Dane Reynolds’ Thoroughly Modern Aerial 360
Aerial 360’s are so this year. Seriously, all of us here in the office are doing them all the time. Nowadays, if you want to be taken seriously as an all-round ripper, towing into 100ft Belharra and backdooring triple overhead tube sections at Mundaka switch still aren’t enough to really cut it with the best – you need to have a pretty sharp aerial attack too.
1. The higher the air, the more impressive the air, and thus the more likely you are to score covers, win airshows, even ASP heats these days. Of course, being one of the best freesurfers on the planet doesn’t hurt in terms of confidence when coming into this kind of move. With his nose elevated his board is still on the rise, Dane’s rotation has commenced. He’s got his left arm extended to act as a counter balance and he’ll be spinning in that direction – around his left shoulder.
2-3. These sequences are shot at eight frames per second, so bear in mind all this is happening pretty quickly. Dane grabs his rail for stability, still with his left arm outstretched as a counter balance. You can just see a surfer in the line-up transfixed on Dane’s move, he’s got the right idea. When Dane Reynolds is in the water flaring up, you better stop what you’re doing and pay attention, punk. As Dane spins through the apex of his air, he’s travelling not only across the section but also forwards, to be sure his landing will end up in the right spot, and not somewhere out the back of the wave. Look how high his tail is flying through the air here, whilst his body remains composed, in control, board in close.
4. Gravity is trying to bring Dane back down to sea level. This is the stage where things can often go wrong, and as a result also the stage where you’ll see most boards kicked away from the surfer in an aborted attempt, but not so for Dane. He’s got his eyes on the landing, and continues on with his trajectory.
5. Dane’s nose makes contact on the wave. So far he’s spun just over 270 degrees, and he ain’t done yet. Rather than slap down on the flats in front of the wave (a great way to break your board and/or ankles), he’s wisely opted for a softer, cushioned landing just on top of the whitewater. Dane knows that all the while his nose is being caught on top of the whitewater he can rotate the still-airborne tail half of his board around him.
6. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say at this stage he looks like a beginner goofyfoot doing a backhand floater (in fact, that does look a bit like me). Whilst most of his downward momentum is now spent on top of the whitewater, Dane’s fins aren’t engaged so he’s still free to continue rotating.
7-8. Timing this spin out of the landing isn’t as easy as Dane makes it look. Remember that this whitewater offramp isn’t static, it’s rolling ever shoreward. Dane uses that momentum to help him get his board back around the right way and finish the job.
9. Stand up and be counted. You’ve made it, and so has Dane. If you want you can fire off some double finger pistols towards a panel of imaginary judges up the beach, or alternatively, style out of it with a, ‘I’ve (yawn), landed another one, gosh this is getting tediously simple…’ slouch under the soup.