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Simon Jones and Darren Handley, meeting for the first time and about to shape a board for Mick.

2 of 6 Electric Acid Shaping Pairs Revealed

“If he walked in here right now I’d probably think he was a customer.”

news // Aug 21, 2022
Words by Taylor Paul
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“If he walked in here right now I’d probably think he was a customer and try to sell him a surfboard.”  

That’s what Darren Handley said when we asked him if he knew soon-to-be shaping partner, Simon Jones. Later that morning, the two would hop in the bay to try and create a board that was not quite Darren, not quite Simon, but the best of each of them.  

Reminder: In the 2022 Electric Acid Surfboard Test, we recruited 12 shapers to collaborate on 6 boards that Mick would test in the Maldives. 

Six surfboard collabs, and one more by John and Liz that turned out pretty good. Photo: Trevor Moran

The first pair we’d like to introduce are Darren Handley (DHD), Mick’s lifelong shaper, and Simon Jones (Morning Of The Earth), a man who’s won the Electric Acid Surfboard Test three times. 

Darren and Simon were undeniable favorites against the five other pairings, for the reasons mentioned above. But funny things can happen when you bring together two strangers pushing 60 years old — masters of their craft, with long-held beliefs and design gospels etched in firmly-cured resin — to collaborate on a single board. 

It’s not always as straightforward as you’d think. 

And how do two shapers “collaborate” anyway? Is it just on the computer? Does one take the tail and the other takes the nose? Do they hand off the planer and sandpaper? Does the visiting shaper bring their own tools? These were questions that we didn’t have answers to, and most of our shapers didn’t, either. 

But that’s the fun of it. As Simon said in our pre-shaping interview, “Surfing is this thing where you have to keep evolving, or it becomes frustrating and not fun…not what it was.”

If Darren and Simon were the veterans of this project, Ryan Burch and John Simon were the rookies. Or, at least, John Simon was. In fact, while reviewing one of the computer-generated transcripts of his interview, the first question said, “How long have you been shaving?” 

John Simon, bright eyed and asymmetrical tailed.

Considering the baby faced mugshot you see above, I thought, what a perfect first question. Of course, the question was actually, “how long have you been shaping.” 

“Six or seven years,” the 21-year-old from Ventura replied.

Longer than he’s been shaving, certainly.

When selecting this year’s shapers, one of our goals was to introduce some new talent. Yes, there are plenty of staples and a few household names included, but more than a quarter of the field is made up of shapers you’ve likely never heard of, or who haven’t been part of previous Acid Tests. 

Which is scary, because who knows if they’re ready for something like this? But it made us feel better that, when we told alt-craft demigod Ryan Burch who he’d been paired with, excitement belied his normally muted tone. “Yeah” he said. “I’d love to make a board with him.”  

As for John Simon’s shaping style? 

“I’m best known for quads, assyms and a lot of alternative performance shortboards,” he said. “I like to look at the performance surfing you would on a thruster, but find new ways to get there.” 

Perfect. Because Mick was very clear that there would be no performative soul arches or nursed turns on these boards. He wanted to rip. 

Mick on an un-nursed 7’0″ twinnie. Photo: Trevor Moran

The first episode of Electric Acid drops September 1.

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