In 2018, the surfing world was surprised when Mick Fanning – the White Lightning, announced his retirement. He was approaching his 17th year when he said he lost his drive to compete on a day to day basis.
His contribution to the surfing world was not just about his rides, trophies, and medals. Mick Fanning has a superb line of softboards that a lot of riders, both beginners and professionals have had a great time riding.
The same year he announced his retirement from the World Tour was the same time he landed in the surfboard market with his new collection of MF Softboards. These are the soft breed of surfboards that are definitive to make your surfing better. Does it live up to its promise? Let’s find out.
Top Mick Fanning Softboards Review
#1. MF x DHD Twin
- 5’4 x 19 1/2 x 2 5/16 27L
- 5’8 x 20 x 2 3/8 30.5L
- 6’0 x 20 3/4 x 2 1/2 35L
- Color: Aqua Blue, Gray, Island Paradise, Soy
- Fin: FCSII, Futures
x DHD Twin by MF is a wide fish-shaped foam board that is aimed at intermediate and advanced riders. It comes with three FCS fin slots. This surfboard is available in Australia, New, Zealand, Asia, the US, and Europe.
But, what does DHD mean? DHD is the initials for Darren Handley Designs. A lifelong shaper for Mick Fanning, he has worked with the former on shapes and has been involved in his new soft top venture, as well.
This board offers more grip than most foamies available in the market. While you can apply wax on it if you prefer, the deck is pretty soft but not slippery at all. The broad shape feels deems logical compared to other foamies. Plus, the rails look sharp and well-designed.
Very light and easy to carry around, x DHD Twin is performance-oriented so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it likes steep waves. It behaves nicely during take-off, feels stable but very quick. Once you’ve set in the wave, it won’t feel like you are on a soft-top at all.
X DHD Twin has little to almost no flex. This is the reason it is good for intermediate and advanced surfers. The glassing under the layer of foam helps to achieve this since most foam boards are literally blanks that are wrapped in a thick layer of foam.
#2. MF Eugenie
- 4’10 x 16 7/8 x 2 1/8 19.04L
- 5’6 x 19 1/2 x 2 3/8 27.74L
- 5’10 x 20 x 2 5/8 33.35L
- Color: Coral, White
- Fin: FCSII, Futures
Just like x DHD Twin, Eugenie is one broad foam board that is aimed at intermediate and advanced surfers. MF is truly focused on making shortboard-like soft tops, unlike most soft tip brands. It comes with three FCS fins but you can also use it with your own fin set up.
Eugenie is perfect for kids learning to surf too. The shape is also confirmed to act well as a small wave summer option for experienced surfers. It may seem to be a little more expensive than the Olaian and other entry-level softboards, but since it has proven its durability, the price is just right.
It is a magic carpet for tiny waves. It is one of those softboards that will plainly allow you to ride any ripple and shred even ankle-high waves. Plus, not only is it great in take-offs, but it is also perfect in letting you go for a proper and sharp turn.
This performance-oriented softboard naturally goes well with steep waves. It is fast on the rails and you may need to do turns to shake off some speed. Making turns with other softboards considering the speed already generated is hard, but not with a Eugenie.
It allows you to paddle in every sort of wave and get proper turns just like with a shortboard. One of the best foamies out there and one of the few soft tops that can compete with a stiff board.
#3. MF Catfish
- 5’4 x 19 1/4 x 2 1/4 27L
- 5’8 x 20 x 2 1/2 33L
- 5’10 x 20 1/4 x 2 3/4 37L
- Color: White, Coral
- Fin: FCSII, Futures
One of the newest boards in the MF quiver, Catfish is another high-performance softboard that is fast and fun. Inspired by the experimental 1970s boards that were fast and had no rules.
A hybrid design, it has a slightly decreased nose area compared to a standard quad fish. The bottom is intended to intensify the water flow under the front foot and then discharge it with ease through its fins and tail. What comes out of it is fast acceleration with a drive out of turns.
The design of Catfish is allegedly the response to those wanting a softboard in their quiver that will allow them to surf in a more diverse range of water conditions. It features a medium to low rocker that lets you paddle well and catch waves easily, generating more speed with minimal effort.
Compared to standard keel or quad fish, Catfish has a slightly decreased nose area. This softboard is available in FCSII or Futures Fin, although it can be upgraded to FCSII Split Keel or Futures Controller set, multiple fin setup – tri, twin, and quad, too.
#4. MF Beastie
- 6’0 x 20 x 2 5/8 37.01L
- 6’6 x 22 x 2 3/4 46.19L
- 7’0 x 22 x 2 3/4 50.05L
- 7’6 x 22 5/8 x 2 7/8 57.51L
- 8’0 x 22 5/8 x 2 7/8 61.52L
- Color: Aqua, White
- Fin: FCSII, Futures
On a day where waves are pumping with perfect shoulder high left and right, the perfect stick is one that is not too hollow and with a high volume. Beastie is one heavy softboard but is not totally a problem when transporting as int comes with a handle that makes it easy to carry around.
The above-average weight plays a role when in the water. While it lets you feel that it needs more time to get up to speed, once it does, it can get pretty fast. It holds rail that allows you to ride up and down the face of the wave.
There is no bouncy flex on Beastie that most big soft tops tend to have. This is because MF has its technology that keeps a layer of glassing between the blank and the foam deck. It allows for more stiffness which is vital for making quick turns.
Plus, MF Softboards technology has the sticks very rigid being wrapped in foam. That allows for a stiffer and more durable softboard.
#5. MF Little Marley
- 5’2 x 21 x 2 5/16 29L
- 5’4 x 21 3/8 x 2 3/8 32L
- 5’6 x 21 3/4 x 2 1/2 35L
- 5’8 x 22 1/8 x 2 11/16 39L
- 5’10 x 22 1/2 x 2 13/16 43L
- Color: Aqua, White
- Fins: FCSII, Futures
Little Marley is a stiff soft top. With bottom turns that are incredibly smooth, it can definitely hold the rail. Aside from that, it has the right volume, a cool shape, and the best thing – the endless possibilities of fin setup.
This board, among all of MF quiver, is specifically designed to get the most out of small and choppy beach breaks. It has an ultra-wide shape and a broad diamond tail that keeps some extra volume. It can be quite chubby at 5’10 with 43L of volume.
The bottom sheet gives impressive concave that has not been seen in a lot of soft tops before. Additionally, its rails are not so round but nice and square towards the bottom. You will sure to love the fact that it has five fin boxes. This allows you to ride it thruster, quad, or twin.
Little Marley may come off as a “small wave” board. It isn’t. It is fun to ride even in bigger waves. Little Marley can even outshine longboards and shortboards in high and choppy fat waves. The buoyancy plays a huge role in its take-off.
Mick Fanning Softboards Review
MF Surfboards/Softboards are inspired by Mark Matthews and designed by Mick Fanning himself. His brand blurs the thin line between softboard and standard surfboard in a way that a lot of surfers will feel like they are not really soft tops at all.
MF Softboards provided a breakdown of their board composition with:
- Hydro Carbon Spine. Hydrocarbon fiber cloth is sunken into the deck of the EPS Core. It acts similarly to a leaf spring, providing storage of conceivable energy during bottom turns with a progressive release leading to a smooth transition during top turns.
- E-Cloth/Epoxy Internal Shell. The EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) core is laminated with layers of high-grade E-cloth and Epoxy resin creating a strong internal shell.
- Soft Exterior Shell. Mick Fanning Softboards’ exterior has 4mm IXPE (irradiation cross-linked polyethylene) deck skin and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) bottom skin the forms a totally soft surface.
All MF Softboards are created with a sponge-like material called foam. Each has a defining characteristic in compliance with other boards in the market. They all offer impressive stability and are ideal for catching smaller waves. The materials they are made of aid in avoiding strong blows to other riders.
The innards of MF Surfboards consists of a nucleus with an EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) shaped foam by a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. Such a machine makes all boards’ shape lightweight with flex, performance, and durability.
These foams follow the same manufacturing process as the majority of epoxy boards from big brands.
The upper part of the board is carbon fiber. It is inserted on the top part of the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) nucleus which keeps the energy that is created during the bottom turn and free it incrementally.
The bottom part of the surfboard also has a layer of 6oz of fiberglass combined with a layer of 4mm HDPE (High-density polyethylene) foam.
All of the MF Softboards have FCS (Fin Control System) fin system. The plastic fins come when you purchase the softboard. But, you can also choose to modify it with the fiberglass and carbon fins. Both are sold separately.
The best that can work on MF Softboards, one that will give the rider the good balance between velocity, grip, and maneuverability is the Mick Fanning Neo Carbon FCS.
Mick Fanning and The Great White Shark
He was 36 when he brought down his curtain on an illustrious career. The one which earned him 3 world titles and 22 individual events at Bell’s Beach, the same beach where he bagged his first-ever Champions Tour title as a wildcard entry in 2001.
The wildcard victory set him on the glorious path to the elite level and three world titles followed in 2007, 2009, and 2013.
Another event that added to his line of adventures was his close encounter with the Great White Shark in 2015. Barely 2 minutes into the J-Bay Open finals at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, Fanning was in the water with competitor Julian Wilson when a white shark swam right next to him.
The surfing world held its breath as it was shown on national TV how he disappeared into the water for 9 agonizing minutes. He miraculously came out unscathed. The shark bit off Fanning’s leash that allowed him to swim back to the shore.
Again, in 2017 in the same bay, he was plucked from the water by another great white shark.
He confirmed that the shark encounters had nothing to do with his decision to retire. Surfing for 17 years made him feel like he can no longer give his 100% anymore. He felt like he was not enjoying it as much as he did during his younger years.
Fanning had quite some highlights in his career, including being appointed as the Officer of Order of Australia for services to surfing. However, behind the excitement and fun on the waters, it wasn’t all that plain sailing for him.
He had personal tragedies throughout his life. He lost two of his brothers – Sean in a car accident in 1998 and Peter who quietly passed on in his sleep in 2015. He had injuries that were career-threatening. It was 2004 when he had a torn hamstring off his bone that had him sit it out for several months.
Mick Fanning aims to be the leader in the high-performance softboards niche. As his brand’s tagline says, “More performance than any other softboard on the market.”
But what makes it different? Mick says they focused on performance issues and resolved them by utilizing construction techniques and materials that are usually reserved for innovative and high-performance surfboards. All blended with materials and methods with traditional softboard construction.
No wonder Mick Fanning still has his hands full even after retirement.