By Jed Smith
Photos by Peter Taras
I’ll never forget this, Dane!
He opened the contest with a trademark lethargic heat, but there was no doubt who owned Day 1 of the Hurley Pro, Trestles. Dane Reynolds lost his opening heat, also the first of the day, to Chris Davidson, and competitors should have taken note. The Venturan has a habit of turning out shockers early in the day and admitted back at the Quik Pro Gold Coast, “I always start off a little worse.” Perhaps a symptom of a lack of training, stretching, dieting, and other regimens typically used to mark out a professional sportsman.
But once the kinks had been ironed out, a 16-year-old kid met his maker. Kolohe Andino, who routinely professes his admiration for Dane, clashed with him in the second round. And so it was a fitting climax that one of surfing’s most talented juniors was snubbed by his hero in their match up.
Dane racked the highest combined total of the day (17.70) in a performance that was equal parts fun and apathy toward the conventions of competitive surfing. On one wave he failed on an audacious club sandwich, leaving the wave to grind down the line and offer up three more sections. He still scored in the sevens for the ride (which was not included in his combined total), but then caught a mid-size nugget and surfed it better than you perhaps can visualize. With each approach he left the pocket harder and tweaked an already radical line into the sort of turn none in the world can rival. It earned him a 9.37.
After the heat, Dane and Kolohe, who are friends, talked boards in the competitors’ area. And it was Dane who confessed to feeling the pressure in the lead up to the heat.
“I was nervous about Kolohe…I hate surfing against younger kids. When I surf against someone like Davo [Chris Davidson], I know what to expect. Kolohe can do huge moves, and that’s usually my deal against other guys,” he said.
Asked whether the very real possibility of claiming his maiden world title had added to his apprehension, Dane laughed and quipped: “Those hopes died a long time ago. Like several years ago.”
For Day 1 of the event, Trestles couldn’t have offered up a more forgiving wavescape.
“It’s one of the easiest waves to surf and when you’ve got a good board it’s just so fun,” said Andy Irons following his Round 1 win over Tiago Pires and Tom Whitaker. After beginning with a sputter, Andy showed glimpses of his signature power and commitment: clipping sections, building up speed, stabilizing and then unleashing forehand hooks as the bowl opened up.
The surfer with the day’s second highest combined total, Jadson Andre echoed Andy’s sentiment. “This wave is amazing for me,” Jadson said. “I think Trestles is one of the best waves and it fits my surfing. I’m hoping to get a good result here because that left is just amazing. The right is amazing too. The current, the wind, everything felt perfect.” The 20-year-old Santa Catarina Pro winner used his trademark grab-til-you-land air reverse to rack up two eights and the win over CJ Hobgood and Dusty Payne.
But the day belonged to the cream of the world tour. Jordy, Kelly, Taj, Adriano and Mick all won through to the third round. When the day’s standout performer was asked to select his event favorite, Dane was in no doubt. “It suits someone like Jordy because he can do those big turns and the tricky stuff. That helps because of how soft it gets out here,” he said. He and his theory will be put to the test late this week, when a solid swell is meant to get the Hurley Pro back underway.