Brutal Honesty: Dane Reynolds Reviews DHD’s Stab In The Dark Surfboard
Welcome to episode two of the Stab In The Dark Shaper Series.
If Stab In The Dark is the main event, then please consider the Shaper Series as special features.
Presumably you’ve already watched our 36-minute film, in which Dane Reynolds takes 13 of the world’s best (unbranded) surfboards to South Africa for 10 days of rigorous and unbiased testing and flexing.
In the Shaper Series, a joint with our pals at Swell, we delve a little deeper on the other side of the coin; we step into the shapers’ bays and syphon their thoughts and reasoning around their art, and the board they shaped for Stab In The Dark 2016.
So, what did we tell our shapers? Boards to be delivered by June 1 in either LA or Sydney. Surfer is 6’0” and 190 lbs (86 kg), but will remain anonymous. Shoot location, South Africa. Surfboard must be 6’0” but width, thickness and volume all open to interpretation. Oh, and blank, blank, blank. Completely void of all branding or recognisable features like unique carbon patches. This is not a paid-for board guide – our readers are too savvy to make informed decisions based off that. Yes, there will be honesty. Every board will have positives and conversely, every board will have negatives. And, there’s a chance the board could break first wave, first turn, first air. If it does, apologies, you’re out.
The local boys, after assessing those distinctive curves, knew it had to be a Darren Handley.
In this episode, we shine our spotlight on the shaper behind cleanskin craft #66, Darren Handley of DHD. Known best for his highly successful symbiotic relation with Mick Fanning, you may also remember his board won last year’s Stab In The Dark with Julian Wilson. After the shaper’s identity was revealed at the 2015 feature premiere, Jules announced that, “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!”
This year, Darren was confident he knew who our test pilot might be and so shaped his submission to suit Mr Reynolds’ surfing best he could, “I had a good idea the surfer was Dane, so I designed this model around what I thought he’d like. I tried to blend Mick Fanning’s Duck Nuts model with Jack Freestone’s DX1. I kept it wider in the nose, with a Duck Nuts tail lift and made the single to double concave a touch deeper than normal.”
“I hope he loves it,” said Darren. “If it’s not dane, I’m fucked.”
Dane however, didn’t share Jules’ enthusiasm for his custom DHD: “I don’t know what’s going on, but I just didn’t like it.” He explains: “It feels like too much curve all around. The rocker curves in strange places. It didn’t really feel like it wanted to go down the line, and then water was doing something weird between the fins and it didn’t want to go the way I wanted it.” Though, Dane did admit the shape did allow him to “do a couple of ok turns.” If you study #66 in the feature, you’ll recognise the understatement here.
In case you missed the memo, we’re giving away all of the boards submitted for this year’s Stab In The Dark. Flick over this way to exercise your SITD knowledge and take a shot at winning a priceless piece of foam.
And, you can purchase our SITD shaper logo tees, right here:
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