Stab Magazine | Surf Circles Can’t Stop Talking About The Pyzel x Florence Chemistry

Surf Circles Can’t Stop Talking About The Pyzel x Florence Chemistry

Was it the plane or the pilot this weekend in West Australia?

style // Apr 11, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

From Tom Curren to Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson to Mick Fanning, carve driven surfing has been perfected, while “progression” has been defined by the space above the lip. That is, until last weekend when John clawed out a new standard with his showing in West Oz. At the moment, every world tour shaper is searching for a board that’ll yield similar results to John’s 6’2″ Pyzel Ghost on a hillside comparable to Main Break. And, every surfer is rewinding the heat analyser trying to restructure their carves away from an (almost) unchanged tradition. The relationship between John Florence and Jon Pyzel has bred the new normal of high-performance surfing, and it started 19 years ago when John first stuck his feet in the wax. As John’s career hits its zenith, so has the validation of Pyzel’s surfboards, first starting in 2016 with Dane Reynolds electing the Pyzel as our Stab in the Dark winner. Followed by John’s first world title and solidified with the recent definition changing power performance at Margies; one which looks about certain to generate another title. “In the last year, I’ve noticed people have gained more confidence in my boards,” Pyzel told Stab. Mr Florence is the proxy for Pyzel shapes and after his performance at the Drug Aware Pro and during the free surf footage leaked, he appears to have transcended into classification without peer. After the weekend, any disputes over the best surfer in the world have been laid to rest. 

We spoke with both Jo(h)ns about the nature of one of the longest standing surfer/shaper relationships on separate occasions. Here are what the two gents had to say about and unbeknownst to each other:


After 19 years in the oven and almost the same wait in speculation, John’s title came to fruition. Here the two Jo(h)ns embrace victory in Portugal.

“I’ve been making boards for John for 19 years now,” Pyzel tells Stab. “Since he was five. Other than Tom Curren and Al (Merrick) or Kelly and Al – they worked together forever. But, one on one, me and John are probably right there with the guys that have worked together the most.”

“Jon shaped the second surfboard I ever owned,” John tells Stab. “You can’t beat a relationship with a shaper; he’s like family. I tell him what I like and don’t like comfortably and we talk it out.”

“Sometimes I’ll hand John a board and he’ll go ‘ew, just terrible,” Pyzel laughs. “He won’t even try it and hand it back. He’ll be like ‘yeah, no… I’m not going to try that.’ It’s pretty classic, and he doesn’t do it in a mean way. That’s happened multiple times.”

“Me and Pyzel have gotten to a point where we’ve gone through so many different boards and shapes over the years that I feel confident going out at ten-foot pipe on a brand new board I’ve never ridden and taking off on a big wave right away,” says John. “I’ll even surf heats on boards I haven’t ridden before. Knowing how the boards are and how he shapes them and how our relationship is, I trust it.”

“I’ve always told him that the most important thing is him being happy with the boards and the choices he made,” says Pyzel. “I don’t want John to be on my boards because he feels like he has to be, I want him to be on my boards because he’s getting the most out them that he can. There have been some pretty radical things that have happened. Where big companies, I won’t say who, have contacted me and told me that John was going to be on their team. Just to say, ‘hey, sorry but we’re going to do this’ and offer me a job ghost shaping for them once John’s on their team. They’ll be super confident about it. Then when I talk to John he’s always like, ‘did you hear that? Why would you want to work for that company, that’s crazy’, and we’ll laugh about it. We were laughing about it after he won the title in Portugal.”

John’s racing, drawn out hooks on the bumpy face of Main Break picked up high-performance surfing by its aerial aspect and chastised it back to power surfing.

“There have been some cool offers,” John tells us. “I’ve tried a lot of different boards but the big board companies have a lot of riders. Working one on one with Jon is a huge helping point, rather than having the possibility of being watered down to the point where you don’t get exactly what you want.”

“I’m fortunate not to have a giant team,” says Pyzel. “I have a better opportunity to work on a personal scale and I focus on that. It means a lot.”

“(With Pyzel) It moulds into a trust thing,” says John. “When you cancel all the variables that’s huge towards winning a world title.”


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Can Small-Scale Investors Buy Into Wave Pools?

Say you got $10k and a dream — what can you do?

Feb 4, 2023

Toasted: Reviewed By 10 Of Your Favorite Surfers

Caity Simmers' personal project on paper.

Feb 3, 2023

An Early Pipeline Exit For Stephanie Gilmore Amidst GenZ Glory

Day Two of the 2023 CT season was a clear notice that the kids are…

Feb 3, 2023

Hand-Shaping, Glassing, And Finishing ’70s-Inspired Displacement Hulls Will Not Make You Rich

Profile: Tristan Mausse of Fantastic Acid is in it for all the right reasons.

Feb 3, 2023

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023


“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023


The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023