Dane Reynolds is enigmatic and hard to track, but no one knows the ins and outs of the man’s daily life better than Jason “Mini” Blanchard, who follows Dane’s every move with a video camera for MarineLayerProductions.com, one of the most popular surf blogs on the web. ESPN Surfing caught up with Mini, here’s what he had to say:
How did you end up filming Dane?
I had already been filming before Dane came around. Then he came around and changed everything. No one really saw it early on. A lot of people thought it was crazy that I wanted to shoot this kid every day.
When did you first meet him?
I guess just at Emma Wood (North of Ventura). I just started filming him. I guess I just saw something in Dane that others didn’t and we formed a relationship pretty quick.
I think he knew the impact that video was going to have in five to 10 years from when he became a pro. He saw the future a lot clearer than I did. If my influence and filming helped in any way, I’m stoked to be a part of that.
When did Dane really get involved with the editing process?
I guess in the past year we’ve really sat down together. It’s good to have a second pair of eyes in there. It is so refreshing. You don’t want to show your work to just anybody before it’s out there anyway. If it’s Dane he’s gonna put his stamp on it.
How does Quiksilver handle Dane’s unique career path? And things like not having ads on Marinelayer?
Quiksilver has been more than cool with Dane and what he wants to do. There may not be any banner ads but you look at the clips and in every clip there’s a Quiksilver logo on his board. There’s definitely an understanding there.
He’s the only one in the surf world that can pull that off. He does have that pull with the world. I think it’s great Quiksilver has given him that flexibility and responsibility.
What’s it like being in total creative control?
I guess just the freedom is the best thing about it. A lot of times, I’d just have to turn my footage in and someone else would edit it.
We’re trying to have as much fun as we can with it all. Our No. 1 goal is to make people laugh. I think a lot of our clips are funny. We’re not trying to make statements either. I’m following the lead singer into the sunset. Dane is the lead singer in the surfing world right now.
Do you still get to surf? How is it watching Dane surf perfect waves?
The first couple years it literally messed me up in the head, knowing I missed those types of waves. When it’s pumping I’d rather video now. I feel weird when I’m surfing and Dane is too. I could miss something great. It’s just that special.
Do you surf or boogie board?
I’m still boogin’. I love going on trips with surfers. The booger jokes come right away. I love that. I’m not ashamed of being a sponger.
Is this a full-time thing?
It was a big decision. I really wanted to tackle it full on though and really make a career out of it. It’s definitely full time. Someone of that caliber deserves that. I’m shooting the best surfer in the world and that’s good enough for me.
What kind of trips have you been on lately?
I was on second leg of the Japan trip where the waves got really good. I was shooting for Kai Neville that trip. He hired MarineLayer to film for him. We are a production company. I really wish that trip was for Marinelayer, to be honest. It’s kind of killing me.
That’s around the time John (Florence) was declared the best surfer in the world. I think he’s the second best. Dane is the best, but I’m biased. John John is right there.
How long do you think the buzz from Dane’s quitting the world tour will keep up?
I don’t know. I’m sure he’ll snag some wild-cards and get his little taste with the occasional webcast. I think it’s interesting how it will all play out. Dane’s got a lot of pull. There’s a place for the contest junkie and there’s a place for the rebel. I’m not saying Dane’s a rebel but he’s done some rebellious things, which is so refreshing.
I had a long chat with a well-known surf coach this morning. We had a long talk about Dane quitting the tour and from a coaches perspective he’s devastated. He said it’s almost a waste. I was like, really? A lot of people just see it as the end. “No more contests? That’s it then.” That’s where MarineLayer comes in. It’s the rebel tour.