Stab Magazine | John Florence's New Double Deck Concave Board For The Gold Coast As Explained By Pyzel

John Florence’s New Double Deck Concave Board For The Gold Coast As Explained By Pyzel

Is deck concave the new front grip? 

hardware // Apr 5, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

For six months after he was injured, John John Florence didn’t order a board. It was the first time in 20 years Jon Pyzel’s gone without shaping a new board for John.

Then his knee started feeling better. Then he started surfing more. Then it was, once again, time to get in the shaping bay and start working on some new craft. Pyzel promptly perfected a new design he calls it the Shadow. It will be John’s go-to board in 2019.

John touched down on the Gold Coast with a quiver of approximately 14 new Shadows. Almost all of them are 6’0”, 18 7/8” and 2 1/2” with a volume of 29.5 liters to 29.7. Stab caught up with Pyzel on the eve of the Quik Pro to see what’s so special about John’s new ride:

The Origin Story…

I made it for Stab In The Dark with Mick Fanning…which it did not win…which is okay. I made a one-off for that. Then I started to make some subtle changes to it as I shaped more of them for my team guys here. That’s the board that John has been really excited about. I made John a bunch of different boards, a few different versions of the Shadow, and figured out the ones that he was liking the most and that’s something he’s really excited about. His quiver this year is basically squash tail Shadows for most events, and then a few round-tails. 

Making The Change…

The last couple of years John’s been on the Ghost, which he has obviously liked a lot. The limitations to that board is that it has a real narrow, pulled in tail. I wouldn’t call it an extreme design, but it’s different with the forward wide point and all this different stuff. 

I didn’t make him boards for like six months. He didn’t surf much, and when he did he was just riding what he had. He wasn’t looking for new boards, he was just going surfing and feeling things out physically. So, when we came to a new season and asked what we were going to do, I said here, ‘Try these boards and we’ll work from there.’ It was the first time in literally 20 years that I haven’t made him a board in that long. It was like having a fresh slate. His mindset, everything about it just felt really new. 


“I put almost a two-foot-long double concave so that it kind of has a spine in the middle of the deck. It’s almost like a used board. Your boards end up like that, and that’s when they’re good.” 

Shadow vs. Ghost…

The Shadow was based on the Ghost rocker, so that was the starting point, but I tuned it into becoming a more all-around, high-performance board rather than a specialized board for better waves. The way I did that was by changing the outline. I put more of a traditional, high-performance outline in it. I moved the wide point back to the center, rather than forward of center like the Ghost. It’s still a little bit forward of where the wide point is in most shortboards, it’s pretty much at center. Most boards are a little bit behind. But it has more of that traditional outline. It has a little bump or hip in front of the fins. 

What I did was adjust the rocker. I put more entry rocker in it so it has a little more flip through the nose. The Ghost is pretty flat. I wanted to have it so it would fit into the wave of a smaller wave better. Then I also added more concave to the bottom without changing the outline rail rocker. So basically I straightened out the rocker through the center under the front foot, which gives it more of a speed spot. Without really messing with the back half of the rocker, but by straightening it in the center with the concave it gives it a little more squirt and more carry in weaker, slower sections. It will carry its speed longer compared to the Ghost as far as slower surf. We wanted it to be more versatile. It’s more of an every day, high-performance board. 

The Ghost’s deck was pretty domed with a refined rail and this board is more balanced. It has a thicker rail than the Ghost does. It just kind of carries the foam all the way out to the rail. 

Double Concave…On The Deck?

Something that I’ve been doing in my big-wave guns is putting a little double concave in the deck underneath the chest, so basically right where the front foot goes. When we went to test some boards down in Australia last year I made him a board with the double concave in it just for fun. I looked at one his old boards and checked out where the dents were and then worked off of that. I didn’t just put foot spots, I put almost a two-foot-long double concave so that it kind of has a spine in the middle of the deck. It’s almost like a used board. Your boards end up like that, and that’s when they’re good. A brand new board can feel great, but it feels even better when you get your feet stamped into it a little bit. 

I watched his first wave on that board, I was in the water with him, and you could just see he clicked with it really good. He loved the feel of it. He said it felt like no matter what he was doing his front foot would go back to center almost automatically. He’s more sensitive to that stuff than most people and he really liked it. 

Then I came home and he was like, ‘This is the one. This is what I want to work off of.’ So everything I’ve made for him in this last batch all have that double concave deck. I brought him a batch last night and he was super stoked. I don’t know if that will become more of a feature in boards in the future, but that’s what his whole quiver has right now, which is pretty cool. We’re trying to think of something funny to call it, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Deck dents?  


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