Mitsunori Kumagai's "Kuma Fish" Wins MF Softboards Global Shaper Challenge


The World Surf League (WSL) x MF Softboards Global Shaper Challenge was conceived to raise awareness of the creatives who are the heart and soul of the sport of surfing as part of the WSL's #StayLocal campaign, which shines a light on the world's best surfers supporting their local surf communities and inspiring surfers everywhere to do the same.

Shapers, designers and creatives from all surf regions globally were invited to enter a CNC file and softboard design concept and the response was overwhelming.


Four designs were selected through a public vote via the WSL Instagram story to progress to the final.

Designs from Alex Crews @acsod, Axel Lorentz @pukassurf @axellorentz, Mitsunori Kumagai @kumasurfboards and Gerardo Candelaria Perez @cevichesurfco were produced utilising MF Softboards production process which is the global bench mark for performance softboards.

Along with the four finalists Mick also selected two entries to move directly into the final. The wildcards are Duke Aipa @aipasurf and Kamalei Woolsey Alexander from @modernhawaiiancollective.

Starting with the CNC file that each designer submitted during round one of the competition we milled their design from an EPS blank. Once the EPS core was finish shaped our Hybrid Carbon Spine and Epoxy Shell construction was utilised to ensure maximum performance in the water.


All six boards were delivered to Mick for him to put them through their paces on the peeling righthand walls of his home break Snapper Rocks.

So please keep reading to get some insight into our six finalists:

Alex Crews

Tugun Australia

The Slow Burn is a fast and stable board that works best with the FCS2 split keel, quad set up. It has in incredible amount of speed, glide and manoeuvrability due to its unique hydro hull bottom shape. The double concave generates an amazing amount of speed, whilst the beveled rails allow for a wide turning radius. Great for punters who want a board that will catch waves easy and give them a tonne of speed in surf where you generally have to generate your own. For the more advanced surfer, it's a fun option for a guy who wants to go fast and put together some fluid rail surfing, with a touch of modern flare. A unique and popular model I already make and offer in my range.

Works best in 1-4ft opened faced beach breaks or points.

Gerardo Candelaria Perez

Mexico, Cabo Baja Sur.

@cevichesurfco wanted to make a mini softboard to have fun and go fast on and would be good for kids to learn how to surf on as well. Coming in at 5’0 x 19 7/8 x 2 1/2 29.28L it well and truly did the job!!

Duke Aipa


A wildcard in the @wsl x @mfsoftboards Global Shaper Challange is a design from Duke Aipa @aipasurf selected by @mfanno to go directly into the final due to extreme levels of froth once seeing the original design on paper!

Duke has described this design as an evolved version of a hybrid knee/surfboard that my dad made for Buttons Kaluhiokalani in the mid 70's.

The board this was inspired from a board used by Buttons to surf a spot where surfing was black balled. No boards over 5’6” with fins were allowed. Buttons grabbed a knee board, took the fin out and surfed it finless.

This design is 4’10 x 19 3/4 x 2 5/8 x 28.99 litres.

Axel Lorentz ;


A Pukas @pukassurf model designed by Axel Lorentz @axellorentz “Most of us move forward when standing still on a mid length but have a hard time to move it. That’s what inspired me when shaping a board for my daughter; we both wanted a beauty of a board that would allow us to surf together in all type of conditions.

It can be ridden as a tri fin, a quad, a combo or a 2+1 which I think is the most trendy and versatile selection nowadays. We named this model "La Côte" making reference of all the classic surf Spots in the Biarritz area, Gethary, etc...“ This design is 7’0 x 21 1/2 x 3 48.62L

Mitsunori Kumagai

Gold Coast Australia

"Great Small Wave Catcher" The Flat deck makes increases the volume to help catch waves and provide more speed in poor conditions, A Slight forward placed concave bottom with a deep exit Vee that increases the tail rocker. This board is incredibly fast and finds hidden pockets of speed on waves. Enjoy..............."

Mitsunori Kumagai is KUMA surfboards shaper. He was born and grew up in Japan. In 2005 Kuma decided to move to Australia to pursue his passion of surfing and make surfboards. His first board was shaped in a garage at a rented house. Since then he has been shaping surfboards for 15 years.
This design is 5'6 x 20 1/16 x 2 3/8 29.38L

Kamalei Woolsey Alexander


"This design is a real good all around length for all levels and sizes, the low rail helps keep the response factor and the higher centre allows for great flotation. The outline is really clean and appealing whilst having a centre box for a single fin but also works really well with a FCSII keel or semi keels for the twin option!

I love riding all types of boards and fin designs and watching Mick do the same has been super inspiring !!! he fkn rips !!!"

This design is: 6'10 x 21 x 2 7/8 45.27L

THE prize

The winning design will be included in the 2021 MF Softboards range with the designer winning a global manufacturing distribution royalty agreement!

@mfsoftboards @mfanno @wsl and #staylocal