The Branding Of A Champion

A quick breakdown of Mick Fanning's key sponsors

It takes a lot to get a world title contending surfer to ride for your brand, especially if that surfer is Mick Fanning. During his world title hunt this year, we've all become a bit more familiar with the brands that have aligned themselves with this incredibly talented surfer. Seeing Mick in a Rip Curl hat during every interview while he's wearing his Dragon sunglasses has become his trademark. He's a smart guy, and knows how to put the product front-and-center at every opportunity.Here's a quick rundown of the companies and products that Mick endorses:Clothing, wetsuits, & watches: RIP CURL
Rip Curl has been with Mick for years. They signed him as a budding amateur when he was 16, and he's been one of their superstars from day 1. He wears their clothing everywhere, has his own 'Mick Model' signature series wetsuit, his own signature boardshort, and is featured in just about every one of their ads in every international surf magazine. Hell, he even has his own Mick Fanning themed STORE in Australia! In other words: when you think of Rip Curl, you think of Mick – and vice versa as well.

Footwear: REEF

His signature sandal is one of the best selling sandals that Reef has ever had. Add to that a signature model shoe that, like the sandal, has a bottle opener built into the sole. With either one of these, you can indulge your inner Eugene (Mick's alter ego that only shows up after a few drinks) and can easily see why this is one of Reef's most popular series ever.

Sunglasses: DRAGON

The first thing you see when you visit Dragon's website is a photo of Mick. That pretty much tells you all you need to know. Mick's their #1 guy. And with all the team riders they have sporting their glasses, that's saying something.

Energy drinks, and just about anything you could think of: RED BULL

Google 'Mick Fanning', and the first result you get is the Red Bull-created They built him his own personal website for crying out loud! Now THAT'S getting behind your guy. They also supply him with tons of energy drinks, jet skis, and just about anything else he might require.

Traction, leashes, boardbags, & accessories: CREATURES OF LEISURE

Mick is part of a whole stable full of thoroughbreds that are with the Creatures of Leisure brand. Each professional usually has their own model of traction pad, and Mick is no different. It's one of their better-selling models, so you can bet that they're stoked on the added push a champion brings to the table.

Surfboards: Darren Handley Designs (DHD)

Now this is where it gets interesting. Mick's ridden DHD surfboards shaped by Darren Handley for years. Some of his greatest wins so far in his career have come while riding them. But a recent press release (below) from shaper Wade Tokoro made many believe that Mick had changed shapers:

"Mick Fanning, current world number one and Wade Tokoro enhance their long standing relationship, by signing an agreement to work together producing Mick Fanning signature boards. The relationship spans many years, so this has been a natural progression. Mick has been riding Tokoro boards at a number of events on the WCT schedule and has had great results on Wade's boards."

But when spoke with DHD representative Hilton Fletcher, we got a different take on the situation:

"The press release is very misleading and is coping a lot of criticism in the Australian media/industry. Mick will NOT be leaving DHD to ride for Tokoro. D'arcy has the license to make Mick Fanning/Tokoro GUNS only. Mick has been riding Darren’s (DHD) boards for the last 15 years, and coming up to a possible world title win their relationship is stronger than ever."

So there you have it – he'll be riding DHD boards on a regular basis, and when the situation calls for it Mick will bust out guns shaped by Wade Tokoro. Both shapers offer a Mick Fanning signature model, so…

Any way you look at it, there are plenty of pieces to the puzzle when it comes to promoting, marketing, equipping, and grooming a future world champion. His time has finally come, and the brands that were smart enough to get in on the ground floor are set to reap the benefits.