13-Feet and Casual: Checking In with Dylan Graves

There was a time about 8 years ago when it seemed like every pro surfer had a blog. Simple, fun, video-filled websites that anyone could peruse and get psyched on. You could probably thank forward-thinking freesurfers like Dion Agius for that… But then, over the last few years, guys seemed to get more serious and you just don’t see many blogs anymore. On a mission to bring the fun back and lighten up the comp-obsessed surf-vibe these days, Haydenshapes’ Puerto Rican teamrider, Dylan Graves’ colorfully awesome website, casualslice.com is doing just that. “I like watching stuff that makes me feel things,” says Dylan, whose über-entertaining web-series Weird Waves presented by Vans has you frothing for the next installment. Back from a recent trip for that very project, Dylan walks us through the life of a pro surfer cum webmaster and what he’d do to his site with a $1M…

 

 

Haydenshapes: Casual Slice… What’s happening with your website? Should fans be expecting any new merch, videos or shenanigans soon?

Dylan Graves: Aw, I’m just trying to have fun with it. [laughs] It’s been therapeutic for me, really. If something is on my mind, I write about it: freedom at it’s finest. If I get fired up to make anything, Casual Slice is a platform for me to launch things from, so having a website like this is great. Whether it’s vids, merchandise or brain farts: it’s all on there. Raw. Me. Simple. I’m actually working on a video for What Youth right now…which should be coming out soon. No new merch at the moment… But I think there are about a handful of original Casual Slice tees on there, still… maybe once I get a break from editing videos there will be more.

Love it. Remind me…where did the name Casual Slice come from?

Well…I was checking the waves — which, were quite large one time — with some friends and this guy was walking up the beach with his babe and a boogie board and we asked him how it was, his response was: “Ehhhh casual, 13-feet and… casual.” Which ended up being one of those moments that stuck in your brain, and we couldn’t stop repeating afterwards. That, combined with my love for pizza and Casual Slice was born.

Ha! That’s amazing. So, say someone gave you, like, $1 million…how would you spend that on Casual Slice?

Great question. Well, I think I would buy a few sharks with laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads.

Makes sense. Talk to me about your videos on Casual Slice. What makes a good edit in your eyes? It feels like you always try to have fun and there’s some unique art of yours involved…but do you have any influences or muses as well? Gimme the run down.

I like watching stuff that makes me feel things. Anything that makes me feel more connected to the piece and leaves me with that fire to go surf. Obviously, surfing is meant to be fun so what’s the point of a surf edit that doesn’t have elements of that in it? I have been trying to get as involved as possible in the whole process for the chance at learning more and entertaining myself. Editing has blown my mind, and I would have never thought it would be something that would have interested me so much. I’ve also always enjoyed drawing and art, although I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been that good at it… But getting more involved in the editing process has inspired me to connect with creating things again and to try and figure out different ways/styles of creating. I.e illustrator or photoshop, which has been fun to include in my edits.

Dave Malcolm {former-Transworld Surf  videographer) has been a HUGE influence on me… Actually, to answer the million dollar question, I would use it to hire Dave fulltime at Casual Slice [laughs]. He has basically taught me everything I know about editing. Well, him and YouTube, after I’ve annoyed the shit out of him. But also Dane Reynolds stayed at my house while filming for his movie Chapter 11 in 2016. While I had been messing around and editing for a few years prior to that, he was logging/watching clips and his vision seemed so clear on what he was doing that I was seriously blown away, I remember thinking, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever conceptualized a piece prior to a trip,’ like he was doing. It always seemed to be an afterthought or a scramble of “what should we do with the footage?” Obviously, I had worked with people who had concepts but never on my own. Seeing him got me really inspired to set out to try and get my own piece funded, and 2 years later Weird Waves is happening because of a plan in place PRIOR to filming. [laughs]

 

Weird Waves ; TEXAS from Casual Slice

 

 Awesome. And have you been making any new music lately?

I have. I‘ve been working on a new series of “Weird Waves” for Vans’ YouTube account and I have been pushing myself to try and make as much music as possible. I also have a small budget for music in case everything I do completely sucks [laughs]. Dave Malcolm has been making some songs too…but we haven’t officially formed a band yet to jam and refine our songs. But we got some time. The piece I’m talking about is set to go live in November though during Triple Crown.

Right on. Yeah, tell me about your program with Vans. They seem like a fun company to work for; have you been doing a lot of trips with them lately?

Yeah, for my video series Weird Waves, we’ve done two trips so far and are doing two more. Also, I’m doing a trip for Wade Goodall’s new movie Pentacoastal and also shaping a board for the Vans Duct Tape Festival in St. Augustine, FL in August.

Nice! Busy guy, huh. Have you been painting lately or creating any new art?

Yeah, I just did a run of 10 prints on my site (of which there are 2 left!), and those prints also inspired some art on a few boards. I kinda went a little wild on one, sorry Hayds!


Ha! Speaking of which, what have you been riding lately?

I have a magic Black Noiz and a magic Untitled. Those are my two staple boards on every trip I do. Hayden just shaped me two boards specific to river waves for the Weird Waves trips which go insane, too! One is a 5’4” Untitled hybrid fish and the other is a 5’2” Hypto Krypto hybrid.

 Wooow. Who would you say are your favourite guys to surf with?

Honestly, my family since I’m living in California now and I don’t get to surf with them as much. So I psych on sessions with them whenever I’m home 🙂

Speaking of which, any new updates from Puerto Rico? I’m sure you have some family and friends that were affected by the hurricane(s) last year…

Yeah, the recovery has been long and is technically still going but things are back to normal on the coasts for the most part. Summer has kicked into gear and I hear the beaches have been packed. Jobos is back to its usual beach chaos over Father’s Day weekend, which is pretty incredible post-Maria. BUT, there are still aid organizations who are asking for volunteers, and if you want to do a vacation/donate a couple hours of your day to a good cause, head to casualslice.com for more info. I was actually just about to do a post on it!

 

 

Weird Waves Wyoming from Casual Slice

 

Image: Jimmy Wilson

Videos: Casual Slice