STOLEN FROM A CONVERSATION WITH DANE AND OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT STAB MAGAZINE.
There used to be a sanctioned list of words that surf writers had to use when describing certain surfers.
For example, Steph’s word was “happy.” Craig’s was “stylish.” Andy’s was “raw.” If my memory serves me well, Dane Reynolds’ word was “unpredictable.” But if the list still existed today, it would be “influential.”
Dane has been the force behind best-selling board models, created two successful surf media platforms, starred in incredible surf films, made incredible surf films on his friends, arguably changed the conversation around mental health in surfing, and has spent the last few years running — as in, actually running — a clothing brand.
I was given the opportunity to interview Dane in conjunction with the release of Former’s new surf film, System Is Yours. You can read that chat below.
STAB: You want to start by telling us a bit about the new Former video, System Is Yours?
DR: Yeah, it’s just a surf video, nothing too complicated. Hopefully everyone enjoys the surfing and the music and gets inspired to go surf. We were pretty limited in the past two years with travel being shut down, so it’s just from a couple short trips. I didn’t want any California footage in it because it’s not only played out, but also really difficult to film in really crowded conditions. So I’m leaving that to my Chapter 11 stuff, where it’s more about the environment and story. I put my best surfing in this one.
STAB: How was the Costa Rica trip you did with Droid and Kaito? That’s a fascinating mix of people.
DR: That trip was hilarious and I hope that’s how it’s conveyed in the film. I just wanted to link everyone up and do a quick surf trip. We only had three days and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We had a free place to stay and we got down there and we couldn’t get the power on. And everyone was just like, “Why are you guys here now? It was pumping last week.”
The flat tire clip that kicks off the section was so funny. It was on a Sunday afternoon and we were leaving at 4:00 AM the next day. Nobody works on a Sunday afternoon there. So we were driving all through town and people were spilling out of the local market drinking beers. The bumper was dragging under the car and we had a flat tire, and we were just driving back and forth in front of this group of people drinking beers and they’re all cheering. It was such a shit show, but so funny. We got decent enough waves and I hope the vibe comes through because it was just super fun getting everyone together after not being able to for a while.
STAB: The other part with Craig and Benny is great. It seems like Craig is getting better and better in psycho waves. Having known him for so long, what’s your perspective on that?
DR: Craig’s funny. He’s like the most low-key self-deprecating charger ever. I mean, he would never say that he seeks that type of waves or wants them. He just hangs with people who do. So then he always finds himself in positions where… I mean, if you end up on the beach on a day like that, are you just not going to paddle out? So he finds himself in a precarious position, with heavy waves in front of him, and he has to go and try it. But yeah, he’ll say that he hates big waves, hates sketchy waves, hates it all. Then you see him paddling into the most hectic unmakeable backwashy slab ever.
STAB: Maybe it helps take the pressure off in a weird way, too.
DR: Yeah. I mean, that’s probably why I would always say I hated contests and didn’t care because suddenly when you lose, it’s not such a letdown or whatever.
STAB: When I watch your films — especially the Chapter 11 stuff — there’s such a feeling to it. It really conveys the culture in relation to the environment. Where you live, do you get the sense that the culture in the water is changing?
DR: I think it’s constantly changing for sure. But I find that there’s definitely less rules, less hierarchy. There’s a lot more surfers and less people still trying to teach or enforce these rules. As far as professional surfing goes, how you get recognition has changed insanely. There used to be a whole team of people that were there to portray you and promote you, with mags and stuff. And in turn, your sponsors were happy. That’s gone. Everybody has to be self-promotional, which kinda felt distasteful when I was growing up.
Now it’s like social media statistics is how your value is quantified to sponsors. There’s just a lot less sponsorship in general.
STAB: Let’s talk about Former. Do you have a title there, or a list of responsibilities?
DR: Oh man. I guess I’m just the owner but I still deal with daily operations and decisions on creative stuff these days. We have meetings every two weeks and go over what’s happening and delegate who’s doing what. I’ve been doing a lot of marketing videos and surf videos, that’s been my focus lately.
STAB: When it comes to running a business, is there anything surprising that you’ve been sucked into and started to enjoy?
DR: It’s been a huge learning experience. I didn’t think of it as starting a business when we launched. I was so much more about the cultural side. It’s been fascinating learning how to build a business and I guess that’s been surprising. I did an interview when I was a kid and they asked what my dad did and I said ‘He’s just a businessman’ or something. And he was offended by that. It’s insane how much goes into building a business. I’ve gotten pretty into it.
STAB: Where have you found the most impactful learnings?
DR: I’ve read some books, but experience has been the biggest thing. I was pretty hands off in the first two years, because we hired a bunch of people to run it. Then that hit a dead end and I was too stubborn to give it up. We were basically out of business because we couldn’t pay our employees anymore. That’s when I moved it into my garage and started doing daily operations like packing, shipping, and talking to customers. I really started to see how much product comes in and what goes out. It was just like “Holy shit, we have to sell this much product to be able to keep the lights on.” It’s crazy.
After doing that for 18 months, we were still touch and go with finances but we were hitting a bit of a stride. Austin wanted to take it over and he was picturing more of an event-oriented space in LA. So we rented a spot and then I remember we went to the first event and everyone was talking about COVID in China. And we were like, “What’s that?” We could not have ever pictured it impacting everything so much. We had to pivot again. We recently had some industry veterans come in to help us out and we’ve been making some good strides and opened up in Australia, which has been really cool. We just did a System is Yours tour there and the response was really good.
STAB: If you had unlimited funds, what do you think your surf team would look like? Who would you most want to sign?
DR: Ultimately, I want it to be a group of people that Craig and I back. We’ve definitely been limited financially. When I first started seeing the finances, I was like “How the fuck does RVCA send rappers out to the North Shore and pay for all these houses and rentals? How the fuck can any surf company afford to sponsor people?” It was shocking to see how much product you’d have to sell to have real budgets. But we’re coming around and the team is a conversation we’ve been having.
It’s a weird thing. It seems like surf companies invest huge into 16-year-olds with potential and then drop them in their early 20s when they’re not John John or Noa Deane. But I really want to get a young team going. Craig and I were talking about kids and he said, “I don’t even know any kids that are doing cool stuff. Fuck, I just want to put Hoyo and Occy on.” We were laughing about getting in a bidding war with Billabong over Occy. We’re like, “They probably don’t pay him that much. But if somebody came in to take him, they would have to pay him a lot. We should get into a bidding war just to get Occy more money from Billabong.”
STAB: That would be my favorite thing in the history of surfing.
DR: But really, it’s hard to say. Anybody that doesn’t use trap music or Drake on their reels on Instagram qualifies as cool in my book. I don’t really see CT guys representing Former. Even though they’re the best surfers out there, I’d rather develop a crew of surfers that ushers in a new generation of like-minded surfers that are into what Craig and I are into, which isn’t what I’m seeing on the WSL.
STAB: Yeah, the WSL and Former seem to represent two very different visions of surfing.
DR: I hope we can represent the oposite of what they’re doing.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE AT STAB >>>
STOLEN FROM A CONVERSATION WITH CRAIG & OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT WASTED TALENT
Aren’t rider owned brands a beautiful thing?
And none more so than FORMER. Created by arguably two of the world’s best surfers in Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson as well as perhaps one of the best, if not the most stylish skateboarder walking the earth, Monsieur Austyn Gillette and conceptualised by the late and utterly timeless Dylan Rieder.
We decided to jump on the phone and pick Austyn’s brain on a few things like how difficult merging surf and skate culture is? The history, the future, the fickle demographical tropes, the lack of a shoe sponsor, his favourite Lynch movies and music to ensure survival during these turbulent times.
Without further ado. Mr Austyn Gillette.
WT: Hey Austyn! For those out the loop tell us how you first met the Former gang?
AG: It was weird, we were actually looking at photos recently and laughing at how young we all looked. I guess that was 7 years ago. We met on a ‘Team Average’ trip. Craig (Anderson) & Dylan (Rieder) was on the trip too and I didn’t even know who Dane & Craig were. I didn’t know anything about surfing at all. it was just like, “oh these are the guys that are kinda like you guys but surfers”. And I’m like, “oh ok that’s cool”. There wasn’t any kind of prejudice, I mean our group of friends are pretty easy going. They seem the same. I don’t think anything’s changed. Shy. Extremely talented.
WT: And how did it blossom from there because I guess Craig being on HUF at the time kinda helped cement that bond?
AG: Yeah Dylan & I were already on and Dylan was already into surfing. He was like, “I wanna get Craig on, that’d be great”. At that point we were already kinda talking about Former and we reconnected through Campbell who does Monster Children. He sent us all an email with Craig, Dane, Dylan & I. They were all out of their Quiksilver contracts and we didn’t have a clothing deal so we kind of hashed it that way through an email where Campbell’s like ‘hey you guys should start a company’. He stepped back and we started talking.
WT: And now is it pretty much just you & Dane running things?
AG: I’ve been running most of it here in LA with my brother.
WT: Because Dane’s too busy with 3 kids I guess?
AG: Yeah and just because we’d moved it to his garage which is a master garage, a nice one but it just wasn’t going to work in the long run.
WT: And are you still living in the same place in Highland Park?
AG: No I rent that out but I live 3 blocks away from there in my friend’s backyard. I just have a tent (laughs). No it’s my friend’s cabin in her backyard. It’s small but it feels like I’m in a different country.
AG: So he came out here like a month or so ago. I think his girlfriend lives in San Francisco, she’s going to school or something out here and he just came by and was like, “hey do you guys need footage? Can I get a t-shirt or something?”. And I just gave him a bunch of clothes and said, “yeah! Give us fucking anything!”. I think it’s just that on the surf side, it’s so relaxed I don’t even know. I get how the skate side works, but I don’t know about the surf side.
WT: It’s funny, when we spoke to Dane for Volume II, he was telling us how he’s very influenced by skate videos, like Polar videos and stuff. His knowledge of skateboarding is insane.
AG: Yeah he watches it more than the rest of us.
WT: He’s the best but I feel for him because when he’s at events, you can see everyone wants their two minutes with him. It must be exhausting?
AG: Yeah that stuff’s hard. Like going out to eat with him or doing anything is kind of a ‘thing’. I feel bad for him.
WT: So how do you guys delegate stuff? Like despite you running it, the guys must also have a say?
Well Dane kinda handles all surf. He really just wants to watch the skating. He doesn’t impose his ideas. I mean we’ve asked him to do projects but he’s just so busy with the family. But it’d be cool to get his take on skateboarding. Like that’s what I was thinking for the next project. Getting Dane to produce the whole thing and we’re planning on doing a few trips. Both surf and skate and kinda having him take the wheel and see what he could create. Just because that sort of scope will get people watching. I mean I don’t wanna edit any videos. I don’t care for that. It’s always just been easier to skate. Dane excels in the editing world and in having a vision from beginning to end and tying in a concept to a video so, I’m hiring him right now. He’s now the skate editor.
WT: It’s really exciting that he’s just released Chapter 11 TV.
AG: Yeah he seems pretty excited about it too. It’s kinda for his friends up there that ride for other companies but he surfs with them everyday and so he can share his day to day. And he should have a way to do that. People want to see it and it gets him excited too!
WT: Back to the skate side. When’s Cheap Perfume coming out?
AG: The video is done actually. We’re just waiting for the world to be on the mend. I want to move with momentum of the world, rather than giving people something to watch while they’re taking a shit on the toilet. We’ve put a lot of time and hard work and I don’t want it to just fill the air on a Tuesday. It needs to have some sort of significance. It’ll come out in June or July through Thrasher.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE AT WASTED TALENT >>>
STOLEN FROM A CONVERSATION WITH CRAIG & OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT MONSTER CHILDREN
You might typically associate frontside airs and being part owner of a beer company with being a professional surfer these days—but you wouldn’t call Craig Anderson typical.
Even without seeing him surf or knowing how he unceremoniously ditched the big corporate stickers a few years back, sitting down with Craig, it’s obvious this guy is separate from the pack.
His brand, FORMER—launched with Dane Reynolds, Austyn Gillette and the late Dylan Rieder—has gained traction while epitomising what, hopefully, the future of the surf industry looks like: a bunch of mates coming together to create something cool. We checked in on him to make sure he was still doing cool shit and being the good guy everyone says he is.
MC: Alright, so we’ve been in lockdown for a couple of months. Anything new to report?
CA: It’s been nice to spend time at home, actually. My partner moved to Newcastle from Sydney. We got engaged. Got a dog.
MC: Congrats! What kind of dog?
CA: A kelpie cross cattle dog
MC: The best kind. What’s his name?
CA: Bella. When I was back in South Africa, we had a big property with lots of dogs and cats and lived right across the road from the beach with no worries in the world, so it kind of felt a bit cruel getting a dog in Merewether and having a small backyard. Never thought I’d be much of a dog person but once you get one, they’re the best. Even this morning, she knew I was going away and was moping about.
MC: So cute. We don’t deserve dogs. Speaking of South Africa and surfing, when did that all start?
CA: I started surfing when I was 11 or 12, growing up around the beach. We lived near Jeffreys Bay, so a bit of a spot.
MC: Who inspired you to go surf, was it someone around you, magazines or stuff you saw online?
CA: I sound old, but the internet wasn’t really a thing. I mean, we had it, but it isn’t what it is like now, so not that. Just being near Jeffreys Bay, I would see a couple guys that looked good on boards plus the contest would come every year, so dad and I would go down.
MC: How old were you when you first surfed Jeffreys?
CA: Probably 12, but not the top of the point. You had to be a pretty accomplished surfer to surf Supers. Kind of like Hawaii, where you work your way up. It’s a hard rock off.
MC: So as a goofy, was it an intimidating wave?
CA: I grew up surfing down the point where it was easier to paddle out. But I still did surf Supers a couple of times.
MC: And then when did you move to Australia?
CA: I came out when I was 16. I was riding for Quiksilver before I got here, and then told them I was coming here, but I think they just forgot to let the Australian crew know.
MC: So, you got here with stickers on your board and they were like ‘who the fuck are you?’
CA: Yeah, pretty much, and then just got new boards and didn’t have any stickers, but then got back on when I started doing competitions.
MC: Why Newcastle, did you know someone here?
CA: My dad’s sister was in Maitland, so we stayed there for a bit. Dad picked us up from the airport in a Toyota Camry with just a few bags, a surfboard bag, and that was it. I think the plan was to migrate up to the Gold Coast, obviously because surfing is so big up there, but I’m glad we didn’t end up there. Got as far as Newcastle. I didn’t know a single person coming here. It was a bit intimidating… not that everyone wasn’t friendly, but just having to start again. I remember not being able to understand people, just with their Aussie accents.
MC: So, when you came here had you already made up your mind that surfing was a career option?
CA: Not at all, no. I was just going to school, going to a few comps. Only when I was around 18 and started getting paid from Quiksilver did I see a glimmer of hope in it.
MC: And that payment was based on comp results?
CA: Yeah, I did alright at some but was just very inconsistent and that’s why I threw the towel in. I couldn’t really be a circus freak. Surfing and drinking beers are way more fun.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE AT MONSTER CHILDREN >>>
INTERVIEW STOLEN FROM OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT WASTED TALENT.
Becoming a pro skateboarder is no easy feat at the best of times, but it must be especially hard when you’re in the shadow of your big brother. Yet despite the success of his older sibling Mike, Jake Anderson has carved his own path. F
His part in 2018’s HUF 001 really turned heads and put Jake on the map. Having built a solid relationship with teammate Austyn Gillette over the years, it was no surprise to see Jake join Former. So without further ado, Mr Jake Anderson.
WT: Hey Jake, how are you doing?
JA: I’m good, driving right now to Louie (Lopez)’s place. It’s our buddy Ryan Lee’s birthday so we’re gonna figure something out.
WT: Want to say congrats on Cheap Perfume.
JA: Thank you. Appreciate that.
WT: The fact you have the second part after Austyn (Gillette), did you feel any pressure?
JA: Not really. I had been working on a part. I kind of had a plan with what to do with it and then that plan backfired. So I had like, a little bit of footage and then Austyn’s like, ‘Ok fuck it! Let’s just do a video’. So we just started travelling and it kind of worked out well. It was fresh. It was organic. There wasn’t much of a pressure because it’s like, he skates his way and I skate my way. I respect his skating and I don’t really try to compare myself to his skating because I couldn’t do it. I mean, I wish I could but that’s not me. So I’m just gonna skate the way I skate. It was cool. It just kind of happened.
WT: How many tries did it take to get that 360 front heel in Barca?
JA: So we got to Barcelona. We went to that spot on maybe the second day. And it was just a mess. There were just kids everywhere. So we decided we’re gonna go back eventually. But I didn’t know when we were gonna go back, so I carried high tops around the whole time because I would rip my ankle if I didn’t have high tops on. And then we went there on like, the second to last day maybe? Kind of tried to time it around the siesta when everybody goes home and relaxes but I guess that’s not much of a thing for kids. It cleared up for ten minutes so I start trying and then it just picked right back up with the kids. So there was a lot of waiting. Trying to teach the kids etiquette. It probably took like an hour and a half.
WT: Did you have that trick in mind before you even got there?
JA: Kind of. But it was like a pipe dream. You really have to get used to it. I tried that trick before on another spot and I stuck it like 270, realised I needed more hang time for my body to spin I guess. So I was kind of like, okay, I’m going to Barcelona, this would be the spot to do that. And then I don’t know, I just started flinging it. But I wasn’t dead set on it. It was more like, if I can do this trick on it, that’d be great.
WT: What was your favourite place in Europe?
JA: I love Portugal. I’ve been there a couple times and the people there are just so good. We were really taken care of out there. I’ve surfed out there and shit. It kinda just reminds me of home.It’s everything you could want.
WT: What’s it like riding for a brand that is both owned and financed by your close friend? When we interviewed Austyn a few months back, he seemed to be running the whole show now that Dane’s got three kids to deal with these days.
JA: He’s taken on a lot of responsibility. And that’s admirable. It’s cool. He’s got help from his brother, Chad as well. It seems like things are going well.
WT: Who’s better: Austyn at surfing or Dane at skating?
JA: Austyn at surfing. But Dane used to rip a mini ramp. Ask me in maybe a year or two because Dane wants to build a mini ramp on his balcony so we’ll see where that takes him…
WT: Do you think that surf/skate crossover is becoming more acceptable now?
JA: For sure! Everybody surfs now. Everybody!
WT: We interviewed Dane maybe like two years ago. And he said it’s funny because he feels like pro-surfers want to be pro-skaters and pro-skaters want to be pro-surfers.
JA: Relatively so, yeah. It’s funny because there’s a Drake verse about how rappers want to be ballers and ballers want to be rappers. It’s like the same thing. You get what you want as a kid and then you get to the point where you’re like, ‘Fuck I wanna be somebody else’. Humans are never fucking satisfied. It’s so funny because I have a lot of surfer friends and so I talk to surfers who are like, ‘It must be so sick for you guys. You get to travel to all these crazy places all the time’. And I’m like, ‘Bitch! You get to sit on tropical beaches and chill if there’s no waves!’ It’s just how it is. Every surfer wants to be on a skate trip and every skater wants to be on a surf trip.
Read the rest of the interview HERE -
CRAIG INTERVIEWING BENNY
STOLEN FROM OUR FRIENDS AT MONSTER CHILDREN
CA: Monster Children hit me up to do a little interview with you for Dane’s issue. I wrote down a couple of questions, so just fucking spit-ball whatever you want. I’ve never really done this before so I don’t think it’s going to work out, but who knows?
BH: Who knows? Let’s give it a shot.
CA: What’s your full name on your passport?
BH: Benjamin Albert Howard.
CA: Fuck. That’s pretty insane.
BH: It’s pretty fucked.
CA: It’s better than Craig Rodney Anderson. Real heavy.
BH: I’d rather be called Benjamin than Ben. Every man and his dog is named Ben.
CA: Yeah, Benjamin is pretty sick. What did you do last weekend?
BH: I had a party at mum and dad’s. Just 20 of my friends.
CA: Nice. I asked you the other day what beer you drink, and you said ‘Tooheys New coz I lift ‘em off my dad’?
BH: Yeah, that was legit. [Laughs] He’s been getting the Coopers green lately, though, so I’ve been hitting them.
CA: Yeah, the Coopers green tins are what I’ve been on lately, too. And they’re 14 dollars at the bottle-o near my house.
BH: Fuck, that’s so good.
CA Have you been hitting any bongs up in Port [Macquarie]?
BH: I had one last night.
CA: Fuck off. That’s big.
BH: Yeah, I had one and it fuckin’ wigged me out. I had like, five beers and I had (a bong), and it made me feel so maggot.
CA: Atta boy. Bongs are pretty heavy. There’s a big bong scene in Port though, huh?
BH: Yeah, mad bongs ‘round here.
CA: What would you rather: One round with Damian King or walk home from Sydney airport?
BH: [Laughs] I’d walk. Damian would fuckin’ punch my head in.
CA: I’d do that too. How old are you?
CA: Port seems like a pretty square zone. Have people been mean to you for what you wear?
BH:Yeah fuck, every single time I go out on a Saturday night I get so ripped into.
CA: Same vibe in Newcastle.
BH: Just like, ‘Oh you’re a pussy, why’d you cut your jeans?’
CA: There we go, perfect. Have you ever punched someone, or have they ever clocked you?
BH: Nah, not since year six.
CA: Yeah, you’re too nice for that I reckon. Are there any waves you wanna surf?
BH: South Aus.
CA: What’s up with that slob late spin reverse that fuckin’ blasted the internet a couple of weeks ago? When I asked you about it the other day, you said you were hungover.
BH: Yeah, we went to Newcastle to party and then Surfest was on, so Dan Scott was there filming some guys, and then I just went out and full fluked it. I didn’t mean to do it.
CA: Out of all the Former fuckboys, if you had to guess who’d be the last man standing on a big night out, do you think it’d be Grady, Warren, Dane, Austyn, Jake, Shacker or Campbell?
BH: I feel like it’d be Austyn. He looks like he can party.
CA: Ok, there we go. Favourite band of all time?
BH: I really like Radiohead at the moment.
CA: Alright, dude, I wrote some other ones but they sound so fucking lame. I probably should ask you about Former, but I don’t know what to fucking ask. Anyway, too easy, Benny. Talk to you later.
BH: Yeah, speak to you soon.
STOLEN FROM OUR FRIENDS AT STAB MAGAZINE
Kaito Ohashi is a 29-year-old surfer from Japan with undeniable talent.
And if our word holds no value, his presence on the Former team should serve as proper testimony. Dane Reynolds isn’t one to give out phony compliments, so if he asks someone to sport the brand, you can expect them to be well versed atop a surfboard.
CHECK OUT KAITO IN STAB HIGH HERE
STOLEN FROM OUR FRIENDS AT MONSTER CHILDREN
MC: So, you’re on Former now?
DROID: Yeah, I’m on Former!
MC: Talk us through how that came about.
DROID: Well, I was riding for Volcom and things weren’t really working out. I think the company was having trouble surviving, so they were cutting a lot of people’s pay. And I kinda saw what was going to happen to me two years down the line, you know? Like, the contract I got pretty much said I was gonna be dropped the next year or making, like, a hundred bucks a month or something like that.
MC: That sucks.
DROID: Yeah, so I was like, I’m just gonna quit now. And I was in a place where—and this is gonna sound silly—I was kinda soul searching with my surfing and my art, my music and everything, and I just kinda… I didn’t really care about being one of a bundle of people on a surf team anymore. So, I left. And I was like, Well, what else is out there, y’know? What can I be a part of that’s different and a bit smaller, tighter and newer?
MC: Yeah, totally.
DROID: And when I think of things that are rad and honest, I think of Dane—so I called Dane. And we talked about it… I didn’t really care to get any money, I just kinda wanted to be a part of it. And he said, ‘cool,’ threw me on board, brought me on some surf trips, and now here we are.
MC: So, you’ve got Short Circuit and a new album out, too, Royal Dog Shit.
DROID: Yeah, Royal Dog Shit. Dane played a big part in the album as well as, obviously, Short Circuit.
MC: That’s awesome. In Short Circuit you talk about how you had a bit of a freak-out a while back. Can we talk about that?
DROID: Yeah, no worries.
MC: Well, first I just wanna say I’m stoked you’re being open about it because when I was, like, twenty-three I had a full-on meltdown of my own.
MC: Yeah, I don’t know what you’d call it, just like a nervous breakdown, I guess. I never told anyone at the time because I was ashamed it’d happened to me, that my brain had capsized, you know? But I was really lucky; I eventually told a friend and he put me onto a therapist, but, like… It took almost two years for me to feel normal again.
DROID: Oh, yeah, it can take a while.
MC: Anyway, when I watched Short Circuit yesterday and you were being so open about it, I was just like, that’s so fucking cool, because maybe some kid is gonna watch it and not feel alone, and also know that you can survive this stuff and come out the other side.
DROID: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I feel like the more truth you can share the better off you’re going to be, you know?
DROID: For me, it had so much to do with the movie and the album. Basically, when I called Dane about Former, I’d just got out of rehab, but then six months later I got into drugs again. Obviously, it starts off small but then goes back to full-bore, you know?
DROID: So, then I had like this kinda psycho-spiritual freak-out, I guess, where it was hard to say what was real and what wasn’t.
MC: Oh wow.
DROID: Yeah, so a couple of trips to the psych ward.
MC: What triggered it, do you think?
DROID: This new album had a lot to do with why it all happened; I was deep into my music and trying to write; I was in another world. And I kept making these deadlines for when I wanted the album to be done, and then I’d get to the deadline and it wouldn’t be finished, so I’m freaking out, and all the stress from that kinda contributed to me falling apart. And I was trying to use drugs as a way to feel normal, but you just end up making your breakdown happen even quicker, you know?
MC: I totally know what you’re saying. When I lost my shit, it was because I was smoking pot every day and doing pills and acid.
DROID: Yeah, those drugs will do that [laughs]
MC: Well, I’m glad you’re okay, man, and I’m glad you can talk about it. Your brain is rad now, right?
DROID: Oh, yeah, my brain is rad now [laughs]. I’m doing pretty good. I’m sober, I have really good support from Dane and Former, I have the new movie coming out—which is really pumping me up; and the album is out, which is a really big weight off my shoulders. I’m not one-hundred percent mentally back and calm, you know? I’m still anxious a lot of the time, still a bit high-strung and… fragile. But overall, I’ve got enough power in me to go forward for, hopefully, ever.
DROID: I’ve still got some time to go before my brain and my body is back to one-hundred percent, but I’m feeling pretty good, and I’ve started writing my next record and I’m really looking forward to going surfing a lot too. So, I’m just gonna concentrate on those two things and see how far I can get with them.
MC: That’s rad. Do you meditate? I guess surfing is probably your mediation, right?
DROID: Actually, playing my guitar is like my meditating. When I play my guitar I, like, go to a different place and feel really good. Surfing is meditating for me too, but there’s so much history attached to that, so much drama from over the years, and sometimes when I surf, a lot of these old feelings resurface, like stress or anxiety or somethin’… I’m kind of on a spiritual search for surfing right now, I’m trying to figure out… you know, like, a new way to have fun with it. I’m just figuring that all out right now. I still love surfing, and I love it when I’m doing it, but I’m just finding my spiritual, relaxing part with that, I guess.
MC: When you say spiritual, do you mean that centred sort of ‘flow state’ feeling?
DROID: Yeah, just like one with your board and the ocean, like your board is a living thing under your feet.
MC: Well, I have no doubt you’ll sort that out pretty quick.
DROID: Yeah, thanks, man. Dane’s been calling me up to go to Ventura a lot, and surfing with him is just fun, y’know? There’s no competition, no stress… It’s like surfing with an older brother or something.
Name: Myles Strampello
Location: Los Angeles
Go check Myles's welcome to the team clip.
WELCOME TO FORMER
“If I could tell little 13 year old me, sitting in his room on the floor, squinting at a shitty old television watching Craig & Dane on repeat that they were one day going to sponsor me with their own brand…I reckon my little lid would have popped! I’m so stoked be on FORMER. It’s a funny feeling when the brands founders / team mangers rip harder than you and you just gotta try keep up!”
- Shaun Manners
“Shaun is steeped in the WA heritage that produced Taj, Jay and Creed and so many more. He is no doubt carrying on that legacy of unique and authentic surfers with style and talent. He can do it all; big technically difficult airs, negotiate an 8 foot slabbing, gnarly ass wave, and then follow it up at the pub. We are so pumped to have him on the team. Can't wait to see what he has in store with the Crux on his board"
- Dane Reynolds
“I am really excited to have Chun join the Former family. He embodies what this brand is all about and why we started it; Individuality, authenticity, and having a good time. I think he is currently one of the best free surfers out there and I’m keen to go on trips with him and try to keep up. “
- Craig Anderson
“I met Shaun not knowing what he did at first and was told shortly after by another friend to watch one of his latest parts. Not only is he an incredible surfer, but his personality both on and off the board are quickly noticed. I’m glad he finally has a home to debut all the rad things he has to offer. Welcome to the Former family Shaun!”
- Austyn Gillette