Dane Reynolds is back in the bright lights of the ASP World Tour in France, and the world’s best part-time competitor is feeling right at home at the Quiksilver Pro thanks to La Graviere’s punchy pits. The wave resembles a few that can be found near Reynold’s Ventura, California, stomping grounds, so it’s hardly surprising that Reynolds is ripping.
But a more welcome sight for Dane fans is the hunger he can’t hide. Fact is, there’s a lot of relevance riding on this Quik Pro performance. As much as we love to knock and mock contests, there’s something undeniably irresistible about sending guys out in perfect pits for a half-hour and saying, “Show me what you can do.”
Frankly, these days, it’s the only real “on demand” content that counts. Why? Because there’s something real riding on it: pride, peer pressure, and performances that count for something. And for Dane, who’s chosen to lower his profile by walking away from full-time competition, each at bat he gets on this stage carries added significance.
Fact is, no blog, magazine, or webisode series can replace the large audience of the ASP World Tour, and Dane’s multi-million dollar salary demands a steady, healthy-size audience. Should Reynolds clinch his first tour win in France, it’ll be a complete validation of his career path, one that will keep the budgetary sharks at bay for at least a couple of months.
If he falls short, however, the boardroom discussions may get interesting.
There’s arguably no better place for Dane than Hossegor. His powerful approach is perfectly suited to the conditions. And on Thursday fans were treated to one of the best ASP shows of the entire year, thanks to the likes of Dane, John John Florence, Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater; each of whom represents a separate surfing era.
The Final Four at the Quik Pro France is the best collection of talent we could ask for. Shit, it’s every surf fans’ wet dream. And luckily for us, whether these guys want to admit it or not, they each have something huge at stake:
1.) Dane wants people to think he can still kick ass without caring.
2.) John John is trying to become the youngest world champion in history.
3.) Parko wants the world title monkey off his back after four runner-up runs.
4.) And Kelly, beyond just staying in the race, is trying to slay his French demons, for he hasn’t won there since he had a full head of hair, and that was about seven world titles ago.
Don’t be fooled, they all want this one.