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Darren Handley talks about Mick Fanning's title boards


Mick Fanning : photo Tostee/ASP Covered Images


Industry News

‘From Snapper Rocks to World Champ’ – The MF & DHD Journey

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 November, 2007 : - - I have been surfing and working with Mick Fanning for 13 years, it has been an exciting journey watching Mick develop into a World Champion Surfer. This year as a result of hard work for both of us Mick took out 3 WCT events all on DHD boards. 

These wins along with extremely consistent results for the year have culminated in him beating Kelly to claim the ’07 world title and bring it home to Australia for the first time since Occy in ‘99. It takes a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears before it all comes together.  This year we both got our dream, now there is more to come.

Mick started riding my boards at the age of 13 on a 5’3, now at the age of 26 he rides a 6’1 for everyday competition. Most of Mick’s boards are very similar in dimensions 6’1 x 181/4 x 2 3/16 with a tight rounded square and a deep concave between the fins.  They are manufactured at BASE and glassed in polyester resin with one layer of diagonally laid 4 ounce cloth either side with a toe patch. 

This keeps them super light with additional strength and the perfect amount of twang. The strength is important, when we get a magic board that Mick feels confident will beat the world’s best, it needs to last long enough for him to get the job done. 


Mick Fanning : photo ASP Cestari/Covered Images


An enormous amount of work went into his fitness and mental preparation to come back from injury for this world title.  As part of the plan we decided together that the best way to ensure his boards were perfect was that he needed me to work on the ones he rode the most being the 6’1 to 6’4’s.  Like most WCT surfers’ willing to put it on the line in big Hawaiian waves Mick has always got some bigger boards from a Hawaiian shaper as guns are their specialty. 

With waves like Tahiti and Pipeline on the WCT schedule we made the decision that I would work on the performance boards exclusively and for Mick to also have some Tokoro Hawaiian guns in the quiver to allow us all to concentrate 110% at what we do best.  It has been a successful and satisfying campaign built on a great relationship, hard work, persistence, and a shared passion for performance surfing!

In board design it’s been a progressive few years as Mick and I have spent a lot of time in the shaping bay together and worked specifically on concaves, tail width and lift and we were amazed at how the slightest changes made the biggest difference.  We released the 2007 MF Model to market earlier this year to reflect how far we have come.

As a result of our time in the bay and the constant pursuit of improvement and refinement there were three key boards that made a huge difference to this year’s competitive season. 


Mick Fanning : photo ASP/Covered Images


First there was the ‘Snapper Board’ which he rode for the season up until the semi final in France where it finally broke after being put through more than a heavyweights punching bag.  This board had a little less concave than boards before it, Mick said that it felt free up front and surfed really safe.  He won $68,000 on this one including the amazing win at pumping Snapper. 

Secondly there was the ‘Green Backup Board’ that he rode to win the final in France and solidified a commanding lead over Kelly and Taj.  Mick said that this board was good also but had a bit more concave and just didn’t feel as safe as the magic ‘Snapper Board’.

Thirdly the board he took to Brazil was the pick of the last batch I shaped just before he left.  This was a copy of the ‘Snapper Board’ but just a touch thinner in the rail.  Mick won the World Title in Brazil, was crowned the champ on the beach, celebrated quickly and then regained focus to win the semi final and then the event as well.

As for Mick winning again next year; the campaign has already begun.  We’ve got 10 freshies in his garage ready to go, 10 more glassed for when he gets back and I’m off to Hawaii to stay with Mick and the Hazza (Harrington) twins to watch him surf Pipe, drink even more beer and to celebrate the great year that has been Aussie Surfing.

Now we are all watching with our fingers crossed for Steph to take out the Woman’s Title, double whammy! It has been a busy year and I have foam dust coming out of my ears but it’s all been worth it. As a shaper I couldn’t think of anything more satisfying than working so closely with two tremendous people and seeing their efforts pay off to deliver some exceptional results for Australia to put it back at the top of world surfing.

Mick Fanning Models are available from BASE stores, Rip Curl Stores and approved dealers, see for a store in your area.

About BASE
DHD Surfboards, Simon Anderson Surfboards, Bourton Surfboards, Sparrow Surfboards and Pipedream Surfboards are manufactured on the Gold Coast of Australia by BASE Manufacturing.  BASE was formed by the merging of existing companies in 2002 and set out with the purpose to centralize and make advancements to manufacturing, distribution, marketing, research and development and creating a specialized surfboard retailing experience.

BASE has 3 retail stores in close proximity to key Australian surfing destinations; Superbank store, Coolangatta QLD.  Simon Anderson store, Manly NSW.  BASE Torquay, VIC.

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Darren Handley

Industry - Surfersvillage


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