How is the performance of MF soft boards? Did Mick Fanning produce a quality soft top? We put the 5’8 DHD twin to the test.
– I had a blast surfing on the MF 5’8. It honestly feels like riding a rigid board which makes turning and pumping much easier. The MF softboards are much different from other foam boards. Here’s why –
Mick Fanning is transitioning from CT surfer to businessmen. One of his ventures is MF soft boards, together with Marc Matthews.
MF Soft boards have popped up all over Europe lately. I was eager to test one of his boards and I ended up riding the 5’8 DHD Twin. This is a wide fish-shaped foam board aimed at intermediate and advanced surfers.
The MF DHD Twin comes with three FCS fin slots. I surfed it with a twin fin setup (and a traction pad). The board comes in aqua blue and grey and is available in Australia, New Zealand, Asia the US and Europe.
On MF Softboards’ website the description is the following: The Twin fin has been designed for summer fun! a little nostalgia with a modern day twist makes this perfect for 1 to 4ft surf.
So what does DHD mean? DHD stands for Darren Handley Designs. Darren Handley is Mick Fannings’ lifelong shaper from the Gold Coast, Australia. They have been working on shapes together and apparently he is involved in Micks’ new soft top venture too. You can see that the MF DHD Twin is inspired by the DHD summer series.
We also tested the MF softboards Eugenie 5’10. Read our review here:
The MF Twin Fin soft board is currently available in sizes 5’4, 5’8 and 6’0. Some technical specs: the deck is 6oz + 2 x 4oz E-Cloth + 4mm IXPE Soft Skin. The bottom is 6oz E-Cloth + 4mm Slick Skin HDPE. FCSII: 3 Fin Boxes Ships With FCSII SoftFlex Performer Thruster Set ONLY
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)
Is this little blue gem expensive? I don’t think so… it’s a bit pricier than the Olaian and other entry level boards but given that they are really durable I think the price is really fair! You can check current prices here in the MF international shop.
Oh hey and we’ve found a nice little video of Matty Wilkinson surfing the DHD in soft but sweet waves. Mick: if you’re reading this… Please get the Queen (Stephanie Gilmore, my all time favorite surfer) on one of these and send me the video!
Our experience surfing the MF 5’8 soft board
Time to put the DHD fish foamie to the test. When I tested the MF soft board the waves were small but pretty steep and glassy. I normally ride a 5’10 so this board was a bit shorter than my own shortboard. I figured the volume might make up for it, which it does. But in reality the surfing experience is a bit different since the push of the wave arrives just a tiny bit later. After I got used to this ‘late push’ I got the hang of it. I had so much fun in hip-high waves that day! The board isn’t the cheapest compared to other soft tops but I say it’s worth is. Here’s why:
The board has much more grip than other foamies we tested. Sure, I still suggest to wax it properly, but the soft skin of the deck is not slippery at all.
What also stood out: The wide shape feels very logical and compared to other foamies the rails looked sharp and well-designed. The board is very light weight and easy to carry around.
The 5’8 wasn’t the magic carpet for tiny waves. Some soft tops will literally allow you to catch any ripple and shred ankle-high waves. Not this one. You need a bit of size in the wave to paddle in.
The MF 5’8 is more performance-oriented so naturally it likes steep waves. I loved how it behaves on the take-off: it feels stable yet quick. And once your in the wave it doesn’t feel like a soft top at all!
The reason why Mick Fanning Softboards are good for intermediate and advanced surfers is because they have little to no flex. This is because of the glassing under the layer of foam. You see, some foam boards are literally blanks wrapped in a thick layer of foam (read more in our piece on soft top technology) The MF softboards have a layer of glassing between the blank and the foam deck. This makes it much more stiff which is important for making quick turns and this is also what experienced surfers look for. I’m not sure what the wings do in terms of generating speed, but they sure look impressive.
It’s super fast on the rails and you really need to make turns to shake off some speed. And making turns isn’t a problem with this foam fish. The board is really easy to push around. It’s really good to practice backside snaps. All in all the board is one of the best foamies I have ridden in hip- to shoulder high waves. It is one of the few soft tops that can seriously compete with a rigid board. If you’re looking for a board to take as your only board on surf trips the MF 5’8 DHD twinnie is worth it.
More about MF Softboards
The quickest surfer on the planet has his own foamie brand now. In 2016 he and his business partner, Mark Mathews, founded Mick Fanning Soft Boards. The brand released a few different models that come in a range of sizes. They offer the Beastie, Little Marley, the DHD Twin + the DHD Black Diamond and Eugenie now. The Beastie is a super voluminous board that promises to be an alternative to a longboard. In our opinion, besides the DHD Twin, the Little Marley is the pretty pony of the bunch. This ultra wide board has a five fin setup and promises no drag. At FoamieCrew we’re excited to test more MF boards the next months.
One of the reasons why Mick started this product venture was, in his words, to make the crowded spots safer. That one of his home breaks, the righthand pointbreak of Snapper Rocks can be crowded is an understatement. Snapper is notorious for board to board an board to human collisions. In an interview about Mick Fanning Soft Boards the founding father said that he could only imagine how much safer Snapper would be if more surfers would ride foamies.
Negative experiences surfing the MF 5’8 DHD
It turns so easily that on some waves I dug rail. With my 60kg and not super high ability level I feel like the 6’0 might be a bit better for me instead of the 5’8.
Also, when you’re going really fast the board can become a bit wobbly. If I want to ride shorebreak barrels I would not choose this soft top. I would advise to consider the MF DHD Black Diamond. With a round/pintail this MF board looks and surfs the most like a shortboard (but then waaay more fun!). I haven’t published a review on the DHD Black Diamond, but you can see specs and prices here on MF’s website.