Stab Magazine | President Obama Scores A John John Florence Surfboard!

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President Obama Scores A John John Florence Surfboard!

With 50 more Olympic-themed crafts on display at NYC MOMA.

news // Apr 28, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“This would have been hard to imagine as a grom back in the day,” Bob Hurley tells Stab.

What Bob’s trying to wrap his head around is a collection of 50 surfboards currently sitting in the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City. The boards were shaped by Jon Pyzel with artwork by Craig Stecyk and JP Olson, both integral parts of the Hurley Art Department.

“Pat (O’Connell) came to me because of the relationship I have with John John Florence and Hurley,” tells Pyzel.

Specifically, Pyzel made 50 identical copies of his Bastard model, the preferred slider of John John. A squash tail, it measures out at 6’0” x 18.65 x 2.25.

“He’s still into that same model, but I’ve got him onto a little bit more foam these days,” says Pyzel.

The story goes that some months back, the U.S. Olympic Committee was in Southern California taking meetings when a tour of the Hurley campus in Costa Mesa found its way onto the calendar. Wanting to put their best foot forward for the U.S.O.C., Pat and the Hurley crew hatched the plan with Pyzel and Stecyk, who went next level. The hope is that this will be another step in the evolutionary process that is getting surfing into the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

As part of the 2016 “Road To Rio” campaign the boards are now on display at the MOMA in NYC and will be included in a six-stop tour around the U.S., which will culminate with a send-off of the U.S. Olympic team in L.A.

“I just found out about them going into MOMA yesterday, and to be honest that is what stokes me out the most,” says Pyzel. “It means that we – not just me, but all shapers and surfers as a whole – are represented in a very special place for American culture and people from all around the world are going to look at the one thing that we all love – surfboards. Maybe they’ll just appreciate all the work and care that goes into making them. This whole industry is building usable art pieces everyday and it’s rad to let people in on that.”

As far as working with a legend like Stecyk, Pyzel couldn’t be more stoked. Stecyk cut his teeth painting boards for Miki Dora before becoming the defacto artist for the Dogtown crew. The man has abundant cred.

“I think everyone who knows their American surf/skate history would hold Stecyk in pretty high regard when it comes to the artistic and creative side, and I know I do, so I feel really lucky to be pulled into his orbit,” says Pyzel. “He’s the kind of guy who just does his thing, which is making rad shit, and he has this easy vibe that makes you feel like you belong right there with him. He’s the best kind of legend – he pulls people in and lifts them up! The other artist who did a lot of the work with Stecyk is my friend JP Olson, who is a young, super talented guy. He and Craig work on lots of special projects at Hurley and JP has a wild creativity and crazy energy that you can feel and see in his work. JP paints on a bunch of my crew’s boards and he’s always sending me ideas and helping make things cooler.”

After their tour around America, the boards will head to Rio and be on display at a venue during the Olympics (very close to the former site of the CT contest). Some will also go to the U.S.O.C. to say thanks, and one is even earmarked for President Barack Obama. Hurley will soon be launching America and Brazil-themed boardshorts to support the surfboard project and the Olympic movement.

“I’m petty stoked that Obama is getting one – I hope to see one of his daughters ripping on it over here someday,” says Pyzel.

For his part in it all, of course Bob smiles. “I am so incredibly proud of the team, from the artists to Pyzel, Pat O, Stecyk and countless others at Hurley and Nike. I love all the collaboration!”

Hurley Olympic boards 05

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