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.
So 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.”