Stab Magazine | We Tested The Pyzel Shadow Wrapped Entirely In Carbon

We Tested The Pyzel Shadow Wrapped Entirely In Carbon

A reliable craft in a new-age construction: Dark Arts Technology.

Words by stab

The quality of Pyzel’s best-selling performance shortboard, the Shadow, is not a matter of debate. 

The fact that John Florence and Jack Freestone ride the Shadow masterfully in most CT events, that it’s been Pyzel’s highest-grossing board for the past year, and that Pyzel won SITD twice with an iteration of this design provide all the evidence we need to justify its quality. 

Knowing that the Shadow’s shape is objectively functional, we thought it’d be interesting to use this design as a “control” to examine another facet of a board’s overall quality: its construction. So, that’s exactly what we did in this single session review (playing above). 

Rough. 00 27 06.Still007

Dark Arts technology is the brainchild of Justin Ternes, a surfboard shaper and innovator who calls San Diego home. Unsatisfied with the limitations of traditional surfboard constructions, Justin fiddled around for 21 years with left-field designs, ultimately landing on the complex and scientifically-backed process that he calls Dark Arts. 

I’ll attempt to explain the Dark Arts process below, but feel free to skip my probably-misguided rambling and watch their board production video below. 

Dark Arts construction starts with an EPS blank—typically stringerless—which is then cut and shaped as any other surfboard would be. Next, the blank is wrapped top and bottom with DA’s proprietary carbon material and glassed with epoxy resin. Before the resin sets, the board is then vacuum-sealed to thin out the carbon and remove excess resin. Finally, it’s finished off with a hot-coat and sand job. 

The end result is a board that’s incredibly light and strong. So much so that the Dark Arts promotional material officially states: “Unlike traditional surfboards, our boards last a lifetime.”

Whether or not that statement is grounds to bring Mr. Ternes to court when the board that you bought at age 25 snaps at 50 is up for speculation. But it’s a pretty heavy claim nonetheless.


Justin is a shaper at heart, but he’s also a savvy businessman. Realizing that his DA tech mightn’t get the attention it deserves if limited to JT Surfboards (his personal label), Justin approached certain industry leaders to see if they might want their surfers riding the construction of the future.

So far, Justin’s bagged 2x SITD winner and shaper to the best surfer in the world, Jon Pyzel; Brazilan-gone-Californian shaper to two of the world’s best small-wave surfers, Marcio Zouvi (of Sharp Eye Surfboards); and father of the Tour’s shoe-loving Saffa, Graham Smith (of SMTH Shapes). 

Not a shabby fucking list.

And the surfers? Well, the Florence bros, Filipe Toledo, and Kanoa Igarashi have been riding their DA boards regularly, reportedly to great success. We’ve also heard that Kai Lenny and Ian Walsh have ordered some DA guns, so we’ll see how that goes. 

Anyway, that’s the background for why I wanted, nay needed, to sample this novel tech. And novel it was. 

Please watch our single session review above, and scope your own DA boards here


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