COOLANGATTA, Queensland/Australia (Wednesday, September 28, 2011) – The ASP Top 34 are constantly under the surfing world’s microscope. Everything to what they eat to who they’re with to how they stretch is discussed, debated and dissected in magazines and blogs all over the world. This is especially applicable to what boards they’re riding. The surfboard, the make-or-break piece of equipment for the world’s best surfers, is given the lion’s share of this limelight.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, past two-time ASP World Champion (2007 and 2009) and current No. 7 on the 2011 ASP World Title rankings, has been famously linked to renowned Aussie shaper Darren Handley (DHD shapes) since his mid teens, but the dangerous natural-footer noticeably rode a Mayhem shape (from local San Clemente shaper Matt Biolis) to an Equal 5th result last week at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. As expected, the surfing world went into hyperdrive with speculative discussions: Are Fanning and DH done? Has White Lightning officially signed with another label? Will Mick headline Lost Across America: Volume III (allegedly due out sometime before 2035)? In short: no, no and probably not. However, ASP caught up with Fanning to set the record straight and the defending Quiksilver Pro France champ was kind enough to indulge our curiosities. This…is his story…
When did you start riding Darren Handley shapes? How did the partnership come about? What were your first impressions of the boards?
I started riding DHD when I was 14. He was the new guy on the scene and was moving places fast. All the best guys at home were riding them so I asked if I could and we were on from there.
You’ve famously ridden DHDs to 13 elite tour wins and two ASP World Titles so there must have been some magic happening there for you for a while. What was (is) your relationship with Darren like? Are there any memorable boards that stand out?
Yeah, DH has made some amazing boards. I have ridden other people’s as well in the victories, but the majority were on DHD. There were my two title boards, one in ’07 and the one in ’09, that were extra special, but we have kept all the boards that I’ve ever won on. My relationship with DH is great – we have a very open understanding where we both try and improve each other. It’s great for taking things forward so we don’t get stale.
Is there anything in particular that has brought about the change away from DHDs at the moment?
I have always rode everyone’s boards. If you have the same breakfast every day, you’re going to want to a change. For me, riding different equipment refreshes ideas and most of the time I take what I like from others back to DH to put his spin on them. I think with all the great shapers of the world, why be tied down to one when you can have everyone’s perspective?
What were the benefits to Mayhem shape you rode at Trestles? Do you have any magic sticks you’re using at the moment?
It (the Mayhem from Trestles) was just a board I wanted to try as mine weren’t feeling the way I wanted. It was an old Kolohe Andino board that just felt alive and different. It actually got me really excited to surf again – especially in those waves that were a bit weaker than what we typically surf on tour.
What’s the relationship between yourself and DHD look like moving ahead? And what other shapers are you working with now and which ones would you like to work with in the future?
DH and I are fine. We are the same as if it were any other day. I am still going to ride his boards the majority if the time it’s just that I didn’t in that event. I am lucky that I can ride whoever’s boards and not have to look over my shoulder. I want to get some more Mayhems, plus I have Bradleys, Phippsy and Simon Andersons here. Tokoro is the man when it come to Hawaii so I’ll still be loving those. To be honest, I’ll try whoevers boards if I think they’ll work. I think all surfers should have the same deal – ride whoever’s boards you think are working at the time. Evolve with it and try to take it to new levels.
For more on MICK FANNING, check out his ASP World Tour Profile
Watch Fanning and the rest of the ASP Top 34 do battle next week LIVE at the Quiksilver Pro France
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com