Stab Magazine | Watch: Zeke Lau in "Of Rail And Men"

Watch: Zeke Lau in “Of Rail And Men”

Zeke Lau and Town & Country’s homage to some of Hawaii’s greatest power surfers, Dane Kealoha, Johnny Boy Gomes, and Sunny Garcia. 

Words by stab

A surfer is a product of their environment, their style sub- and fully-conscious homage to those who came before them, and Zeke Lau, Hawaii’s youngest World Tour star is no exception.

He of the broad-shouldered and cut-from-stone Hawaiian tradition, Zeke Lau’s elders have proudly looked on as he’s grown to take his rightful place alongside Dane Kealoha, Johnny Boy Gomes, Sunny Garcia and others, whose surfing came to define Island Style—a stiff cocktail of strong spirit and tropical juice, equal parts raw power and high performance showmanship. 

“He’s got that local build to him, like what Sunny and Johnny Boy, just thick—but he’s also, agile,” says fellow Town & Country and World Tour alumni Fred Patacchia.

“Look at him… he’s a fuckin’ animal,” says Eddie Rothman. “He’s got the size and power. Watching him grow up, he just got bigger and bigger and bigger… until I was looking up. He doesn’t have a lot of wing-wangy tricks, but I’ll tell you, he’s a power surfer. That’s what surfing was to us. There’s a  lot of guys on that tour that don’t appreciate surfing a ten foot wave. Ezekiel Lau—he’s waiting for that.”

 

 

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Well now, that’s what we call a roster.

Photography

Town & Country

To faithfully pay tribute to Zeke’s forefathers, we rang up Glenn Pang and the boys at Town & Country.

When he’s not getting his share of waves all over the North Shore, or pushing out many a Pipe and Sunset specialists’ favorite pintail, Glenn enjoys a cult following for the iconic Town & Country outlines and electric airbrushes that Dane, JBG, and a host of Hawaiian legends destroyed the North Shore on for the last four decades.

“Boards have gone full-circle,” Pang says. “All of the older retro stuff is starting to make their way back into designs.”

 

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Zeke Lau and Glenn Pang, Wahiawa, Hawaii, 2017.

Photography

Sam Moody

Pang and the Town & Country family are well acquainted with Zeke, who grew up riding their boards before joining Channel Islands’ roster of international pros, and were more than happy to build a few heritage steeds, tailor-made for Zeke, but true to their origins under the feet of Dane, Johnny Boy, and Sunny.

“I’ve actually been trying get a little more old school with my boards,” Zeke told Stab. “Longer, less concaves, at least for Hawaii. I want it to hold more, because when you have a wave with a lot of power and push, you need that to shave off speed.”

By the time we rolled into Country this season, three very Hawaiian boards, resplendent in neon orange and green, bright yellows and reds, were waiting for us. The most striking of which, a 6’0 x 19 ½, 2 ⅝ winged-swallow twin fin, ripped straight from the archives of Buttons, Dane, Bertlemann…  

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From left to right, Johnny Boy’s 6’10, Sunny’s 6’4, and Dane’s 6’0.

Photography

Sam Moody

“Zeke said he’d never ridden a twin-fin,” Pang told Stab. “A lot of young guys you talk to here will say the same. So it’ll be a totally different feeling that Zeke’s going to feel.”

And while we gushed over Zeke’s unpredictable, elevated lines on Dane’s twinny, we were just as thrilled to see him straight-up stuff some Backdoor pits, and leave Haleiwa in pieces, on his Johnny Boy and Sunny lightning-bolts, a 6’4 x 18 ⅞ x 2 7/16 and a 6’10 x 18 ⅞ x 2 7/16, both roundtails, both blades begging for hollow, heavy fare.

 

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“Zeke said he’d never ridden a twin-fin,” Pang told Stab. “A lot of young guys you talk to here will say the same. So it’ll be a totally different feeling that Zeke’s going to feel.”

Photography

Sam Moody.

Over the next few weeks, in between heats at the Volcom Pipe Pro and the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, Zeke slipped out not-unnoticed on his dayglo dedications, turning heads up and down the North Shore, demonstrating that uniquely Hawaiian blend of power and performance that’ll never go out of style, something Patacchia is quick to point out in Zeke’s approach.

“Johnny Boy [Gomes] was the first to really start releasing the tail with power. Dane [Kealoha] was so ahead of his time, he would just throttle the lip. And Sunny

Zeke’s that perfect blend of Hawaiian surfers from the past.”

 

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“He’s got that local build to him, like what Sunny and Johnny had, just thick—but he’s also just agile,” says Fred Patacchia.

Photography

Sam Moody

This project was made possible by Stab’s friends at Quiksilver, as well as the generosity of the inimitable Glenn Pang, Town and Country Surfboards’ Ryan Sugihara and Travis Hashimoto, as well as Chad Wells, Sam Moody, and Cole Yamane. 

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