of all: Slater is the king. The master. But Dane Reynolds, in the arms of a mad, fully passionated media frenzy, was carried to the status of USA's surfing guru. The surfer who all the kids want to be like.
And, following Dane's carreer, a few things can be noticed. Some of his interviews in the last years got my attention. Random crops here and there. One of the most emblematic It was when he said something pretty much like:
- "I never. Never claim a wave, no matter how good it was".
That's it!! The begining of the end, America...
Man, not claim a wave, no matter how good it was the barrel, the turns, the wave itselve??? Why??
I have the answer: to look "cool". Or pretend that "he just doesn't care".
Don't get me wrong. Dane Reynolds is an incredible, amazing and talented surfer. But his controversies:
- "i don't care about competition. I'm out of ASP. But If you grant me a few wildcards, i'll be there!".
Or, as he said more than once, he gets pretty nervous before and during heats. But always bring this "i don't care"mantra to play, even if he actually cares!!
We saw a perfect example of that in the 2015 Jeffreys Bay Pro. In a heat ran during in an unfavourable tide moment, all we could see was a frustated Dane Reynolds just been beaten by a very focused Adriano de Sousa. The conditions weren´t good for J-Bay standards, but i´ve seen footage in Marine Layer of him surfing and having fun in waves way worse than they had in this heat.
Man, that is competition! Is to be able to deal with the not-so-good moments, just to shine when conditions turns on (and that's what's seems is gonna happen in the next round in Jay Bay in 2015, by the way).
Again, my point: how that approach influences surfing kids in America? How many damage this attitude from Dane, widely spread in american media, has caused in the american surfing competitive mindset?
We now have a whole new generation of young american surfers who want to be like Reynolds. To look "cool".
Do not show passion. Do not care. Say no to ASP. Trust your carreer in video clips. Why to fight for to be in surfing's elite? Life is cool! Why work hard?
A wasted generation of young american surfers, who sees themselves as Prima Donas. Guys who are being regularly demolished in competition by the hordes of hungry brazilians and australians surfers, and, then, losing even more drive. (Just ask Matt Biolos If he agrees with my point).
|A nation of freesurfers in 10 years?|
So, my advice to all of you, young, talented american surfers: don't look cool!! Look gnarly!! Show passion!! Show you care about your surfing carreers!! Forget Dane, aim to be like Kelly!
And the most important thing: Claim your waves when you want!!! Show you care!!! There's no shame on it!!
Or then, maybe, just forget all the bullshit i wrote here. Forget Slater, Curren, Gerlach, Knox. Forget Beschen, Parsons, Dino Andino. Forget their rich legacy and just turn into a nation of freesurfers.
Not a problem with that, just don´t start crying later.