Frontside grab out of nowhere. Dane Reynolds, La Sud, September 2012.
Imagine this: You're on holiday in South West France in late September, probably camping out of the back of a van or car in the pine forests with some friends and wringing the last joys out of summer before returning to University perhaps. You're from somewhere in Europe, probably not near to a wave-blessed coastline. You've surfed a bit in summer's past and really enjoyed it, but you've not been able to put the hours in required to get particularly good. You love it though and you'll get in the sea any chance you get, even if the conditions aren't A+, because in a few week's time you'll be back to your daily grind.
You pull up in Hossegor late one afternoon. It's grey, stormy and the waves are a junky mess, but there's lines of whitewater to ride. You suit up and walk down the beach, south of the square towards the rock groyne at Le Sud. There're a couple of other surfers out, and a huddle of people and photographers a little further south, so you decide to surf away from them.
At waist depth the longshore current running south is strong, and after a couple of waves you've drifted south, past the little rock groyne. The waves are awful. Onshore and as messy as they come.
Some guy in a black wetsuit, on a white board, takes off and races towards you. He hits a dumping section of lip and stomps an air reverse right in front of you; a full 180 degree rotation on a wave that plenty of surfers would have been unable to even get to their feet and go straight on, and he rides out of it.
Don't be disheartened, it's just Dane doing what he does.
This shot encompasses almost the full range of the surfing ability spectrum.
You'd be forgiven for catching a wave in and hanging up your wetsuit for good. You've just had one of the best surfers on the planet show you just how far you've got to go in this whole pursuit. Or you could scoop your jaw up, appreciate what just went down right in front of your face, and decide to practise until you can do that to some unsuspecting learner in the whitewater too. Hopefully it'd be the second of those options.
Dane and Spain