This Is Home, Part 2: Dane Reynolds

SURFING Magazine

A local look into the influence between home and hero.

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Photo: Morgan Maassen


Ventura, CA

Keith Malloy, 41: Patagonia’s surf ambassador. Former World Championship Tour competitor. Landed a combined seven Surfer and SURFING covers.
Adam Virs, 36: Ventura legend. Former NSSA and WQS standout. Inspiration to two generations of Ventura’s youth.
Dan Malloy, 37: Former Taylor Steele movie star. Star of the Momentum generation. Dane Reynolds’ favorite surfer.


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Photo: Morgan Maassen
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Photos: Morgan Maassen



Keith Malloy: As far as Ventura goes, it’s not your typical Southern California town. Not everyone has smiles and slaps fives with their coffees in the morning or throws shakas. It’s a bit of a hard-nosed town; it’s grittier. Up here you get a little bit of the, “Oh it’s the f–king pro guy or something” vibe. You almost have a bit of a guilt trip for being able to go around the world and be a pro surfer while your friends are digging ditches or working construction. That kind of thing. Since there is a little bit of guilt for being so lucky and being able to do what you do, I think that keeps people like Dane humble and grounded.
Adam Virs: Ventura’s already been known for holding professional surfers back. We were always the hidden little gem in Southern California. Like, Ventura was the tiny little taco stand that you’d just pass by. But now we’re like Taco Bell, and there is a full line out the door, so locals can be a little put-off by that. Ventura supports Dane, though, there’s no denying that, even if we don’t like the attention it brings.
Dan Malloy: It kind of depends on how you look at it. There is a really big shift from the Southern California mentality to the Oxnard and Ventura one. Being a professional surfer from this area is not looked at necessarily as a cool thing. You look at the best surfers from the area — Curren, Bobby Martinez, Dane — and I feel like everybody that comes out of there has a little interesting chip on their shoulder. But not in a negative way, just a little bit of a different take on what’s going on, and that has to do with this area.

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Photo: Corey Wilson
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Photo: Seth De Roulet
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Photos: Seth De Roulet


Photo: Jeremiah Klein


Adam Virs: Dane’s impacted every single kid that’s from Ventura 100 percent, and really, every kid up and down the coast of California. For being a homegrown guy, all the kids look up to him. Every time I hear anything that has to do with “Who’s your favorite surfer” it’s always Dane.
Dan Malloy: The way I see it is Dane grew up surfing super average waves. Ventura gets good, but most of the time it’s kind of whatever. The place Emma Wood that he surfs a lot is a really average wave [laughs]. So to surf waves like that and to get so good and at such a gnarly level makes a lot of the kids think that it’s possible to be one of the best surfers in the world coming from a place where the waves are just decent. You’re like, OK, well, all the reasons I thought I couldn’t do this that or the other thing, Dane’s out there doing it all, so I better figure it out.
Keith Malloy: For a stretch there Dane was pretty much the No.1 guy to watch and it was crazy to see, like, the best surfer in the world surf Emma Wood everyday. For these kids to go down, or any of us, and see Dane out there, just doing maneuvers that pretty much no one else in the world can do — was pretty inspiring to say the least.

Ventura Lineup
Ventura, a backyard that most people can only dream of. Photo: William Sharp



Adam Virs: Ya know, it is what it is. I can turn into one of those guys that hates the added publicity Ventura gets, and if I’m going to be completely honest, everybody hates it. It sucks. It’s such a headache when the spots get blown out, because we’ve always been missed throughout the media. It’s a hard thing with localism now, too. You flex at some kid, the next thing you know you’re getting sued…
Dan Malloy: One or two photos can change your spot forever and I think that’s what photographers sometimes forget and don’t realize. Just a couple photos sometimes can do the trick. Emma Wood, however, there’s more groms out there and more people shooting and that’s fun — it’s a perfect little wave for it. It’s not like some amazing A+ wave that’s being changed by the crowd. There’re a few more people out there but it’s all these psyched groms, so it’s fun.
Keith Malloy: I’m sure there’s a few eggy locals that have been bummed on that stuff. It’s a fine line because locals have a right to be eggy when the circus comes into town. There are for sure a few locals that don’t ever want to have their breaks shot. It’s tough though because Dane grew up in Ventura and has surfed there almost every day of his life. He made a living out of surfing and spent more time in the ocean than anybody so he should never get hassled, but at the same time no one wants their home break to turn into a circus.


Dane Reynolds
Photo: William Sharp
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Photos: William Sharp


Keith Malloy: It’s funny, because when he was little I did not see the potential. He was kind of surfing like the rest of the groms. But the one thing I noticed about him is that I would literally go surf and then go eat lunch and come back three hours later and he would still be in the water. It was crazy. The kid f–king did not get out of the water. That was the one thing I noticed about him. He would surf all goddamn day. [laughs]
Dan Malloy: In my opinion Dane has been a really good surfer ever since he was young, but he wasn’t the next Kelly Slater. But then he became one of the best free surfers ever, and to me that’s really interesting because from when he was a grommet, I really didn’t see it coming, ya know? I was actually gone for four months one time, and when I came back he was just getting better and better and better. It wasn’t like “Oh, he has the gift,” it was more like he put the time in and wanted it bad enough. And so because of that, his surfing just got better with every session.
Adam Virs: I have a million Dane stories but I think my favorite one is him telling me he’s having a kid. He told me on Halloween night. I’ve always told him, “Once you have a kid, you’ll see,” and I can’t wait to see this new chapter in his life. I just have a good feeling about this and I’m so happy for him. I don’t wanna say oh, he’s gonna jump back on tour now or do this or that, but…with Dane, you never know, and I think we’ll be surprised in the near future.


Click here to see Thia Is Home, Part 1: Dusty Payne


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Dane Reynolds
Photo: William Sharp