From far out on a gently bending shoulder, water separates around the anodized mast of an F-One branded surf foil as the company’s chief tester, Micka Fernandez, lays into a high-speed arc on an open face before transitioning into a sweeping cutback under the heaving lip of a right facing point break. Dakhla’s Oum Lamboiur is peeling just overhead with perfectly groomed groundswell. Like hitting a line on a backcountry powder run, Micka initiates drawn out turns, banking against the gentle grade of the distant shoulder before accelerating back into the wave’s face for a high speed carve. Foiling almost a quarter mile down the line, his ride is seemingly endless, but when he finally reaches the distant shore pound, Micka quickly flips his board around and briskly paddles back out, eager to catch the next wave.
The picture is perfect, if you can see past the carnage of F-One’s dealer meeting crowding an otherwise empty lineup. All of various levels, an army of French shop owners are scattered on SUPs amongst the pristine point break while Micka hunts sets and skillfully glides through the battlefield of SUPs without any bloodshed, all the while testing F-One’s 1400cm prototyped wing. With razor-like reflex adjustments, Micka catches another wave; paddling the board just under the lip, he extends into a drop stance in the pit of a set wave before gently pumping the foil into surf-like flight.The talent with which Micka plys F-One’s latest surf foil is one of many. Not only is Micka a master of the foil, he’s a remarkable specimen of the Gallic waterman. Earlier that morning on the higher tide, Micka’s weapon of choice alternated between a 5’4” Mitu Pro Carbon and the more classically surf-shaped F-One Signature. While both boards are designed for kitesurfing, Micka takes his job as lead equipment tester seriously, to such an extent that he’s proving that F-One’s kitesurf boards can be paddled prone, be it by a pro-caliber athlete. It’s tempting to describe the wiry yet lean and muscular Frenchman as a jack-of-all-trades, but that implies mediocrity across all channels and wouldn’t be giving this quiet powerhouse anywhere near the credit he deserves. Put simply, Micka rips on any board he takes to the water.