Opinions, Surf cultureThe Creative Few 

-Words by Mat Arney, images by Mat Arney

Dane Reynolds proving that the unsurfable can be so much more.

Whilst it is straight-up natural ability that separates most of us from great surfers, it is two things – style and creativity – that separate great surfers from the truly compelling few who grab our attention and don’t ever let go.

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
Charles Mingus, Jazz Bassist, 1977

Whenever any of us take off on a wave, get to our feet and ride it toward shore, we are doing something incredibly complicated; we are balancing on an unstable object that is being carried along on an independently moving surface gravity wave – an energy transmission manifest as a moving lump of water. As we improve and continue to challenge ourselves, the waves that we tackle and the manoeuvres that we attempt on them increase the level of difficulty inherent in the act. But there are some surfers, those blessed few, who seem to make the impossible not only possible, but they make it look easy. This is the point at which style and creativity converge and become more than the sum of their parts, and it is these moments that sell a thousand pairs of boardshorts. It is the surfers who not only ride a wave with style to burn, looking for all intents and purposes as though they could get make it through a draining barrel with their eyes closed, but who choose lines that defy what we think is possible and ride out of mind-bending airs who leave an indelible impression upon us, and the pursuit of surfing. They are creative by definition, rather than intent, making something out of nothing and turning that something into something spellbinding.