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The Stab Caddy: Mick Fanning’s Mayhem Sub-Driver

The year 2011 was Mick Fanning’s worst-ever on tour. The same surfer who’d won the title in 2007 and 2009 and who came third in 2010, fell to a miserable 11th. And coming into the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Mick had finished second-last in the previous two events, both times losing to Fred Patacchia in round three.

Pressure? None. No world titles on the line. No expectation of an event win. But that didn’t mean Mick’d lost he will to win. The thing was, he didn’t have a board that felt alive under his feet, nothing he loved.

CUTSo Mick did what surfers do before the event at Trestles and he talked to Matt ‘Mayhem’ Biolos who lives, surfs, shapes, breathes, sweats, fucks and sucks Trestles.

Kolohe and his pro surfers pops Dino all ride Mayhems refined in its soft but high-performance wedges. Matt remembers thinking that Mick’s supplied dimensions seemed pretty refined. He asked Mick what his volume was and Mick shrugged but offered that he liked the way Kolohe looked in all the edits he’d been seeing around. Matt told Mick he’d have some boards soon and Mick left.

Round one came and went. Mick finished last behind Tom Whitaker and Brett Simpson. Mick showed up again and asked how the boards were coming along. They weren’t finished and Mick asked about a pile of boards stuffed in the roof. Was there something up there he could try?

Mick climbed up the ladder and dragged a couple down, blew the dust off ‘em, and felt one up and down a lot, tripping on the wide tail-block and the wide nose. It was a typical Kolohe Andino board, the same dimensions he’d qualified for the World Tour on. Even though it’d been ridden and had a small crease, Mick grabbed it and said that maybe he’d ride in the contest. The next day, Mick took it out in the heat and Matt’s phone lit up with text messages that said, “Mick’s on one of your boards.” “Mick’s doing airs in his heat and going mad.”

Matt says: “I saved all the emails and texts from Mick. Guys like Handley and JS, those guys are used to working with someone like that in their prime, but I really wasn’t. He is so professional and well spoken and well written. He really is the ultimate R n D surfer. His surfing is so mechanically flawless and his demeanour is beyond reproach. Like, it’s not fair that DH has had that specimen to work with all these years! I think Kolohe is on his way to being that guy. Anyways. He ended up just saying he was completely perplexed on how some thing that looked like that board rode the way it did.”

Mick, who rode it to the quarter-finals of the Hurley Pro, says the board, “changed my view on how all my boards should be. Instantly I added the those two extra litres to all my boards and requested a little more width all over. From time to time you get a board that changes your world and that thing came to me at a time I really needed some fresh inspiration. The board allowed to to take new lines and switch my approach and as a result I got completely psyched on surfing and competing again.”

Matt says having Mick ride it “vindicated the work and design concepts that Dino and I had put into Kolohe’s boards over his young career. Like we knew we were making the kid the best possible boards for the QS and lacklustre waves he had to deal with in amateur and junior events, but to see the textbook technical surfer of a generation, a two-time world champ, in his physical prime, surf that perfectly on our little stumpy board, it was a great feeling.”

The classic thing about the whole synergy between Kolohe, Dino, Mick and Mayhem is whether or not it’s driven by the Americans’ hero worship of the Australian. “Dino adores Mick. He and I both obsess over Mick’s technique like one would over say Alex Rodrigues’ or Albert Puljos’ swing in baseball.”

  • Knaw son

    I’m stoked that not even Micks’ board was done in time for the contest, makes me feel better about having my boards take 6 months form Mayhem. Only difference is all ours are ghost shaped. Biolos doesn’t shape for anybody but top pros anymore.

    • Johnno

      can you really expect him to have time too?

  • ASP Judge

    26.7 litres.. and that was adding 2 litres to his standard board volume?
    you gotta be kidding me.

    • jjf121

      seems about right because he’s only like 70-75kg. Plus usually most guys up the volume a tad in SoCal waves..

    • bitter guy

      he should thank Kolohe. only Taj tries to ride sub 25 litres anymore (for non-munchkins). not sure if anybody at 160 is less than 26 litres now. everybody was so stuck on 2.25″, it was a rite of passage

      • Encunted

        This board IS 2 1/4. So is Mick’s standard short-board.

        • bitter guy

          well, thankfully Biolos left enough foam in the rails to get 2 more liters of volume from the same “thickness”, you clown

          • Encunted

            Sigh. There’s more than one way to increase the volume of a board. Here, the article states that Mick was “tripping on the wide tail-block and the wide nose” of this board. Biolos’ own write-up of the board on (see the vimeo link that Noah posted above) states that the board’s dimensions are “5’11 x 18.88 x 2.25 with KA’s signature 12″ wide nose and giant tail block. Mick’s normal board is about the same length, but only 18.38 and a nose that’s well under 11.50″ wide.” Guess where the increase in volume has come from? And you have the effrontery to call me a clown…

          • docleelau

            effrontery…. great word

          • bitter guy

            just so I follow, you think its the same thickness but wider? thickness is the shittiest, most un-representative number on a board. some guys 2.25 are total corks (especially if they’re epoxy) cause the rails are beefy and essentially nearly as thick as the center.

          • Encunted

            Yep, same thickness but wider in the nose and tail, which then affects the plan shape of the board. Have a look at any pro’s shortboard and you will see that they’re still ridiculously thin (Jordy being an exception). The so-called “second shortboard revolution” is more relevant to the average punter than to them. You’re right about thickness, though.

          • bitter guy

            look at one that’s broken in half and you’ll see everybody’s rails/decks aren’t the same, even if stringer thickness is (which is why volume is such a nice # to have nowadays)

          • Encunted

            Sure. I didn’t mean to suggest that they are, but from what I’ve seen most increases in the volume of shortboards being ridden by the pros have been achieved by slight increases in width at various points of the board, often accompanied by slight increases in foam in those places. I tend to agree with you about the thickness being a misleading measure. I heard Bob McTavish speak the other day and he said that the only dims he works with are length, nose and tail width.

            Anyway, there’s an interesting discussion of volume over on the Swellnet forums:

          • bitter guy

            i think we’re spliting hairs brah, i rode 6’1″ x 18.5 x 2.25 from a bunch of different guys (who pretty much gave me what they thought was right for 165lbs, who knows how thick they really were) and those boards were all over the map as far as buoyancy. i love having a volume number nowadays (and now we can fight about where they put all that volume, Biolos’ foam is concentrated under the chest, which is lovely)

          • jjf121212

            your wrong. just because you rode a ton doesn’t mean they would be the same. I think you aren’t using the correct words.. buoyancy and paddling ease are two different things. You could have 2 boards same volume with a completely flat rocker more foam in the noise (I think this is what you mean by “chest”) this would create a paddling machine. Volume is just an “ideal number” or a point to look at to which direction you should lean towards. You could have the same amount of volume in a 6’1 as you could in a 5’8.

            You have to look at the over all surfboard as a whole not just the “volume number”. Rocker, foil & foam distribution is what you want to look at if your looking for paddling/buoyancy. Plus if its epoxy its going to be even more buoyant!

          • bitter guy

            i said none of them were the same. bouyancy and paddling are different. i was talking about buoyancy. i meant that the foam/volume is under your chest when you paddle, not in nose/tail. (compared to other shapers) they do paddle quite well and i understand rocker has a lot to do with that. so does planshape/outline. there’s a planing issue with boards that’s completely separate from the bouyancy issue, which is why skimboards work but could never be used to paddle into real waves.

    • Waldo

      Actually a good point ASP judge. So i guess we can tell who’s AUZ and who’s US by the measurement of weight and height or for that matter only who’s US cuz they are the only fuckers using their own measuring system. Fuck anybody not identical to me.

      • bitter guy

        i’m 60kg and my next board is going to be 1.85 meters tall by .55 meters wide. sound about right? how many stone do you weigh, caveman?

  • RUNMAN12

    Biolis probably doesn’t even shape some of the top pros boards

  • Noah

    Here is the footage of Mick riding that board for the first time…. Watch it!!!

    • Johnjohn

      He tore up those waves

  • Manbearpig

    i wish they told us micks exact weight, his normal dim’s vs the sub driver dim’s

  • throwaway

    lol at biolos fucking and sucking at trestles.

  • nob

    just goes to show even the best were behind in what others have been doing

  • Dingbat McAdams

    Dingbat McAdams is getting a hand shaped Mayhem….and taking it straight to some Pacific toobs. Suck on that.

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