World-class shapers Darren Handley, Matt Biolos, Johnny Cabianca, Christian Bradley, and Dylan Longbottom on how to order a perfect couple of fibreglass travel companions.
Travelling with surfboards ain’t easy. With airlines charging like wounded bulls, surfers are being forced to make difficult decisions on their mobile quiver. Having talked to some of the best shapers in the business, the good news is that a two board quiver can do the job if you do it right. The bad news is, it’s easy to get it wrong!
That’s why Wavelength asked Matt Biolos, Darren Handley, Johnny Cabianca, Christiaan Bradley, and Dylan Longbottom for some deep insights. By finding out what sticks they’d make for themselves for their own ultimate two-stick quiver, we’re hoping you too can get the right one-two combo for all your surfing adventures. First off the rack are Darren Handley, Johnny Cabianca, and Christiaan Bradley
Darren Handley, DHD Surfboards
Darren Handley grew up on the Gold Coast, and spent ten years shaping at ‘Pipe Dreams’ under Murray Bourton before launching his label, DHD, 20 years ago. He’s had his most World Titles with Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore, but his current stable of surfers includes Owen Wright, Liam O’Brien, and Ethan Ewing. DH was once a sponsored surfer, and now 50, still surfs regularly at home on the Goldie and on team trips all over the world.
“On all surf trips, you aren’t guaranteed pumping waves so you should take something pretty close to the shortboard you ride at home. Our pick would be the Mick Fanning DNA model. I’d use a square or roundtail. It’s wide enough up front so that it’s not super high performance and as it has 12 years of R and D with rockers and concaves, it is a real rocket for punters in average waves.
For the step-up, our Sweetspot 2.0 has been our best seller and has had great feedback. It’s a roundtail, five-fin setup and as it has a wide nose and isn’t too rocketed, is an absolute paddle machine. It’s based on a simple concept. Paddle paddle, barrel barrel, cut cut.
In terms of size, if we use me as an example, I surf okay but am getting old, yet still want my waves. At home I’d ride a 5’11”, but if I’m going away I’d take a 6’0” or 6’1” for the shortboard and a 6’4” or even 6’5” for the sweet spot, with extra litreage.
That’s because I want to make sure I get that one wave or that one barrel that makes the trip. Your mates don’t talk about the reo you did over beers that night. The chat is always about the wave of the day. You want to make sure you have the volume that has you feeling confident that you can take off when that big set comes your way.”
Johnny Cabianca, Cabianca Surfboards
Cabianca grew up surfing in Maresias, Brazil, and shaped his first board for Gabriel Medina when the World Champ was 14. Now based in Zarautz in the Basque Country, Cabianca shapes boards exclusively for Medina as well as a range of emerging Brazilian and European talent.
“You are going to need a board for waves in the one-to-three-foot range. Say we are talking about an average surfer around 85 kilos. Now for sure, he’s going to have a few beers and eat some good food on his holidays, that’s the whole point, right? I’d use our Medina Model, around 5’11” by 19 1/2” x 2 3/8” with a volume above 30 litres. It has a wide tail, low rocker and a combination of concave to V bottom. It’s super stable, but responsive.
“For bigger and better waves, I’d step up to our DFK model, which is the one Gabriel has won on at Chopes and Fiji. I’d make it a bit longer at 6’2” by 19 3/8” x 2 3/8”. The roundtail works in good waves and with a single concave and performance rocker, you can keep the length down without losing volume.
I don’t like the five-fin setup, it’s just more holes in the tail. I think the quad setup doesn’t work for most surfers, so I’d keep it simple with the three fins. Same glassing as normal, but you could add some carbon tail patches if you want a bit more strength on the deck.”
Christiaan Bradley, Bradley Surfboards
Bradley is an Aussie who has been based in France for over two decades shaping out of the Euroglass Factory in Hossegor. He made CT winning boards for Kelly Slater and Jeremy Flores, and has a roster that includes Leo Fioravanti. Aged 40-odd, Bradley can be found surfing the Hossegor rip banks at most opportunities and towing when the swell gets too big for that.
“I’ll go from the personal angle of what is my ultimate two board travel quiver. I’m 90 kilograms, I’ve got two kids and my days at the gym are behind me. And I’ll tell you, fixing shit around the house doesn’t burn calories. So I’d take my Solution model at 6’3” by 20” x 2 5/8” at 35 plus litres. It’s basically a shortboard with more hidden volume, as I’m not really into larger noses in good waves. I mean, I’m not going travelling anywhere to surf shit waves, fuck that!
However, I’d really hope that the waves are going to be epic. For pumping waves, I want a rounded pin 6’6″. I’d take my One model. It has drive and handles power and holds in the barrel. I’d pull it in a bit and thin it out a touch off my shortboard dimensions. Let’s say 6’6” by 19 3/4” x 2 9/16” for 35 litres. Now extra length is out of fashion, but I’m from Tasmania and we always surfed longer boards. I mean a 6’6” was my shortboard back in the day. If it is overhead you don’t want to be fucking around on a board you find too flicky.”
Heading off in search of warmer waves this winter? Check out our Winter Surf Escape collection for your reef break essentials.