A non-launch of a model, as seen ridden by non-team with a non-bias perspective. A note from Hayden...
"This is a non-launch of a model reviewed and ridden by two high profile yet non-Haydenshapes team surfers. I’ve kept it under the radar to a degree – in fact, it never even had a name until recently. There is no denying the popularity of the Hypto Krypto and the role it has played in putting the Haydenshapes brand on the global map. The Hypto is a freak that may never be topped and it's still a staple in Craig Anderson's quiver, along with the thousands of surfers that continue to love and ride that model all over the world. But this isn't about the Hypto... It's about shortboards, a specific shortboard. The heights of the Hypto, a hybrid shape, has in many cases brought about the assumption that shortboards aren't necessarily my thing. With full transparency, the designer in me is definitely more inclined to push a few boundaries with our model line up from displacement hulls, to side cuts, unique materials, non typical outlines etc all whilst making them user friendly and enjoyable to ride for not only my team but the wider audience. I’ll be the first to admit that a typical contest style shortboard doesn’t necessary dominate our brand offering – and I’m unapologetic about that. But it definitely is our thing and I believe we do it well – even if we are more subtle and low key about it than others.
The Darkside was created on the spot and off the cuff in my Mona Vale shaping bay for Stab In The Dark 2016 presuming (by the brief given) it would be Dane Reynolds taking it for it’s first test drive. Given it had never been surfed before by myself, staff or team, it added even more risk to an already risky exercise for any shaper to take part in – particularly with Dane’s brash honesty about boards. It could either be cooked to death in a very public fashion, not even register any interest at all or have something special about it.
Dane picked it amongst his top 4 favourites of the 13 submitted in the blind test. I then shaped ‘Darkside’ number 2 for Taj Burrow to ride in a ‘tech test’ for Surfing Life Mag, this time in FF, which he liked a lot and ended up holding onto for a trip to Japan for ‘Billabong Bloodlines’ soon after. Like Dane, Taj and the Darkside seemed to get along well. The 2 out of 2 result at this point looked pretty good.
Since, I’ve shaped it for our own team who all ride and love it. We could go down our traditional path of a board release – upload a product/model page on our site, film myself breaking down the specifics in a video, a team marketing clip etc. In this instance I decided not to do any of that – after all, it’s a non-launch. Currently, the only footage we do have of the Darkside being ridden/reviewed is all third party content. We don’t own it and we didn’t create it, but are just spectators like the rest. The surfers are also not our athletes nor do they have any vested interests in plugging or supporting the brand. Their opinions are un-bias.
Although this isn’t an official model release, a limited few can get their hands on a Darkside and buy it either directly through Haydenshapes or through a small selection of our core surfboard retailers in America, Australia and our loyal and awesome brand community in Israel. I’ve listed them below.
I named it the ‘Darkside’ as a bit of a piss-take on crossing over into a board territory that I’ll admit I don’t prioritize too often amongst the other design concepts constantly floating around in my head. I’d describe it as a sensitive high performance driven design with 1 or 2 elements derived from the ‘Blakcat’ - one of my earliest models starting out and my first ever best seller. A shortboard – who’d have thought."
Darkside no. 1 in PE
Test Pilot: Stab In the Dark.
Photo: Alan van Gysen // Stab
A compilation of the Haydenshapes Highlights from Stab in the Dark 2016 - Dane riding Darkside...
Footage via Stab Mag, pulled from full length SITD Feature. View entire Stab In the Dark feature here.
Hayden on designing 'Darkside' (before it had a name....)