All Photos: Corey Wilson
Weight: 160 lbs
Model: DHD EB2
Dimensions: 5'10" x 18 3/4" x 2 1/4" 26.7L
Shaper: Darren Handley
>You know this already, but have you really thought about it? Mick Fanning has won three world titles. Three! Equal to AI and Curren and one more than Tom Carroll. These days, you don't win events, much less titles, on sheer talent. Mick has made his case for the Hall of Fame on the back of blistering speed, tight technique and the sort of surfer/shaper relationship money can't buy. Darren Handley doesn't mind if Mick meddles with Mayhems or takes Tokoros to the Triple Crown, he knows that White Lightning will return richer for the experience, with a heap of new knowledge that team DHD will use to enhance the Champ's next tilt at the title. – Chris Binns
MICK: This is an EB2. It's a work in progress that's pretty close to being signed off on. DH modified the Eager Beaver model and came up with this. A couple of minor tweaks and it'll be golden.
I go through 100 to 150 boards a year. When I'm at home testing I get a couple every day over a week and ride 'em all. If one feels amazing under my arm I'll save it until just before an event, but generally I test them all to see how they perform. DH will throw in a couple of curve balls too, which I always enjoy trying to figure out.
From the first surf I know if a board's good or not, and if I like it it'll go straight into the cool room. Some will have a spark and I'll take 'em for an extra spin or two just to see if there is a little X-factor. If you have two special boards at one time then you're very happy, but most of the time there's only an extra 5% that makes a board amazing compared to a regular board. I try not to be too precious with staying on one specific board in an event; I usually ride at least three different ones to keep things fresh.
If I'm going to Trestles or a France type event I'll pack a pretty big bag: A 5'10" Skeleton Key, two 5'10" EBs, two 5'10 1/2" Ducks Nuts, and four 5'11" Ducks Nuts. I've got a couple of magic boards saved from last year's Europe leg too, and they get the call up in special conditions.
I went shorter in 2009 when I won the title, but last year I think the secret with my boards was their consistency and the belief I had in in them. I think for some people the shorter, wider thing has reached its limits. I know I don't want to go any shorter. If anything, at places like the Bells Bowl, I'm going a little longer to extend my turns more.
Between Stephanie and I, DH has eight world titles to his name. I don't think there's any great secret other than communication. We chat all the time, and I know Steph does the same. You need to be able to communicate exactly what you're feeling, and what you want to feel, to the craftsman