"We had another name for this board," shaper Darren Handley told the WSL the new Mick Fanning model he's been working on, "but after the fire at the factory, we thought the Phoenix was more appropriate."
It is the first new model release since the DHD Surfboards factory on the Gold Coast was destroyed by a fire on Boxing Day last year. The germ of the idea for the Phoenix however had come a long time before the blaze.
"With Mick it's always a lot of trial and error. And when we get something right, only then do we look to make a model," says Handley. "I made Mick a 5'6" version of this about 15 months ago and we have been modifying it ever since."
The board initially started out as quad fin, then a swallow, before Handley and Fanning settled on the current squash tail and three-fin set up. The 5'6" however was new territory in their 20 years of working together.
"Apart from some twin-fins It's the shortest board I've made for Mick," says Handley. "But it's designed to be one to four inches shorter than your normal shortboard and one to two liters bigger in volume."
They've scaled that through extra width in the nose, a flatter deck and lower rails.
"The low rails mean you can transition and bury them, and means it really holds up in conditions up to four or five feet," explains Mick. "It just goes so fast and makes surfing smaller waves that much more fun. I'm hooked."
Handley has used the same single-to-double concave bottom template that Mick has had on his small-wave boards for years, but just flattened the rocker and deepened the double concave. The boards were initially going to be sized from 5'4" up to 5'6", but already demand for bigger sizes means they now go all the way through to 6'4". There is also a range of widths, from thinner pro sizes to wider shaped boards for more average surfers.
"We didn't know whether it was a good time to release the Phoenix with the coronavirus going on," concludes Handley, "but Mick was so excited he was like, 'Darren, give the people what they want.' And so we did."
For more head to https://dhdsurf.com/