By Nathan Myers
Action photos by Duncan Macfarlane
It's 12:17 am PST, and 17-year-old South Carolina surfer Cam Richards just lost the heat of his life to Dane Reynolds. Online.
Just 100 votes separated Dane and Cam in a surging online blitz that saw more than 7,000 votes on each side (by comparison, the other heats had about 1,500).
Cam Richards vs. Dane Reynolds. Who would have predicted such a mighty battle? And if that wasn't weird enough, suddenly Jamie Foxx and Jaden Smith were getting involved with their #ivotedforcamdidyou hashtags. And then Brody Jenner and Kelly Slater were shouting out Dane Reynolds. And then EVERYBODY jumped in with posters and jokes and mockery and slander and all that other online goodness…
But the weirdest part wasn't the celebrities and slander, but the fact Dane Reynolds himself got involved. The notoriously low-profile social networker started the day with less than 100 Instagram followers (@sealtooth) and by midnight had a cool 9,000. (A number sure to climb in days to follow.)
If nothing else, we owe Cam for that much. And Dane, welcome to the wonderfully twisted, awkward, anti-social world of social netwerking – we've been saving a seat for you, right here between Everyone and Everyonefuckingelse.
Poor Cam Richards is going to have a hell of a social networking hangover. And the rest of us — with the possible exception of Jamie Foxx, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Playboy's Ms. October — are all wondering, who the hell is Cam Richards?
SURFING: What the hell was that all about? Are you hanging with Jaden Smith this very moment? Will you tell him what up for me?
CAM RICHARDS: I honestly don't know. I guess they're all just fans. I do know that if it wasn't for Alex Midler, Jared Muscat, my brothers Cole and Kyle Heidt, none of this would have happened. I know they got some Playboy girls to do it. And pro skaters. Actually, don't mention anyone 'cause there are just way too many people to thank, I don't want to bum anyone out.
Now that it's over, how are you feeling?
I've never had so many mixed emotions in one day. Going from crying to happiness. Yelling. Being mad. Then happy again. It was non stop. Either way, it was the most amazing day of my life. I never knew I had so many supporters.
Did it feel like you were in some sort of weird heat with Dane?
Dane is my favorite surfer. So, of course it was intense.
Maybe I've been living in the jungle for the last few years, but can you introduce me to yourself?
I'm 17, from Garden City, South Carolina, but I live in San Clemente now. I surf for Billabong, Arnette, FCS, Gorilla Grip, Watermans and WIW surfboards. I won NSSA Nationals in 2010, when I was 15. What else?
[Read more about Cam in the September Issue of SURFING's "Threat" column.]
You think social media is important part of being a pro surfer in this day and age?
Social media is huge. You have to be able to market yourself.
Were there some comments online that hurt?
Well, the fact that I have haters just shows me that more people know about me, so I don't pay much attention. But man, sometimes I want to stick up for myself, but it's never worth it.
You gonna vote for Dane in the final?
I'm gonna vote for whoever has the best clips. That's the point of the contest. I mean, yeah, I'd rather see Dane than Luke, cause it will be more exciting and cause Luke gave Dane a shout out. Kinda low.
Okay, so how about you? Were your clips better than Dane's?
I believe that my clips were better because of what everyone told me. I mean, we have all seen better clips of Dane so, I don’t know, it was really close.
So, what's next for Cam Richards?
No idea. I'm going home for a bit, then Virginia Beach for the Juniors and the WQS. I'm really trying to qualify for the World Juniors, so Virginia is important for me. Then I wanna go on a trip and film and show everyone what I got.
[Watch the final round of voting on www.thehurleypro.com today…and make sure you vote for Cam. Or Dane. Or Luke. Or whoever has the best clips. The winner gets a wild card into the Hurley Pro at Trestles. But you knew that already.]