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‘What I’m Riding’ Koa Smith

‘What I’m Riding’ Koa Smith

by DHD Surf

With multiple NSSA Championships, a 1st place at the 2010 Rip Curl Grom Search, and most recently a Gold Medal at the 2012 ISA World Championships with team Hawaii, Koa Smith has the skills most surfers dream about. Born on Kauai and now living on Oahu’s North Shore, this 17 year old Hawaiian phenom is taking the surfing world by storm.

Koa is a versatile surfer with an arsenal of airs and maneuvers, but the young Hawaiian prefers barreling Pipe and tubes in Indo. According to Koa, “there is nothing better than a nice long barrel.” He has been a constant presence in/at the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang, in which he has showcased his surfing abilities in heavy conditions alongside some of the best surfers in the world.

Sponsored by DHD since the age of 12, Darren and Koa have established a special relationship. At the beginning of the year DH had Koa and his brother Alex out to visit the factory and surf some of Australia’s best waves. “DH is a legend, going to his home turf was so sick! He let me stay at his pad and he took us surfing everyday,” Koa said of his recent trip to Oz. DH speaks very highly of the up and coming surfer, “Koa has a unique attitude and I really like the way he lets his surfing do the talking for him. Its good for me now that I have a factory in the USA and have spent some time in Hawaii, to have a great young surfer to make boards for.”

Koa’s quiver consists of the DHX, Eager Beaver, Sweet Spot, SwitchBlade, and the Scalpel. “All the boards are super fast and have an amazing flow in every condition. I can surf every type of wave with the boards in my quiver from small beach breaks to pumping Pipe.”

 

 Koa is loving his 5’ 11 x 18 3/8 x 2 ¼ DHX, “I’ve had my best sessions on the DHX, it’s a great all around board that allows you to pick the lines you want. The DHX works really good in Hawaii and bigger waves with a little more power.”

 

I’ve been riding the Eager Beaver at Lower Trestles, it works especially good in high-performance waves.” With this model we have really focused on a little more volume, and little more width, and less rocker through the tail. Adding a little tail vee though the tail behind the fins that allows for quick release and fluid rail-to-rail transitions.

 

 Sweet Spot is Koa’s weapon of choice for bigger days. When he visited the DHD factory at the beginning of the year DH made Koa a boxed out 5’10 Sweet Spot that is made for 6ft plus. This board was made with the idea of staying right in the pocket of the wave. “The Sweet Spot is my board of choice when the waves are barreling.”

 

 DHD makes some amazing small wave boards. I particularly like the SwitchBlade and Scalpel. The SwitchBlade goes good in smaller surf and can handle whatever you throw at it. I have been really liking the Scalpel, it’s really good for airs and tail throws. The Scalpel makes you motivated to surf small waves.”

Which DHD boards are in you quiver?

I have one DHX 5’11 x 18 3/8 x 2 ¼, two Eager Beavers (one 5’10 ½ x 18 3/8 x 2 ¼ and one 5’ 10 x 18 3/8 x 2 1/4), a 5’4 x 18 ¾ x 2 ¼ Scalpel, and a 5’7 x 18 5/8 x 2 3/16 Switch Blade, 5’10 x 18 3/8 x 2 ¼ Sweet Spot

‘What I’m Riding’ Sally Fitzgibbons

by DHD Surf

Sally Fitzgibbons
H: 5’7 (168cm)
W: 135LBS (61kg)

Over the past year Sally and DH have really solidified their relationship and her surfing has never been better. With wins at the Australian Open, the Newcastle Surfest, and most recently her back-to-back victory at Bells it has been a phenomenal start to the season.

At the end of last year Sally wasn’t satisfied with the way her boards were performing.  DH invited her up to the Gold Coast to hangout in the factory and learn about shaping and designing the right boards. Together they measured up her old favorites, noting the aspects she liked and some of the things she didn’t like. She took off with four boards from this shaping experience and straight away went to the Australian Open in Manly and won on her 5’7 x 17 ¾ x 2 1/8 Project 15. After the event she sent DH a text, which said ‘We Won.’ “That was a great achievement not only for Sally but also a great achievement for our relationship” said DH.

In the next event, the Newcastle Surfest, Sally again surfed her way to victory. This time on her 5’7 x 17 ¾ x 2 1/8 Puzzle Piece, a fast, responsive board designed for all conditions, allowing her backhand to excel. The Puzzle Piece is DHD’s ultimate beach break surfboard with speed and looseness it allows you to get tight and keep your flow on beach break waves.

Sally claimed her 3rd win of the season at the coveted Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro against fellow team rider and good friend Stephanie Gilmore. She was surfing a DX1 with a rounded pintail, which has good hold in bigger waves. This board allows you to draw longer lines and helps make tighter turns on big open faces. Perfect for bigger, choppy, strong surf.

Sally’s feedback has allowed DH to create the right boards for her in all conditions and her results speak volumes of the two’s relationship.

“Sally fits right into the DHD team, she is hungry, focused and works hard to achieve top  results. The inspiration and great friendship she draws from Steph creates an awesome working environment for the three of us and I just love it when the two of them go head to head in the final. As a shaper watching Steph and Sally at Bells this year was really satisfying.”DH

Back Home with Mick Fanning

Back Home with Mick Fanning

by DHD Surf

After winning one of the greatest finals to go down in Bells history against Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning has returned home and settled into some quality waves at his home break Snapper rocks. Taking a break from ringing his new bell, check out some of these snaps.

The same swell that Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore are tearing to pieces at Dee Why for the Beachley Classic has hit the Gold Coast and is producing some quality surf. Steph and Sally both in the quarter finals, fingers crossed for another Steph and Sally final like we had at Bells.

Steph – On Target

Steph – On Target

by DHD Surf

This year’s Women’s ASP World Tour is well on its way, three events deep and a building swell for the Layne Beachley Classic set to go off this weekend. Winning four world titles straight off the mark from her rookie year, it was a shock to the system for Stephanie Gilmore to give up her World Title ranking in 2011.
Well it is pretty obvious what her intentions are in 2012, winning two of the last three events and only narrowing finishing in 2nd place against fellow DHD team member Sally Fitzgibbons at Bells.

“This is by far the best start to a season I’ve had in my career,” Gilmore said. “To have three Finals straight off the bat, I’m kind of tripping out. It’s really cool. That was a really close Final, I’m sure it could have gone either way. I watched Carissa’s (Moore) wave from behind and she did that huge first turn and then raced to the next section, but if she did another turn straight away, I’m sure she would have gotten the score. I’m glad it went my way though.” Was Steph’s response to a close victory in New Zealand over Carissa Moore.


At last year’s Beachley Classic Carissa took Steph out of the event in the semi final to then carry on and win the event. Steph is going to be keen to carry on her good form for the year, with a hungry Sally and Carissa eager to take out there event and stay in the running for this year’s title. With a predicted heavy east swell due to hit tomorrow, we can’t wait.

Steph was riding the same Ducks Nuts model she was riding at Snapper a 5’10 by 18 1/2 by 2 1/4, this has been working really well for her in clean smaller conditions. With conditions looking a little more solid for Dee Why we are expecting Steph to wax up the same board she was riding at Bells 5’11 x 18 ½ x 2 ¼ version of the Mick Fanning Ducks Nuts.

DHD Team Rings the Bell

DHD Team Rings the Bell

by DHD Surf

With the passing of MP it was only fit that Bells would turn it on for us this Easter. Five days straight of surfing and some of the most nail biting heats we have seen for a long time. Bells is notorious for dishing out spectacular clashes and the Mick Fanning and Slater final is sure to go down as one of the greatest in history. It was a great result for the DHD team, Mick Fanning putting his first win on the board and Sally Fitzgibbons going back to back in an all DHD final against Steph Gilmore. The first two events are critical for Darren Handley as it allows him to witness firsthand the team riding their new equipment and sets them up for the year. DH was down at Bells catching the action and hanging out with his team. We catch up with him and get a rundown of the event from the eyes of the shaper.

Providing a chair for the champ, DH brings Mick in.
Q: What an amazing event for the DHD team, give us a rundown from your seat DH

DH: Yeah, it was a great event and a great tribute to MP. I was really stoked with all the team’s efforts and how their equipment was looking under their feet. Bell’s is always a great testing ground, it has so much ground swell power, it always wants to bump you off the wave and it really tests the team’s surfing and their boards.

Q: How about that final of Mick’s?

DH: It was amazing and nerve racking. If Slater is getting a perfect 10 and losing you know you have a heat on your hands. Mick had been surfing really well for the entire event and was hungry for that Bell. Mick kept his cool stayed calm and surfed hard. Mick kept his cool, stayed calm, and surfed hard. Those three turns on that wave were just what he needed. He was precise and connected his turns perfectly. Sitting there was not easy—Slater is capable of anything, but I felt this was Mick’s year at Bells, he was so focused throughout the event.

Q: How have you and Mick prepared for Bells?

DH: It has been a long time since Mick last rang that Bell and losing so closely to Parko last year, we didn’t want a repeat of that this year. We got really busy over the Summer months and set Snapper and Bells in our sights. We have really been focused on his Ducks Nuts model for those good competition days. Basically we pulled his quiver into three really tight models the ‘Ducks Nuts, Sweet Spot and Eager Beaver’ and just kept tweaking them running into the events. At this stage in the year we are really happy with them. You can see it in Mick’s surfing, he is confident with his equipment and that translates in his turns. Mick is really focused and good at giving feedback, this allows us to really finetune the designs and make boards for specific conditions and locations.

Sally turning up the heat in the final.

Q: Sally and Steph the DHD duo, sitting on the fence for that one?

DH: Yeah what a position to be in, both final surfers on your boards. I did have to sit on the fence for that one. Sally and Steph have a great rivalry going, they are great friends and Steph has been a great inspiration for Sally. It was an awesome effort to win Bells back to back and a great final to watch, the two of them are really pumped for this year and they just keep pushing one another. Steph got Snapper and Sally got Bells, question is will Sally go back to back in New Zealand.

Congratulations Sally.

Q: Snapper and Bells, you have been sitting with the team in the competitors’ area talking with your team a fair bit, run us through all of that?

DH: I really make the most of these first two events, both being in Australia. I work close with the team over Summer getting their boards right for the tour. Then they all show up at my place for Snapper and we put the equipment to the test. Sometimes we make a few changes after Snapper so it is good to get down to Bells and see the result of that first hand. I get a lot of information just watching and talking to the team when they are fresh out of a heat, the waves and board is fresh in their head and it is some of the best feedback a shaper can have. Because they are both such different waves, it gives me a great scope of how the boards are performing for each team rider.

Steph off the top in the final.

Q: What were Mick, Sally and Steph riding in the finals?

DH: Mick was riding his Ducks Nuts 5’11 x 18 ¾ x 2 ¼. We have really got this model tight and Mick is loving it when the surf is pumping. He rode this board through most of the event.

Sally was riding a 5’9 x 17 3/8 x 2 1/16  DX1, this is the model Sally chooses when there is a bit of size and the surf is good. She has been riding the Eager Beaver, Project 15, Puzzle Piece and DX1 and we are really stoked with how the quiver is fitting together. I reckon we will see her on the Puzzle Piece and the Eager Beaver throughout the NZ event.

Steph was riding a 5’11 x 18 ½ x 2 ¼ version of the Mick Fanning Ducks Nuts. Mick and Steph have spent a lot of time surfing together and surf very similar designs. I generally model Steph’s performance board off the Mick’s with a few tweaks that are more suited for Steph.

Adriano De Souza laying down the Brazilian power.

Q: What was the feedback from the team for this event?

DH: Yeah everyone is frothing on their boards, I reckon this is the best start to the year we have had with the team. We all got focused over Summer and the boards are just so tight, all the team keep calling me up and they are just frothing. Everyone is really happy with quality as well, the team keep commenting on the strength and lightness of their boards. This is a hard balance with team riders to have the lightweight performance and maintain strength. You need to have confidence in your equipment, not only the performance but durability as well. It is taking them a lot longer to wear out their boards which is a big plus, particularly if it is a magic board. A lot of the team are liking the Puzzle Piece and the DX1 as their performers. Jordy Smith was looking great with the 6’3 x 19 1/8 x 2 ½ DX1 under his feet in a few heats, Adriano was stoked with his 5’10 x 18 3/16 x 2 1/8 DX1 in those conditions. Everyone is feeling really comfortable with their equipment after the first two events, at the end of the day that is what I want to hear.

Jordy Smith Superman in the bowl.

Q: Your boards are popping up under everyone’s feet, how do you work with such a large team

DH: The team never seems to stop growing, there are a few more guys on the core team this year and my test pilot team is always growing. I love working with such a large team, there is so much surfing experience amongst them all and each surfer is so different. As a shaper you can’t get enough of it, it fuels my inspiration and keeps me pushing to get the ultimate design for everyone.

“What I’m Riding” Adriano De Souza

“What I’m Riding” Adriano De Souza

by DHD Surf

Adriano De Souza
Height: 5’6 (167cm)
Weight: 137LBS (65kg)

Darren Handley and Adriano De Souza have been working together for a number of years and have had some excellent results from the hard work. It was a great start to the year with a 2nd place at the Snapper Rocks Quiksilver Pro. Adriano was riding his 5’10 x 18 1/8 x 2 1/8 DX1 with FCS and K3 fins for a lot of the event. “Adriano and I have been making small refinements. He has been loving all his DX1′s because they work in all types of waves from beachbreaks to points for high performance surfing,” DH said. The DX1 is part of the evolution of DH’s D-series of boards. All team riders on the D1 have made the switch.

DH and Adriano have solidified his quiver for the first part of the year and are excited with what is under his feet. “Working closely with a Brazilian team rider has been a great experience” said DH. “He has so much power in his surfing and his determination keeps him so driven. I have really enjoyed working together as he comes from such a different surfing background. Designing boards for international surfers for global waves really expands the scope of your shaping and this experience just rubs off on your shaping across the board” DH.

Adriano is really loving the DX1, DHX and Puzzle Piece, working with DH across a number of variations of these models.

The DX1 is the staple performance model for Adriano and his go to board when there is good surf. DH and Adriano are working through a few variations and sizes of this model and is most likely going to be Adriano’s weapon of choice for Bells. The DX1 is an update to my main performance model the D1, a board that has stood the test of time. All of my team have ridden this board, and they keep coming back to it as their number 1 short board. The DX1 has already been ridden to several contest wins this year.

When the surf is really pumping and Adriano is looking for speed, drive, hold and top to bottom performance the DHX is the model Adriano chooses. DH and Adriano have put together a number of variations refined for specific conditions, locations and surf sizes and are working closely on these developments. The DHX is DH’s R&D model, basically if you see anyone riding a DHX you know they are riding a prototype. This process allows DH and his team to work through new design concepts and keep a track of what is working and what isn’t.

When the surf is poor Adriano finds the performance he needs in the Puzzle Piece. Although the Puzzle Piece is generally an all round performance model, Adriano’s power and low centre of gravity combined with his lifetime of experience in Brazilian waves allow Adriano to really perform well on the Puzzle Piece in these conditions. This model allows DH to hide some extra foam for paddling and initial speed and lift without hindering the performance of the board.

 

Mick Fanning ‘What I’m Riding’

Mick Fanning ‘What I’m Riding’

by DHD Surf

It has been a busy start to the year for Mick Fanning and Darren Handley, getting Mick’s equipment sorted for the first half of the tour. Even Mick has been in the bay shaping up some designs of his own. The two of them are both really happy with where the designs are at and have locked in four key designs for Mick’s 2012 quiver.

What is Mick Fanning Riding

Mick Fanning
Height: 5’10 (177cm)
Weight: 161 LBS (76kg)

Ducks Nuts is Aussie slang that means “the best thing.” I’ve worked on this board for a long time. If the waves are pumping with really clean conditions that’s the board I go to. It has single to double concave thru the fins and heaps of drive. I ride 5’11 1/2×18 5/8×2 1/4 V26.8lt”MF
Click here to view more on this model

Eager Beaver is the model that adds life and fun to smaller, sloppier conditions. Its based off boards I’ve been riding in California and Brazil and features deep single concave into slight vee off the tail giving you more zing and the ability to change up your lines. I ride 5’11×18 3/4×2 ¼ V26.2lt”MF
Click here to view more on this model

Sweet Spot is the model that I made with the idea of staying right in the pocket of the wave. I can jam it as hard as I want and know it will hold, and not worry about nosediving or getting stuck in the curve because there is less board. I ride it at Snapper, Kirra, and places like P-Pass, and the thing goes amazing. I ride 5’10×18 3/4×2 ¼ V26.1lt”MF
Click here to view more on this model

A new model that is beginning to emerge from DH’s shaping bay is the Switch Blade Pro. A few of the team riders Mick included have really been enjoying this model as a performance option in the small mushy conditions. This model was a huge hit amongst the team at the Australian Open in Manly this year. Mick rides a 5’9×18 3/4×2 1/4 V26.4lt

2012 Mick Fanning Series

2012 Mick Fanning Series

by DHD Surf

Darren Handley and Mick Fanning are stoked to introduce to you the new ‘MF’ Series to kick off the year 2012. Although the refinement and constant pursuit for improvements never stops with these two, Mick and DH have made some big changes this year. Tightening up the range and recognising three distinct Mick Fanning models that will be used on tour this year. The Ducks Nuts Micks go to performance board. The Eager Beaver as Mick’s step down model when the surf gets a little smaller and lacks power. The Sweet Spot a tight little model for throwing around in the pocket on good days, as Mick says this one just wants to stay in the sweet spot of the wave. Have a read below to hear what Mick has to say about his models and click on the links to see the full size range of each model.

Ducks Nuts is Aussie slang that means “the best thing.” I’ve worked on this board for a long time. If the waves are pumping with really clean conditions that’s the board I go to. It has single to double concave thru the fins and heaps of drive. I ride 5’11 1/2×18 5/8×2 1/4.”MF

Eager Beaver is the model that adds life and fun to smaller, sloppier conditions. Its based off boards I’ve been riding in California and Brazil and features deep single concave into slight vee off the tail giving you more zing and the ability to change up your lines. I ride 5’11×18 3/4×2 ¼.”MF

Sweet Spot is the model that I made with the idea of staying right in the pocket of the wave. I can jam it as hard as I want and know it will hold, and not worry about nosediving or getting stuck in the curve because there is less board. I ride it at Snapper, Kirra, and places like P-Pass, and the thing goes amazing. I ride 5’10×18 3/4×2 ¼.”MF

Stephanie Gilmore 4th Roxy Pro

Stephanie Gilmore 4th Roxy Pro

by DHD Surf

Steph Gilmore has got the year rolling with a great win over Laura Enever, winning her fourth Roxy Pro Gold Coast title. Nothing like a win on your home turf, DH and Steph have been working closely on her equipment over the summer and it is really satisfying to see success in your testing ground and on tour. Steph’s surfing was on fire throughout the event and it was clear that in 2012 Steph is back, quickly snapping up 1st place on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour ratings, a spot she lost at this event last year after holding it for four years.

“The board Steph rode on the last day of the event for the semis and final, as well as in the quarters was a 5’10 by 18 1/2 by 2 1/4 with FCS and Mick Fanning small fins. It was a similar board to what Mick has been riding, called the ‘Ducks Nuts’,” said DH. “It had a lot of tail lift in it, about 2 1/2 inches and single to double concave. She rode it because it was fast and loose, and it did the job.”


“To be carried up the beach with your friends underneath you with thousands of people around has got to be one of the best feelings in the world,” Gilmore said. “It took me back to 2005 when I won here as a grom. Last year went so quickly and it felt like I didn’t even exist on the rankings and that fire wasn’t really there. This year it’s so good to have that back! My cheeks are so sore from smiling already.”

Steph wasn’t the only DHD team rider making their mark on this year’s opening event. An awesome result by Adriano De Souza, only just missing out on  first place in the men’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Falling short to Taj Burrow’s by 0.27pts. In sloppy conditions Adriano was not holding back, with a great display of aerial surfing and the rhino power he is known for, definitely one to keep an eye on this year.

Adriano was riding his 5’10 x 18 1/8 x 2 1/8 DX1 with FCS and K3 fins for a lot of the event. “Adriano and I have been making small refinements. He has been loving all his DX1’s because they work in all types of waves from beachbreaks to points for high performance surfing,” DH said. The DX1 is part of the evolution of DH’s D-series of boards. All team riders on the D1 have made the switch.


Adriano De Souza

“I’m really happy with my result here today,” De Souza said. “It was such an amazing Final. Last year Taj (Burrow) and I had such a great heat here as well. It was one of the best heats of my life and he beat me. It’s amazing to be on the podium here again. In 2009, it was me and Joel (Parkinson). It’s a great way to start the year and I’m happy to be back up here.”

Sally Fitzgibbons jumped out of the box swinging this year, going down to fellow team rider and winner Steph Gilmore in the semi finals. Sally was a standout the entire event, surfing well on her 5’8 x 17 5/8 x 2 1/8 DX1. Steph has been a great role model for Sally and it is great to see the two surfing so close to one another. We are certain to see some great clashes between the two this year.

Jordy Smith and DH have been working very closely on boards lately. Jordy was surfing very fast and loose on  his 6’2 1/2″ x 19 1/4 x 2 9/16 Jordy model that DH had designed for him, and they have already begun working on getting Jordy’s quiver set for the Rip Curl Pro Bells.

Darren Handley (DH) really puts a lot of time into this event, getting all the equipment for the team to kick off the year feeling good under foot. He also spends a lot of time in the competitor’s tent working with the team and watching them surf.


Darren Handley and Adriano talking boards at the DHD factory

“Watching your team riding the boards you have shaped them on your local wave is an awesome opportunity as a shaper. I know the wave, I know what I have shaped them, I get to see what is working for them and what isn’t first hand. That information is priceless, so is first hand feedback when they are fresh out of the water. The work we do prior to and throughout this event sets us up for the first half of the year.”DH.

All photos thanks to Swilly

Snapper & Roxy Pro Highlights 2012

Snapper & Roxy Pro Highlights 2012

by DHD Surf

The 2012 Quiksilver and Roxy Pro at Snapper, hasn’t seen all time conditions, but there have been some fun waves here and there. All the DHD team picked up their fresh batch of boards for the event and were pumped to get out there. Here at DHD fingers are crossed for a Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons final in the Roxy Pro. Jordy Smith and Adriano De Souza are still representing the DHD team in the men’s, both getting ready for a big quarter final. Check out some of the snaps from Snapper thanks to the DHD team.


Back in 1st place


Congratulations Steph Gilmore


Watch out for Mick at Bells


Big carve from the big man Jordy Smith


Steph warming up for her semi


Steph, Jake and DH


Sally Fitz on fire


Jordy Smith breaking free


Garrette all grins with his spot in the main event


Steph takes a break at the top


Jordy Smith looking on


Awesome effort from Garrette Parkes smashing the trials and earning himself a gig in the main event. Expect big things from this fella.


Jordy Smith looking powerful for 2012 on his DHD


Adriano pre-heat pump up


Steph Gilmore looking hard to beat on her DHD


Alejo Muniz looking ready to go hard this year


Sally Fitzgibbons is hungry for her first world title


Kierren Perrow in good form following his 2011 Pipe Masters victory

DH and Steph Gilmore comparing notes