Ghosting The Ghost: John Florence’s Board Choice For Main Break Remains His
How (most of) the CT have ignored the design that turned a tapered avalanche into a snowpark.
While enjoying a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles recently, Jordy Smith lobbed a comment, admitting John John’s surfing at Main Break in 2017 may have directly influenced the boards he was riding.
Last year at Margaret River, the majority of the tour near Mr Florence’s stature were on step-ups in the 6’4 and above range. John rode a 6’2 Pyzel Ghost with a wider, stubbier outline and a pulled-in tail.
The result was, without a doubt, the biggest leap forward in rail surfing since Occy won the skins event at Bells in ’97. John played with double overhead walls like toy soldiers.
After JJF turned Main Break into a high-performance mecca, we thought: certainly this year’s event will see top guys riding boards influenced by the outline of JJF’s Pyzel Ghost, a la Simon Anderson’s thruster at Bells, and the rest of the tour following suit.
We were wrong*.
Canvassing the touring contingent, almost all are cracking their standard whips. It appears the page out of John’s book has been crumbled up and forgotten.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Kelly Slater told Stab when prompted on the subject. “I do think that they will change their approach to the first section and go horizontal instead of bottom turning first”—much the way Mr Florence surfed Main Break last year.
“John’s board looked to have a wide point forward with a narrow round tail, so it handled the speed and size of those waves without looking long, or slow. But, at the end of the day, he just read and rode the waves better.”
We spoke to Pipe Master and coach to the professionals, Sir Jake “Snake” Patterson, on the same subject.
“John was miles ahead of everyone last year,” Snake told Stab. “[Main Break’s] a super hard wave to ride when it’s solid, and John was playing with it like a two-foot rip bowl!
But no, it doesn’t seem like the rest of the tour has caught up with what worked so well for John last year. I haven’t seen one other guy have the same design as John’s.”
We asked Jake if Zeke, Kanoa, or any of his guys, had adapted their board’s differently for the event.
“Strangely enough, no. I just think John is a really really good surfer and could ride anything anyway.”
Last, we reached out of Jason Stevenson’s camp, the man who shapes boards for more Men’s CT surfers than any other (don’t start with Joan Duru, Michael Rodriguez, etc, Mayhem). The response was the same.
There has been no request for boards anything like JJF’s Ghost. That model just doesn’t “suit their surfers.”
Apparently, short of Mr Florence, the tour’s given up the Ghost. It will be interesting to see whether John can perform at the same level as last year (and break his terrible streak of results in 2018), or if the loss of his beloved 6’2”, in the semifinals of last year’s Pipe Masters, was truly the end of the board’s (and perhaps even JJF’s) dominant era.
Maybe it wasn’t The Ghost that allowed John to surf in such devastating form after all. Maybe it was just that Ghost. A magic board is truly something to behold.
*EDIT: After speaking with Jon Pyzel today, we learned that Michel Bourez had a few Ghosts built for him in Firewire’s LFT tech, and he might just ride them in the event.
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