We are immensely happy to see Mick Fanning un-harmed in the ordeal at J-Bay WSL and can’t wait to have a beer together and hear the story. A massive thanks to Julian Wilson for showing so much courage and the WSL crew on acting so professionally to maintain the situation.
You’ve no doubt heard the news that local Gold Coast board shaper DHD took out Stab in The Dark at last night’s global premiere in Venice Beach. The competition drew 11 of best shapers and test pilot, Julian Wilson to the table in search of the world’s best surfboard.
We caught up with shaper, owner and founder of DHD, Darren Handley to get the nitty gritty on the ultimate board.
Can you tell us what you were looking for when designing the template of this board?
I was in two minds when approach this board design. I could have gone with a design for that has worked for the past 10-12 years OR used a design that is more current, which is what Jack Freestone is riding on the DX1. In the end I decided to go with the DX1 template which performs better for bigger guys. Also factoring in the size of the surfer I thought this would be the most suited board to ride for all round conditions.
Why did you choose the aspects and dimension you chose for the board?
In my experience this was the most ideal dimensions to use for a surfer with that type of weight, height and surfing ability. If the surfer didn’t have the type of experience that Julian has, I would have gone a touch wider and thicker with the design.
What conditions would best suit the board?
The DX1 is suited for all types conditions or for whatever surfing conditions come at you from beach breaks to point breaks. It has been great to work with Jack Freestone with this particular design as he is on the QS and has to surf all types of wave conditions.
What makes the template so unique to others on the market?
I think the difference with other boards on the market is that this rocker I have with this surfboard. It has been used for a long time and each year I tweak it for what the market wants. You have to understand this is the same rocker that Joel Parkinson (Parko), Adriano de Souza and Sally Fitzgibbons where also riding. The changes that I have made with this latest design working with Jack Freestone is now a lot more user friendly. This rocker has stood the length of time.
Can you tell us about the process behind first putting pen to paper with designing the board, to eventually seeing the end result?
To come up with the right surfboard design for a person with this experience took some time to make perfect. In that I had to really put my thinking cap to get the right concave’s, rail, outline, rocker & fin placement perfect. As this contest was very important to me.
Did you shape the template around Julian and the specific locations you knew the testing would take place?
I didn’t know that the surfer was Julian I thought it was someone else. I also asked Mick Fanning and he also had no idea. I just made the board for the height weight and WA. Which can give you so many different types of beautiful waves. And thinking about it, I didn’t realise that Julian was that tall and that heavy.
What’s next for DHD?
We have a number of internal projects at the moment, the one that excites me most is a project focussed on developing a board with more flex in the lower half, ultimately giving the surfer more feel. Mick has tested the first prototype and while it wasn’t too attractive to look at, his feedback was very positive. Research and development is very important to the team at DHD, we rule everything in, and always look forward to choosing the next team member to be a test pilot. We are very lucky to have such a diverse team, our focus is to help our team members achieve their goals.
Who will be some famous faces riding this board?
You don’t need to be famous to ride a DHD, just passion for a well designed board that can take you to the next level!
For those of you wanting to match your specifications with that of the winning DHD board and Julian himself, check out the details of both board and surfer below:
Julian Wilson / Height 1.83M, Weight 79KG
DX1 / 6’0 x 19 x 2 3/8 / 28.5LT
Sponsored by Stab Magazine
Stab Magzine: The Best Surfboard Model in the world #99.
Tonight in Venice Beach, Stab, Swell.com and Hurley hosted the global premiere for Stab in the Dark. A fabulous mix of leather, denim and skin brushed around 800 Main, spilling House Beer, Boyd and Blair Vodka and Jose Cuervo Tradicional on a packed rooftop. Following a redirection to the second floor at 9.25, the mini-documentary starring Julian Wilson was shown onscreen, and the winner of Stab in the Dark was announced.
The overriding goal of this project was to see if we could answer the question: Is it possible to call a surfboard the best in the world? Sure, it’s a flawed objective. A board’s performance is subjective. But acknowledging this, we invited 12 of the world’s best shapers to each create a board for an unidentified 6’0”, 80kg CT surfer. Fast-forward some months and Julian Wilson was standing in the garage of a West Oz rental, opening two coffins full of cleanskin boards – no markings, no stickers, no pencil on the stringer, nothing identifiable – one from California, the other direct from Sydney.
Jules was a real sport this evening, giving time to anyone who wanted to talk. Even he didn’t know who made the winning board, but knew it would be one of the crafts hanging from their tails along the second story wall. And it wasn’t until the documentary reached the final board of the countdown that the winner was announced: DHD, by Darren Handley.
Says Julian of the DHD:
“I knew this board was going to work! It felt the best under my arm out of the batch and was always going to be a dream going frontside. It was fast, super responsive, exciting and definitely the best board. It felt pretty money!”
Runner up: Chilli #01
“To have any chance of surfing on your backhand you have to be able to come off the bottom without hesitation, otherwise there’s no chance of doing a backside reo,” said Julian of the Chilli. “This was one of the only boards that gave me that confidence. A great all-rounder.”
Third place: Mayhem #31
“I liked the feel of this board, I reckon I could take it out anywhere and have a good time on it; lefts or rights,” said Julian of the Mayhem. “It felt spicy. Spice is excitement, the feeling that really technical and high performance moves are possible.”
Final Stab in the Dark results (as chosen by Julian Wilson):
1. DHD #99
2. Chilli #01
3. Mayhem/Lost #31
4. JS #23
5. Panda #10
6. Sharp Eye #13
7. Channel Islands #03
8. Dahlberg #16
9. Simon Anderson #00
10. Robo #36
11. Stamps #05 (tied with Robo)
12. Pyzel (Did not arrive)
The Stab in the Dark mini-documentary drops on Stabmag.com at 10:30am Thursday, Pacific time. It’s 15-ish minutes long and features one of the world’s most technically perfect surfers pushing himself on bespoke (but blind date) surfboards in Western Australia over 10 days. You won’t wanna miss it. We’ll also be dropping a short profile series on the shapers in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
photos by Matty Wong
We are immensely happy to see Mick Fanning un-harmed in the ordeal at Jay Bay WSL and can't wait to have a beer together and hear the story. A massive thanks to Julian Wilson for showing so much courage and the WSL crew on acting so professionally to maintain the situation.