Stab Magazine | Mick Fanning Disqualified This Stab In The Dark Board Because It Was "Cheating"

Mick Fanning Disqualified This Stab In The Dark Board Because It Was “Cheating”

Welcome to the keys in the punchbowl relationship of Mick Fanning and Darren “DHD” Handley. 

Words by stab

Mick made one request prior to Stab in the Dark: To exclude his shaper of over two decades, Darren Handley. We made a point to agree, saying that it wouldn’t happen.

Once we had Mick convinced DH would most definitely not construct a board, we called up Darren and requested a board.

Before we get into that, let’s take a glance in the rearview:

In 2015, Julian Wilson, our inaugural Stab in the Dark mystery surfer, crowned the DHD the best surfboard in the world. Jules said the best surfboards have “spark” and the DHD had just that. A DHD, however, hasn’t graced the final podium of SITD since Julian gave it the nod in 2015. 

This year, proud of our sneaky submission, we deflated the moment Mick picked up the DHD and said, “I think this is a DH. He would make a swallow tail, ‘cuz he’s a weirdo.”

Then, when Mick eventually rode the DH, it connected to his feet like a worn-in pair of bottle-opening thongs, set to his every liking – relaxing as a mojito in the summer breeze. The board made the top three. But, in Mick’s eyes, the success and familiar feel disqualified the blade. “I know exactly what it is,” he scoffed. “It’s cheating.”

So, he set the DHD aside and gave the Channel Islands and Pukas another run to eventually declare the 2018 Stab in the Dark winner at home.

Hit play for an intimate glimpse into Mick and Darren’s open surfer/shaper relationship. As Mick puts it, in words that won’t fly with your significant other, “I always wanted to try new things. And the understanding was, you can’t get better unless you try.”

Want to give a replica of the DHD Mick axed from Stab in the Dark a run? Head over to Awayco for how and where you can sink your feet in its wax.

Also, all boards in Stab in the Dark with Mick Fanning were constructed from eco-friendly proprietary blanks in partnership with Sustainable Surf

Stab in the Dark is now available for purchase wherever you live and across (almost) all pay-per-view platforms.

If you’d like to watch the film, hit whichever link below you have you CC saved in:



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