Prediction: Tomorrow’s Hottest HP Will Be Sharp Eye’s Synergy Model  - Stab Mag

Prediction: Tomorrow’s Hottest HP Will Be Sharp Eye’s Synergy Model 

Jack Robinson and Stace Galbraith discuss the explosion of Marcio Zouvi’s boards on the CT.

features // Aug 1, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 7 minutes

In partnership with Sharp Eye.

True or false?

  • 60% of men and 40% of women who made the WSL Final 5 last season rode Sharpeye’s
  • 7/23 (30%) men on the CT now ride Sharpeye’s 
  • Sharpeye won the first Stab in the Dark (SITD) they entered
  • The first non-chlorinated event Jack Robinson rode a Sharpeye in, he won
  • Sharpeye is the only label to have AU, EU, HAW, BRA and IND reps currently on the CT
  • The first 500 ‘Synergy’ models were sold out at pre-sale

If you answered ‘true’ to all of the above, you are correct – the Sharpeye explosion is just a tad hotter than a Trinidad Scorpion at present. Indeed, Marcio Zouvi has flipped more CT surfers this season than your average 13-year-old acne-riddled grill monkey has flipped buns. 

New-ish recruits. The Sharpeye CT roster now includes: Filipe Toledo, Jack Robinson, Leonardo Fioravanti, Barron Mamiya, Kanoa Igarashi, Rio Waida, Seth Moniz, Johanne Defay and Tatiana Weston-Webb

‘One hot day doesn’t make a summer’ you might sass, (rightfully) scoffing at surfing’s transient fetishisation of surfboards ridden by the top 0.1% – but there’s something unique about the pattern of Sharpeye adoption which really is unique. Namely, that it’s been a global warming towards Sharpeye with seven out of the eleven CT surfers riding their boards flying different flags. 

“All shapers have their place they’re specialized in. Like Matt Biolos at Trestles and Eric Awakawa in Hawaii, but the Sharpeye’s seem to just go good all round, I don’t know what it is. It’s the perfect name for them — Sharpeye.”

Jack Robinson

Why’s that weird? Look at the DHD roster: Ewing, Gilmore, Robson, O’Leary, LOB, Pickles… all Aussies. Mayhem: Carissa, Griffin, Yago, Marks, Gentil… all from the Americas. CI and Pyzel: JJF, Wright, McGillivray, Peterson… the US, SA and AUS. We’re a tribal bunch prone to proximity bias, whether we recognise it or not.

So how did a camera shy computer engineer from Rio with an affinity for vintage airplanes end up with the most diverse CT roster in surfing? 

Let’s study the curious case of Jack Robbo and Marcio Zouvi.  

“Yes I take full credit for changing the career trajectory of Jack Robinson,” jokes Stace Galbraith. “The first event he rode a Sharpeye in [@ The Ranch] he came dead last.”

“Jack was here [Gold Coast] between Rottnest Island and the wave pool,” he explains. “It’s funny with those high-profile guys, whenever they’re flirting with boards they keep it pretty under wraps. If you see a pro carrying boards in socks, most of the time something is going on. He was trying some CIs, some Staceys, some Awakawa’s. You could tell he was in that frame of mind, he was searching. That’s a caveat because it’s not like I paddle up to pros all the time and tell them to try my board…”

“That particular board was actually a PU Inferno 72 sprayed black, not the Dark Arts version Taj rode in SITD,” points out Stace. “To be honest, I was skeptical on Sharpeyes because there was so much hype – and then as soon as I got on it I loved it, particularly in the waves it was meant to go well in.”

As a side note: Taj’s SITD was the longest and most painstaking shot to date. What made Marcio’s win on his debut more impressive however, was that Taj didn’t guess a single board correctly and thought he may have been declaring a Vampirate the best high-performance shortboard of 2021. From the shaper’s end, incorporating Dark Arts technology presented an additional challenge of working with alien construction.

“Snapper was three-foot, as fun as it gets and we did the runaround together,” says Stace. “Jack was squaring it up and I just told him to take it. Sure enough it clicked and he ripped it. I knew instantly I wasn’t getting that board back. I think Matt Bemrose called Brendan Leckie and tried to order 12 boards the very next day, full price.” 

As the saying goes: not here to mate with arachnoids.

“It’s the product. That’s all it boils down to. Surfers are paranoid and boards are the first thing they will comment on, even if it’s not fair or rational. CT surfers aren’t getting sucked into paid marketing. They see what other guys are having success with and if they’re curious they sample the product.”

If you can recall – Jack was about to be booted from the tour before he won his maiden event in Mex. Then he made four more finals over the next year and won two of them.

“You could tell that he wasn’t doing the surfing he needed to at the waves he needed to be good in,” continues Stace. “He had an amazing heat with Jeremy Flores at Margaret River the week before, but he lost — you get kicked in the teeth sometimes. Jack is a CT-winning surfer, a World Title winning surfer given the right tour stops. He was always going to be a superstar and that was just fortunate timing that I lent him a board that worked. As soon as he got on Sharpeye it was a pretty substantial improvement I reckon.”

He parted ways with his longtime shaper Eric Awakawa shortly after.

“Surfer-shaper relationships have a lot of loyalty baked in. If you don’t like your shaper, you’re not going to like your boards (Jack and Eric still have a great relationship, for the record). But that’s what Sharpeye has done really well. Pros can bounce around the world and know that whether it’s Marcio or Brendan making their boards, they’re going to get something high-quality.”

“What the American labels have achieved in Aus is pretty impressive,” admits Stace. “Mayhem, Pyzel, Sharpeye – they’ve penetrated the market in a way that guys like DH and JS were never able to do in the US. Every second board in the lineup at Snapper is an American-owned brand. You don’t see many DHs at Trestles.

“That’s part of why it’s so hard to leave a shaper you like. It’s probably the hardest decision a young surfer ever has to go through. You see a lot of kids that are about to make the tour and they have to turn around to their shaper of 10+ years and say ‘Hey, I’m seeing someone else now’, right as they’re about to hit the big stage. Shaping isn’t glamorous and most shapers are good blokes. If any pro needs a kick up the arse they only need to spend a day hanging out with the groms doing hot coats in the factory. They are the bread and butter of the industry. Having to think about your future and have that difficult conversation might be the most confrontational thing they’ve ever done. It’s always for the better and it’s all growth. But it’s hard.”

“I was joking with Jack at Surf 100 that his board was too small. It’s pretty typical with super talented guys from Hawaii and West Oz to ride these tiny little boards. Once he beefed up his boards he instantly looked better in the waves he’d struggled at. It’s always validating as a coach when your advice pans out right. I know Leandro Dora had suggested the same.”

“When you jump on them it’s just a different speed. They’re so much faster and they can turn on a corner so much harder. They just feel electric, like there is an extra gear”

Jack Robinson
Study this hotsheet carefully.

Editor’s note: You can find the standard board information here – we figured getting Jack to talk about his experience moving to Sharpeye would be more interesting though.

Jack: Before I jumped on Sharpeyes I was riding boards way too small for me. I’m 82 kgs at the moment and I was riding 27L boards – they were like little toys. Since I’ve gone up to 30 or 30.5L – I feel like that suits my strength better. They look better, feel better under my arm too. It’s the first model I’ve ridden all year. I’ve ridden it in waves up to 10 foot – and that’s it primary function – high-performance from 3ft-10ft in waves with shape.

Stab: What do you want out of a high-performance shortboard?

I feel like my surfing has changed a lot, even since SITD. I’ve become less twitchy, and that board is the best board I’ve ever had on rail. The edges are so sharp and it’s smoothed out my surfing I feel. The last thing I want is to be sliding out, I want the board to go wherever I want it to. I like the way Parko and all those guys used to surf J Bay, so I want to do that but faster. To feel like it’s an extension of myself. They’re one of the best boards for putting on rail.

Like a knife through a crisp green apple. Photo by Ryan Miller

How is this different from Sharpeye’s other HP models?

Brendan had a secret file he was working off. It was based on the 77 but tweaked little by little. It has a super deep single concave and there’s a little more foam in the nose and tail pod. The deck is flatter too so it really drives. The Synergy is it’s own thing now, and that’s come about from developing and refining it with Brendan.

How was parting ways with Arakawa after being with him for so long?

You stick to one shaper for so long, and I was really loyal to Eric. That was hard because I had to talk to Eric after that event in Mexico and that conversation wasn’t easy. After 10 or 12 years it’s tough to part ways, you know? I still wanted to ride his boards in Hawaii and Tahiti and those kinds of places, but I did know deep down these boards are on another level. 

Order one here.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Why Jason Momoa Had A 26-Year Old Kauaian Surfer Write His United Nations Speech

Maluhia Kinimaka reminds us that professional surfing, science, and helping the planet are not mutually…

Sep 30, 2023

Maxed Out In France

Massive swell provides both ample playing field and entertainment for second day of competition at…

Sep 28, 2023

Is Australia’s Investment In Youth Surfing Working? A HP Coach Breaks Down The Model 

Watch: ‘Limitless’ ft Lennix Smith, Hughie Vaughan, Sierra Kerr and Isi Campbell and decide for…

Sep 28, 2023

Who Makes The Best Surfboards In 2023?

According to our survey of 7000 people, you and Italo might have similar taste. 

Sep 28, 2023

A Tube Festival Within A Festival

Two-for-one deals all day at the Quiksilver Festival.

Sep 27, 2023

Full Frame: “There’s No Lineups, It’s Breaking All Over, You Just Have To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time When A Bomb Comes In”

Brett Barley on Hatteras Island, by Daniel Pullen

Sep 27, 2023

Long Read: Stradbroke In The Subcontinent

Chasing beachbreak bliss in Prohibition-era India.

Sep 27, 2023

Stab Recommends: Xcel Comp X Fullsuit

A suit that increases blood-flow and protects against burglars.

Sep 27, 2023

How Kipp Caddy Got KO’d + Tore His Hamstring Paddling An Outer-Reef Bombie

It involves a friend’s 8'4" spearing him in the head…

Sep 26, 2023

How Surfers Get Paid Season 2, Episode 2

Loyalty and the Royalty of the Performance Surfboard.

Sep 25, 2023

The Surprising Link Between Neoprene And The USA’s ‘Cancer Alley’

A forthcoming documentary called 'The Big Sea' will change how you look at wetsuits.

Sep 25, 2023

Radioactive Wastewater From Fukushima’s Nuclear Power Plant Is Being Dumped In The Pacific Ocean

What does releasing 500 Olympic swimming pools of fission fondue mean for surfing? 

Sep 24, 2023

Meet Aranui 5: The 126m, 103-Cabin Luxury Cruise Ship & Home To Olympic Surfers At Teahupo’o 2024

Who's gonna get the Presidential Suite?

Sep 23, 2023

Here’s How The Surfers Feel About The 2024 Schedule

Kelly Slater, Caroline Marks, and nine other CTers share their thoughts.

Sep 22, 2023

Risk Reward: The Dickhead Index

Sam McIntosh explains Stab's business model in light of a recent editorial slip.

Sep 22, 2023

Surfing’s Chief Of Sport Explains Why The WSL Finals Will Remain At Lower Trestles

The Stab Interview: Jessi Miley-Dyer

Sep 20, 2023

Full Frame: A Loaded Scoop Of Emerald Green

Russell Bierke in Ireland, by Arthur Picard.

Sep 20, 2023

Quiksilver Is About To Throw A Week-Long Party In France And Your Name Is On The Guest List

Want to see Clay Marzo, Sierra Kerr, Noa Deane, and more compete against world champs?…

Sep 20, 2023