Jon Pyzel details what John John Florence is riding this winter
Ask most (read: 99 percent of the world) and they’ll tell you that John John Florence is the best surfer in the world right now. It isn’t unreasonable, given View From A Blue Moon. Anyone who’s seen the film will know that it starts, and ends, on the North Shore – though, the opening, playful North […]
Ask most (read: 99 percent of the world) and they’ll tell you that John John Florence is the best surfer in the world right now. It isn’t unreasonable, given View From A Blue Moon. Anyone who’s seen the film will know that it starts, and ends, on the North Shore – though, the opening, playful North Shore is very different to the scary, fast-paced one we see at the end. And that’s because the North Shore has so many different faces when it comes to waves. That in mind, John needs a lot of different boards. And so, Stab dialled in John’s shaper, Jon Pyzel, to discover just what is under JJ’s feet this winter. Let’s hand over to Mr Pyzel:
“The reality is that I don’t really make him a season quiver at one time, it’s more like I’m constantly building him boards to make sure he has what he needs and to replace whatever he has broken that week! For example, at Sunset, his backup board (which Pancho had out in the water during his heats) was a 6’6” from last winter that he really liked.
The world’s best Pipeline surfer 2.0. Photo: Laserwolf
“For the winter here, I always make sure he has three of every size board that he’ll be riding at any spot on the North Shore – and those sizes are 6’2”, 6’4”, 6’6” and 6’8’’. Those boards are all a model called the Next Step, which is a step-up board that I’ve refined every year for the past five or so years, and it’s the model that I make for all the my team guys, and the guys who come over here and order boards for good, bigger waves. It has a little more volume in the forward half of the board, and everyone tells me that they really like how that gives them a lot of confidence with the paddle power, and that it feels good in powerful surf. I put quite a lot of rocker in these boards and some double concave through the bottom to let them tip onto the rail really easily at high speeds. The tails are all round pins, but not super pulled in, so they don’t feel too “gunny” and stiff.
“My goal with these boards is for the surfer to be able to feel like they’re on a shortboard, but one that will handle in solid waves.
“John John also always has a giant pile of 6’0”s and 6’1”s that are constantly in rotation, almost all the Bastard model, which is his favourite shortboard at the moment. These will be squashes and round tails, and he’ll have a few set aside as contest-only boards, with the rest as his freesurf boards, which he surfs everyday. Also, on top of those shortboards, he’ll have a smaller pile of 6’0”s that are new/different designs that I give him to try out so that we can always be moving forward with new designs and new ideas to improve performance. These boards are either other models I’m already making, or new things I’m working on that may make their way into our model lineup after a lot of testing.
This is just a breeze for John, but a heart rate accelerator for most. Photo: Laserwolf
“The other boards in his quiver are for really big surf (he goes straight from 6’8” right up to 9’0’’). These are for Waimea, Jaws, and all the outer reef waves we have over here. That quiver is all a board that Mark Healey and I developed together that I call the Crazy Train. JJ’s Crazy Train quiver is 9’0”, 9’6”, 9’8” and two 10’5’’s. These are all very wide, thick beasts that should let him get into any wave he wants to catch. The 9’6” and 9’8” are more Waimea boards, super beefy, but shorter to fit into the curve on the face at the Bay. The 10’5”s are more open ocean kind of boards that will help you get in earlier and safe. These are all Quads.
“John is great with feedback because he feels really small changes in boards that a lot of guys might not even notice. He isn’t really a numbers guy. Like, he’s not telling me thicknesses or widths that he wants, but he can pick apart a certain “feel’ or he’ll show me a clip of something he notices that the boards are doing weird and I can make adjustments to the boards from there. He has a good idea of what he wants a board to feel like, and when we’re chasing something new he always has good ideas and great instincts. He’s plugged in, for sure.”
Where ze magic happens: Mr Pyzel’s bay.
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