Legendary surfer and 1999 World Champion Mark "Occy" Occhilupo has been keeping busy in the last 12 months, traveling the world and interviewing some of surfing's biggest personalities for his podcast, the Occ-Cast. In that time he has rollerskated with Tom Curren, ice-bathed with Laird Hamilton and drunk beer out of a shoe with the Mad Hueys. In his latest episode he sat down with Dane Reynolds at Dane's home in Ventura and had a candid, revealing and often hilarious chat about his life, career and pet dog called Pam. The interview was done just before the birth of Dane's twin girls and ahead of the release of a new clip, Premium Violence. It's well worth 45 minutes of your time, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights.
On Being On The Championship Tour (CT)
"I spent a whole career making up excuses, but at the end of the day I just couldn't handle the pressure," says Dane. "I felt isolated on the CT. I was envious of the Brazilians who had this strong family and friend vibe, but I never had that. Getting prepared for a heat I would freak out and the year I finished 4th I was, like, this is as good as it is going to get. I enjoyed filming and doing trips with friends so much more and I decided to just go and do that.
On Pam The Dog
"My wife Courtney has always been into anthropomorphizing animals," says Dane, and from Occ's response it is clear that is the biggest word he has ever heard. "That's applying human traits to animals," Dane explains. "We really get a kick out of that. So with our bulldog Pam, she would caption the photos from the perspective of Pam and it just went mad. People probably think we are insane, but they seem to genuinely like it. I think Pam's Instagram account, @pamlovesferrariboys, has more than 60,000 followers, it's hilarious.
"Getting waves at Rincon is hard, just like at the Superbank," Dane says to Occ's question about his favorite wave near home. "I still surf it like a grom, sitting down the end trying to feed off the scraps. The thing is I'm really shit at positioning in the lineup. You know in the old surf video games there was the stats with categories like power, tubes, airs, positioning. I'd be a zero at positioning. I am so shit at catching waves, it's ridiculous." Of course what he doesn't mention is that in the other categories, he's probably a 10.
On Making a Comeback
After questioning by Dane about when he had made his comeback, Occy reveals he had five years off in his late 20s and returned to the Tour at 31, before winning the World Title two years later. "That's insane, that's my age now, it's remarkable," says Dane. "You thinking of making a comeback?," laughs Occ, before adding that he won his World Title when Kelly was off Tour. "Do you think that made a difference?" questions Dane. "Oooooh, yeah," says Occ, as they both crack up with laughter.
On Social Media
"It's insane. If I was an 18-year-old now I'm not sure how I would deal with it," says Dane when asked about the role of social media. "When I grew up it was considered shameful to be self promotional and now you have to do it make a career in surfing. I guess I'm learning that now, but it would have been confusing back then." Occy, however, trumps Dane with his own use -- or lack thereof -- of digital media. "I've never done an email, not a single one," he reveals. "I'm the last dinosaur and I'm not converting."
On Excitement and Inspiration
"Surfing good waves is still as exciting as ever," says Dane. "It still hasn't lost any of the satisfaction at all, it's addictive as ever." As for his biggest source of inspiration, it remains surf videos, both watching and making them. "Surf films still inspire me. I watch a ton, both old and new, and get psyched on people's style and them surfing together. I've loved them since I was a kid and it's still a main source of inspiration."