There was a running joke around the Tracks office that if you didn’t know who to put on the cover a Dane Reynolds shot was always a slam dunk. More magazines were sold when Dane graced page one. It was a fact. Advertisers knew it and the surf industry moved more product when Dane rode for Quik.
Dane’s appeal was his coolness and go for broke style in waves 1-10 foot. Everything he did looked authentic, even the crayon doodling, weird boards he rode, photos he took and waves he destroyed. His pals were the doyens of freesurfing. Dane, Dion Agius, Craig Ando and Noa Deane set the bar and influenced everyone.
Back then social media was the size of a zit. Most surfers relied on the industry to market themselves. Unless of course they were on CT and just had to show up and blow up in a heat.
Dane broke the mould. His own website Marine Layer Productions was a portal inside Dane’s mind and an outlet for him to deliver mind minding clips to audiences. They were the gold standard and provided maximum viewing pleasure.
After spectacularly retiring MLP with Chapter 11 after he left Quik, 10 years on Dane has hinted a reboot of the website on Instagram. “Think I’m gonna start blogging again. I know blogs are dead but still feels like the right platform to post surf videos and opinion and include my friends I surf with every day. Stay tuned.”
In a world where surfers are measured by their social media followers and engagement in an attempt for brands to validate their investment Dane is not immune.
Gone are the days when surfers were paid handsomely by brands to just show up and be a floating billboard. Even the reclusive John John Florence succumbed to the pressure from his masters and began posting on social media’s most popular medium.
Surfers are now vlogging to demonstrate their relevance in a surf industry that has slowed right down from the boom time of the 90s and noughties. Broadcasting their own media channel through social feeds they can control the narrative and are less reliant on the mags, cover shots and double-page spreads to impress sponsors.
Dane, now in his 30s, still courts all the attention in the world when he drops a banger clip. He might have more competition these days from freesurfers like Nathan Florence, Koa Rothman, Jamie O’Brien, Jack Freestone and Julian Wilson who all vlog their lifestyle on the regular.
But the combination of Dane’s eclectic music taste, lo-fi aesthetic and electric high-fi shredding is what made Dane’s MLP portal the most visited for so long. Even my girlfriend would tune in to get a snippet of his wife Courtney aka @napkinapocalypse doing cute stuff with their dogs.
With his own label, FORMER co-founded with another surfing darling and former Quik team rider, Craig Anderson, no doubt the MLP redux is another way to reach the consumer. But hey, if we get to see more Dane again that’s a fine price to pay.
And if it’s an antidote to the current WSL’s happy clapping content and CT focus we’re more than fine with that.
To celebrate the news here’s a bunch of our MLP favourites.