“I Told Them To Burn It”- Dane Reynolds On Pyzel’s Missed Submission Last Year
“The situation you guys create is very stressful for a shaper.” – Jon Pyzel on Stab in the Dark
This is our Stab in the Dark 2016 winner, Jon Pyzel’s second invite into the competition. However, it’s the first time his board was actually tested. See, last year Jon shaped us a board, packaged it and sent it and by the date of arrival, Julian Wilson was already in West Oz running through the foam. It was too late. “I’m kind of relieved my board didn’t make it last year,” Jon tells Stab. “The situation you guys create is very stressful for a shaper. And last year it was ranked from best to worst.” Which, for obvious reasons we did not do this year; nobody wants to be ranked the worst board out of a baker’s dozen.
“As a shaper you want to gather as much information you can about the guy you’re making the board for,” says Jon. “For this you just have two pieces of information and know it’s going to be a good surfer. And you’re like, fuck now it’s gonna be judged on the world stage.” Photo: Allen Van Gysen
But, since we had Pyzel’s submission on hand and happened to be heading out to the Ments to film our Thank You Andy (A tribute to Andy Irons) documentary, we brought it with us. After all, Julian’s height and weight is similar to some of our staffers. However, we aren’t as pretty, nor surf as well. But, after a few sessions on Andy’s old boards–for fear of breaking history–we stripped Dane, Kolohe Andino and Noa Deane of them and they all gave Pyzel’s submission a go; it was soon taken for a lemon. “I told you guys to burn it,” laughs Dane between a sip of his beer. “I only rode a few waves on it, but it’s funny that I liked your’s best.”
“I actually based this board off the same one I submitted last year,” smiles Jon. “The same rocker and everything. I was literally thinking about the same board.”
Backstage at the House of Vans, NYC, Sammy, Dane’s two-year-old son starts to cry – the joy of parenthood, take a sip. “He’ll be fine,” says Dane. “Just get it out bud.” And, the interview or slightly lubricated chat continues with Sammy’s wailing.
“I’m glad you didn’t tell me that story beforehand,” says Jon. Which, if he didn’t win this year’s competition, that story would’ve gone to the grave. “At the time I had no clue who I was shaping the board for. I just knew he was 6’0, 190 pounds and surfed really good. A few days after I shipped it I heard rumours that it was you,” he turns to Dane. “I’m happy I didn’t know before, if I did I probably would’ve pulled it out of the box, over thought it and reshaped it into something more stumpy and full through the nose. You probably wouldn’t have liked it as much, honestly.”
“Hand shaping it was funny,” continues Jon. “With computers, we learned about volume, and know what volume works for what weight. Hand shaping you question it and have to work it until it feels right.”
“You know what’s trippy though?” quips Dane. “Brendon (Gibbens, who was present for a good portion of the board tests) was loving all the same boards as me, and he’s a good twenty pounds lighter.” And thus lies the crux of this blind experiment, taste is subjective. “I really wanted to give every board a legitimate try. Unfortunately, some days just weren’t that good.” Because of this, Dane saved the boards that looked and felt the best for days with superior surf. Testing 13 surfboards in ten days of varying conditions isn’t the easiest feat.
“You could see the boards that felt good and bad though,” says Jon who flew from Hawaii to NYC as unsure as the audience of who’d be deemed the winner. “When it was broken down to the last four, and mine was one of them. I was like, Wow! It felt good. Just watching it, he was ripping on all four of those boards. I was so stoked. He looked like he was relaxed on mine. It worked.”
“This goes against everything, as a shaper, you want to know before shaping somebody a board. Usually, I try to gather as much information about the guy I’m making a board for. It’s stressful when you have two pieces of information and know it’s going to be judged on the world stage. It’s uncomfortable knowing anyone could be making that call.”
Nobody wants to be last. But by the look on Jon’s face it feels pretty damn good to be first. Photo: Gunner Hughes
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