Modernism n. Using new technologies to advance the art of surfing.

Andy Irons, Dane Reynolds, Shane Dorian, and C.J. Hobgood use new-tech to better themselves.

Shane Dorian is acting out a trick. He’s standing on the back deck of the

Adventure Komodo, a 65-foot dual-engine power-cat cruising at 25 knots through the

Indian Ocean. He’s describing a one-handed Superman aerial that he’s been trying to land for a while now. Across from Shane is nineteen-year-old Dane Reynolds. Dane listens and watches as Shane describes what kind of grab he’s thinking of using and acts out the takeoff like a mime using words. The Superman Shane’s thinking of is one of the tricks he plans on making off of a small list he has in his pocket. List? Yes, a laundry list of tricks he wants for his section in the highly anticipated Campaign 2.

Shane, along with Andy Irons, C.J. Hobgood, and Dane Reynolds, is fitting in a

quick, seven-day cram session of airs, barrels, slashes, and anything else they can think of in a consistent, productive part of the Indian Ocean near the Mentawais. The trip has more media on it than actual surfers, with three videographers, two photographers, and

one writer—I guess that would be me. I’m here to try to push the surfers to their full potential, but the way these guys are talking, they’re all way ahead of me.

As we make the crossing from Padang to our semi-secret location, the surfers are

in high spirits and anticipating an abundance of performance-oriented waves. They talk about their latest travels and update each other on the current status of their lives and then quickly dive into their thoughts and plans for the next seven days of surfing. “I really want to do some darkslides,” Andy laughs and adds, “So, Dane, are you gonna do some of those flips or what?”

Dane grins and answers, “Hopefully. I haven’t made one in a while.”

At this point, the digital cameras are still dormant and packed in hard-shell cases.

Batteries are being charged, and media meetings are taking place to discuss current trends in camera equipment. This trip is the unveiling of a new weapon in the arsenal of the modern surf photographer—a digital camera on par with, if not better than, any film camera on the market. This new class of camera is capable of editing at the touch of a

finger during the session.

A strict routine begins to take shape after the first few sessions. The surfers watch footage of the session they just came in from. Waves are rewound, paused, replayed, rewound again, paused again, and usually discussed for a few minutes. The

surfers critique each shift in weight, every arm movement, and look to improve every aspect of their surfing. The environment is light-hearted but the intention is clear—each guy wants to surf better. It’s about trying some new move in the morning, watching the video ten minutes after the session, concentrating on a particular unmade move, seeing

what went wrong, and fixing the problem.

Example: Dane Reynolds and the crew are surfing a head-high puntable left on the fourth day of the trip. The flip Dane’s been attempting has been eluding him and he can’t quite figure out why. After the morning session, Dane looks closely at the footage and at a digital photo sequence spread out across the screen of a Titanium G4 Macintosh laptop.

The photos were shot that morning by Brian Bielmann with a Cannon Mark II and downloaded from media cards to a small, portable hard drive small enough to fit in your pocket, then transferred via USB to a laptop, and shown as a slide show on the computer screen. Dane stares at the fifth shot on one of the sequences of a flip attempt. His takeoff looks good, but he keeps flying out of the back of the wave. You can see from the look on

his face that he’s working out some equation in his head about what to do to make the

flip.

One hour later he’s back in the water pumping on his backhand. He races down the line and arcs into a bottom turn. As the cameras sp off eight shots a second and three different video angles record Dane’s progression down the line, he cuts off the bottom, torques off the top, launches into the air, grabs the rails, spins upside down with a full rotation, lands smoothly on a nice foam ramp, stands right up into another bottom turn, and heads down the line right into a beautiful backside snap. The flip has been made.

Dane’s happy, the photographers are screaming, the video guys sweat and hope they got the shot, and the surfers hoot (while under their breath they curse at the youngest of the crew for once again making something rarely done in surfing.)

After the flip, Dane catches fire and starts throwing crazy combos on every wave.

Backside 360 air, varials, and huge methods. Shane isn’t going to be outdone. He drops into a deep, draining, double-up and stalls into the pit. He rides the tube no-handed then speeds down the line. He approaches a section coiled like a cobra then springs,

BAM!—Shane blasts a head-high method with perfect style and lands effortlessly. C.J. follows with an equally lofty lien air. Andy comes screaming into the picture with a mental backside lipslide right into a carving backside 360. The media on hand is agape, stuttering in an attempt to process what they’re witnessing—which, in one session, is some of the most advanced surfing ever. Sitting in boats and on rocky beaches, they are soaking up the future of surfing.

The following days were filled with more of the same. Each session was caught in its entirety through digital eyes and replayed for the analysis of the athletes. Football teams have been reviewing tape for years—they call it “watching the films.” Skaters sometimes call it “checking the footy.” The surfers on this trip just said, “Let’s see the

clips.” (After a good combo on a wave, Andy would usually yell, “Clip!”) Picture Tiger Woods in a lab reviewing video of his swing and scrutinizing its every intricacy under a

microscope. Now, think of our boat as the lab, and Andy Irons is Tiger Woods. He’s a scientist studying the kinesiology of his own surfing. People have been analyzing their surfing video for years, but never has the information become so readily and quickly accessed as it is now. Quick sections showing different angles are being edited and reviewed right there on the table of a boat in the middle of the ocean. Information is being processed, styles are evolving, and tricks are being learned. Evolution is occurring in minutes instead of weeks.

Of course, beer, food, card games, and stories break up the monotony of constant surf science, and not every session becomes a chance at advancement. Fun is not being replaced by fanatical self-observation. And the self-gratifying pleasure of watching your own achievements is entertaining in itself.

The tools of the trade are changing, and photographers like Bielmann and Dustin Humphrey are no longer able to hide behind the hope of getting the shot. Now, like videographers, they’ll be expected to show proof after every session, and on this trip they do. Photos are edited and checked for sharpness literally minutes after they were shot. “God, the pressure is on now,” laughs Bielmann. “It used to be you could wait until after the trip to tell the surfers how the shots are. Now it’s like, ‘All right, Brian, let’s see

what you go.’ It’s great, but kind of scary.”

Andy is the most relaxed of the bunch. As we sit down for another gourmet dinner prepared by our chef Justin (the perks of being with the best), Andy sits comfortably on top of the ASP ratings. This trip is a vacation from the scrutiny of judges and competition. His looseness shows in his surfing. In every session, he’s going for disturbingly tweaked reentries and somehow making them. In not worrying about falling, he doesn’t fall. He watches his footage with a little less intensity and mocks himself more than analysis. “That was f—king lame!” he laughs at himself while watching the replay of himself slipping off the front of a tailslide, “I need to ride a shorter board tomorrow.”

Bettering yourself can be as easy as choosing a different board, as Andy demonstrates the next day at the same break. He rides a board two inches shorter with a bit more foam in the tail and outperforms himself twofold.C.J. is in the same boat as Andy. He’s coming off a WCT win and as confident as ever. He’s at Andy’s heels on the ratings, but on the boat he’s just taking Andy’s money

in heated poker games. C.J. switches up his fins a few times and tunes his airs throughout the trip. Like a jukebox, I ask C.J. to try a few different grabs. “C.J., you should do that same air, but with no grab next time,” I mention, like I’m requesting a song.

“All right,” C.J. smiles, and voila—his next wave ends up as a spread in the magazine, a picture-perfect frontside banger, no grab, and perfect style.

As the sixth day rolls around, Shane’s list is shorter. The elusive one-handed Superman hasn’t been nailed, but a wide array of the most stylish and powerful gashes, tweaked airs, and body-breaking carves make the list obsolete. Shane is happy with what he got during this quick trip to Indo. He sits on the deck with a Bintang, and we talk about video parts. “Now that I’m off the tour, video parts are really important to me, he says between sips of his Indonesian beer. “They always have been, but for Campaign 2, I want the best part I’ve ever had.” From what I’ve seen on this trip, that’s very possible.

The trip is winding down, and the boards are being packed. I sit down with Dustin Humphrey, and we talk about the overall feeling of the trip. “Everybody was so positive and amped,” Dustin says. “You could tell they were all trying to do something new and push themselves.” He had a great point. While computers, digital cameras, and videos may have helped in the day-to-day advancement of each surfer, it was attitude and an open mind that mad eth trip successful.

Each surfer on the trip is in the top bracket of the world’s surfing population. At this level, admitting to flaws is difficult, especially when each guy surfs at a near flawless level. They all, however, can see the flaws in themselves and therefore are able to fix them—it’s how any athlete progresses.

As the trip came to an end, you could tell how confident the surfers were with their performances. They had seen the proof and were visibly excited. “It’s great to know what photos and video look like before the trip is even over,” mentioned C.J. “I love the

fact that you can actually visualize what the trip as a whole turned out like. Before you

had to just wait for the magazine to come out. Now, you can kind of see what you’re lacking photo-wise and try to get those shots you need.” A mix of nerves and excitement ran through the minds of the media on the trip.

The risk of lost photo files, corrupted data, and crashing hard drives was there, but as you can plainly see, the goods were delivered safe and sound to mission control. Welcome to

the future.

Special thanks to Captain Oliver for his expert navigation and staunch bravery in the face of danger (drunken guests and tidal waves). Even though he should’ve given me

my anchor tattoo with a fishing hook that one night.

Dane Reynolds sidebar interview TransWorld SURF: How does watching the footage after you surf help you?

Dane: Sometimes after you watch yourself surf on video, you have to reassess your surfing.

So you make changes after you see what you’re doing out there.

Oh yeah. A lot of times you feel like you’re surfing good, but you’re being a kook. I

remember being out there a few times waiting for sets and thinking they would be the good ones for video or photos. Then we’d watch the footage and see Andy catching about twenty more waves than everyone else, because he was taking off on midsized waves, and they would look way better than the ones I was getting. After seereplay of himself slipping off the front of a tailslide, “I need to ride a shorter board tomorrow.”

Bettering yourself can be as easy as choosing a different board, as Andy demonstrates the next day at the same break. He rides a board two inches shorter with a bit more foam in the tail and outperforms himself twofold.C.J. is in the same boat as Andy. He’s coming off a WCT win and as confident as ever. He’s at Andy’s heels on the ratings, but on the boat he’s just taking Andy’s money

in heated poker games. C.J. switches up his fins a few times and tunes his airs throughout the trip. Like a jukebox, I ask C.J. to try a few different grabs. “C.J., you should do that same air, but with no grab next time,” I mention, like I’m requesting a song.

“All right,” C.J. smiles, and voila—his next wave ends up as a spread in the magazine, a picture-perfect frontside banger, no grab, and perfect style.

As the sixth day rolls around, Shane’s list is shorter. The elusive one-handed Superman hasn’t been nailed, but a wide array of the most stylish and powerful gashes, tweaked airs, and body-breaking carves make the list obsolete. Shane is happy with what he got during this quick trip to Indo. He sits on the deck with a Bintang, and we talk about video parts. “Now that I’m off the tour, video parts are really important to me, he says between sips of his Indonesian beer. “They always have been, but for Campaign 2, I want the best part I’ve ever had.” From what I’ve seen on this trip, that’s very possible.

The trip is winding down, and the boards are being packed. I sit down with Dustin Humphrey, and we talk about the overall feeling of the trip. “Everybody was so positive and amped,” Dustin says. “You could tell they were all trying to do something new and push themselves.” He had a great point. While computers, digital cameras, and videos may have helped in the day-to-day advancement of each surfer, it was attitude and an open mind that mad eth trip successful.

Each surfer on the trip is in the top bracket of the world’s surfing population. At this level, admitting to flaws is difficult, especially when each guy surfs at a near flawless level. They all, however, can see the flaws in themselves and therefore are able to fix them—it’s how any athlete progresses.

As the trip came to an end, you could tell how confident the surfers were with their performances. They had seen the proof and were visibly excited. “It’s great to know what photos and video look like before the trip is even over,” mentioned C.J. “I love the

fact that you can actually visualize what the trip as a whole turned out like. Before you

had to just wait for the magazine to come out. Now, you can kind of see what you’re lacking photo-wise and try to get those shots you need.” A mix of nerves and excitement ran through the minds of the media on the trip.

The risk of lost photo files, corrupted data, and crashing hard drives was there, but as you can plainly see, the goods were delivered safe and sound to mission control. Welcome to

the future.

Special thanks to Captain Oliver for his expert navigation and staunch bravery in the face of danger (drunken guests and tidal waves). Even though he should’ve given me

my anchor tattoo with a fishing hook that one night.

Dane Reynolds sidebar interview TransWorld SURF: How does watching the footage after you surf help you?

Dane: Sometimes after you watch yourself surf on video, you have to reassess your surfing.

So you make changes after you see what you’re doing out there.

Oh yeah. A lot of times you feel like you’re surfing good, but you’re being a kook. I

remember being out there a few times waiting for sets and thinking they would be the good ones for video or photos. Then we’d watch the footage and see Andy catching about twenty more waves than everyone else, because he was taking off on midsized waves, and they would look way better than the ones I was getting. After seeing that a few times, I definitely followed his lead and caught More waves.

What do you think about the introduction of digital photography?

Being able to see the photos after the session helps so much. It’s a way better system. It

helped me so much on the trip to be able to see how the airs and turns looked.

1. C.J. reaches for the future of surfing while paying homage to skateboarding’s past. Lien

air above the watchful eye of one of the five media personnel. Photo: Bielmann

2. Shane Dorian pushes the limits of a backside snap and in the process helps irrigate half

of the plant life on the island behind him. Style in the pocket is as futuristic as it gets.

Photo: DHump

3. After reviewing the footage, Dane headed back into the lineup with a new perspective and some new ideas. The result was a perfectly executed backside flip with a revert out.

Photo: Bielmann

4. Varials have been both an accepted and unaccepted part of radical surfing for better part of the last decade. Hopefully, with the new era of open-minded thought, these tricks will make their way into every pro’s repertoire. For now, only a few will be making this

type of trick regularly—Dane will be one of them. Photo: Bielmann

5. Andy’s as unpredictable as a tornado. The edges of his board are in a constant battle

with physics. His sheer power and execution can be seen in this sequence as he turns a

frontside gaff into something wicked. Photo: Bielmann

6. Subtle weight changes and the use of some outrageous amount of speed make this lipslide look like such a burner. In the future, jet engines may be used to help this kind of surfing attainable to mortals. For know, just leave it to Andy. Photo: DHump

7. Shane could be called a veteran in the surfing world. He has led and continues to lead the progression of the sport. He seems to add a few feet to his airs with every year of his life. Photo: Bielmann

8. Entertainment center. Photo: DHump

9. The editing bay on the water. Waves and sessions are captured, edited, and previewed within minutes of their conception. Photo: DHump

10. A new standard in surf travel? Photo: Bielmann

11.This is not a tow-at! I repeat this is not a tow-at. New surfboard foils and a professional understanding of body movement result in the unthinkable. Andy, high- speed blast. Photo: Bielmann

12. Dane Reynolds, The best freesurfer in the world. Photo: DHump

13. C.J. answers the writer’s request for a frontside air with no grab. Photo: Bielmann

14. Most up-and-coming amateur surfers can do frontside 360 airs these days. To up the ante on a progressive army of upstarts is a challenge. Here, Dane answers with a front-

three that rivals any we’ve ever seen. Photo: Bielmann

Callouts

The surfers critique each shift in weight, every arm movement, and look to improve every aspect of their surfing.

You can see from the look on his face that he’s working out some equation in his head about what to do to make the flip.

Fun is not being replaced by fanatical self-observation.

He’s a scientist studying the kinesiology of his own surfing.

seeing that a few times, I definitely followed his lead and caught More waves.

What do you think about the introduction of digital photography?

Being able to see the photos after the session helps so much. It’s a way better system. It

helped me so much on the trip to be able to see how the airs and turns looked.

1. C.J. reaches for the future of surfing while paying homage to skateboarding’s past. Lien

air above the watchful eye of one of the five media personnel. Photo: Bielmann

2. Shane Dorian pushes the limits of a backside snap and in the process helps irrigate half

of the plant life on the island behind him. Style in the pocket is as futuristic as it gets.

Photo: DHump

3. After reviewing the footage, Dane headed back into the lineup with a new perspectivve and some new ideas. The result was a perfectly executed backside flip with a revert out.

Photo: Bielmann

4. Varials have been both an accepted and unaccepted part of radical surfing for better part of the last decade. Hopefully, with the new era of open-minded thought, these tricks will make their way into every pro’s repertoire. For now, only a few will be making this

type of trick regularly—Dane will be one of them. Photo: Bielmann

5. Andy’s as unpredictable as a tornado. The edges of his board are in a constant battle

with physics. His sheer power and execution can be seen in this sequence as he turns a

frontside gaff into something wicked. Photo: Bielmann

6. Subtle weight changes and the use of some outrageous amount of speed make this lipslide look like such a burner. In the future, jet engines may be used to help this kind of surfing attainable to mortals. For know, just leave it to Andy. Photo: DHump

7. Shane could be called a veteran in the surfing world. He has led and continues to lead the progression of the sport. He seems to add a few feet to his airs with every year of his life. Photo: Bielmann

8. Entertainment center. Photo: DHump

9. The editing bay on the water. Waves and sessions are captured, edited, and previewed within minutes of their conception. Photo: DHump

10. A new standard in surf travel? Photo: Bielmann

11.This is not a tow-at! I repeat this is not a tow-at. New surfboard foils and a professional understanding of body movement result in the unthinkable. Andy, high- speed blast. Photo: Bielmann

12. Dane Reynolds, The best freesurfer in the world. Photo: DHump

13. C.J. answers the writer’s request for a frontside air with no grab. Photo: Bielmann

14. Most up-and-coming amateur surfers can do frontside 360 airs these days. To up the ante on a progressive army of upstarts is a challenge. Here, Dane answers with a front-

three that rivals any we’ve ever seen. Photo: Bielmann

Callouts

The surfers critique each shift in weight, every arm movement, and look to improve every aspect of their surfing.

You can see from the look on his face that he’s working out some equation in his head about what to do to make the flip.

Fun is not being replaced by fanatical self-observation.

He’s a scientist studying the kinesiology of his own surfing.