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Is Dane Reynolds The Next Martin Potter?

dane reynoldsWhile Luke Munro, Dane Reynolds, and Damien Hobgood were laying it down at Duranbah during the 15th heat of the 1st round at the Quiksilver Pro, Tom Carroll and Kelly Slater joined Todd Kline and were on the call at the announcers booth over at Snapper Rocks.

I wrote the other day about how intriguing it was to listen to Carroll and Slater and the unique perspective that two legends with a combined 10 world championships between them brought to the webcast. Given the fact that Slater is still active (for now anyway) on the tour it was interesting to hear his thoughts on this years ‘CT. What struck me the most, however, was a question he raised as the conversation became more directed to Dane Reynolds and his potential as a pro-surfer.

Carroll and Kline were calling the current wave when out of nowhere Slater let loose the question, “Is Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter?” Kline seemed fairly taken back by the question and somewhat surprised, even asking if that was one of the questions that had been submitted by online viewers for the booth to answer. It wasn’t. Slater threw that question out there to the universe and seemed genuinely interested in finding out the answer. He isn’t the only one either.

dane reynoldsIs Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter? Growing up my two favorite surfers were my father and Martin Potter. Aside from being the first person to put me on a board (Fact:coming in slightly behind giving birth, that is second on the list of greatest things a parent can do for their child), my dad could really charge. And Potter, he was to my gromhood what I suspect Jordy Smith and Dane are to most of surfings newest generation. He was ‘the next big thing’ in surfing. He was the surfer who many in the era of A.P.E. gloves and “North Shore” wanted to surf like. In fact, the 8-time world champ himself even patterned his style after Potter’s, plastering his walls with shots of Potter putting his trademark green-and-yellow explosion boards in positions that no one had ever seen before. That is part of what makes Slaters putting this question out into the universe all the more interesting.

The line on Potter as he made his way up the ranks is the same one that Dane is facing today. Potter was explosive, innovative, and unleashed on waves in ways that were never before imagined, much like the way that Reynolds is currently surfing. With the intense 25-stop tours that were held in those days, Potters style simply wasn’t conducive to winning a world-title. It was renowned conservatives and contest machines like Damien Hardman and Barton Lynch that persevered throughout the tour and stayed consistent enough to win it all. Once Potter admittedly decided to rein in his aggressive, all-out style, he blew away the field in the ‘89 season in a way like no one else had before.

dane reynoldsHere we are at the beginning of the 2008 ASP Tour and the world of surfing is watching closely, waiting to find out. Will Dane Reynolds be willing to rein it in enough to produce the consistent results needed to win it all? Slater said himself that “Dane surfing at 70% is better than most greats surfing at 100%.”

Facing top contest machines like Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, and the fellow rookie Smith, that may be the only way Reynolds will ever finish the year on top. It all comes down to where winning a world championship falls on Dane’s list of priorities and right now, it seems that Dane himself isn’t even sure where that is. When asked about Smith and his future on the ‘CT, Dane said…

He lives to win heats and he loves winning, and I just know that he’s going onto be world champion, and that’s not where I’m headed. I don’t like to be compared to him, because I feel like I’m being put on this big disappointing sort of thing where I’m going to let people down, but I’m just not headed there.

With this only being Dane’s inaugural year as a full-timer on the tour, it’s still too early to tell what direction he’s headed. One thing is certain, he is an absolutely phenomenal surfing talent and whether he decides to be a ‘tour-surfer’ or not he will undoubtedly have as big an influence on what goes on in the water as any we’ve ever seen. He is that good and beyond. Will winning championships become imperative enough to surf at 70% as ‘The King’ suggested? Only time will tell, but I have a feeling it will. Right now, Dane is at the very beginning of a long career in surfing. And years from now, after it’s all said and done, Slater, myself, and the rest of the surfing community will have their answer to the question, “Is Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter?”

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Posted by Shaun on Monday, February 25th, 2008 in Surfing.


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