Torqued In Torquay

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After Dane Reynolds was eliminated from the Rip Curl Pro in Round 1, the contest contest just won't be the same without him.

The other day I put up a short post regarding Dane Reynolds. Basically all I'd done was find a sweet, little video clip of the kid and proclaim I didn't know what else to say about him. Well, now with Round 1 of the boys and girls in the books down at Bells, I do have something to say about Dane.

This year the Rip Curl Pro is utilizing a slightly different format—one that seeds the top 16 surfers from last year directly into Round 2, while everybody else faces single-elimination in Round 1. Well, sadly, our boy from Ventura is now out of the contest almost before it began. After being upset by wildcard Owen Wright earlier in the week Dane's already packed his bags and is heading for home.

And while this news is a couple days old, I've been ruminating on what it means for the World Tour. My take is that there aren't very many surfers on tour that people actually get excited to watch. I'm sorry, but people don't flock to the waterline for Jihad Khoder or Dayyan Neve or Greg Emsile. Besides Kelly, and maybe Mick, Parko and Taj, Dane consistently attracts the largest crowds, which one would assume means he elevates the overall interest of the Tour. But now that he's out, some folks (myself included) won't have nearly the same level of interest. All you have to do is look at his showing on the Gold Coast to see how fired up people are to watch him.

To this point, look at golf as an example. Say Tiger Woods bombs during his first round of the Masters tomorrow, it's not like it's the last chance to see Tiger play at Augusta. I can guarantee you people don't give two shits about how Stewart Appleby or K.J. Choi play, but Tiger, now there's somebody worth watching...especially after that monster, come-from-behind win he had a couple weeks ago. So the more opportunities people have to see Tiger play the more apt they are to tune in for the rest of the Masters. Get where I'm going with this?

I understand the mindset and reasoning behind the Rip Curl Pro running this new format—it shaves a day of competition from the waiting period and allows organizers to take advantage of the best possible conditions. That said, I'd still rather watch Dane shred the crap out of marginal slop than endure a 30-minute face-off between Ace Buchan and Dean Morrison. Sorry guys, no offense, it's just that if I'm going to spend time watching the World Tour I want to see the best surfers in world, and even Kelly agrees that Dane's ranks right up there.

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