VIDEO: SHane Dorian in “Lemon Pepper”

VIDEO: JJF in Stab’s “Beach Chair: Jersey Free at Winkipop.” It’s safe to say JJF likes Winkipop.

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Surf Circles Can’t Stop Talking About The Pyzel x Florence Chemistry (via Stab Mag)

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.”

(Exclusive Interview) Mick Fanning, Right Now (via Stab)

Personally, I loved ‘Vacation Mick Fanning’. Last year he gifted us some cinematic gems and the highest possible vibes, bringing a noncommittal attitude to the world tour, but still doing enough events to requalify and not soak up a 2017 wildcard spot (which world champs have the power to do after taking a year off… what a guy). I certainly also like ‘T-1000 compBeast Mick Fanning’, but there’s a lot to be said for the Vacation edition. What I don’t like, is seeing a champion and born winner lose; The 13th and 25th place finishes he’s scooped this year don’t suit him. So, what’s going on in that highly considered mind, two events into this year? Let’s have the breeziest conversation and find out…

Stab: So… how was WA?
Mick: It was alright. It’s one of those places where… I hate that wave, so it’s hard to get excited. But there’s sick waves around it.

I couldn’t figure out on the first day if North Point was amazing, or horrible. It was just slow. When they came, they were amazing, but because they were three man heats, everyone just kept pushing each other out of the zone. I think also, the WSL put so much effort into making it a possibility to surf there that we sort of felt like, shit, we better do something. They didn’t have to run there, it was on us as well, but it sorta felt like we should.

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This man should not be losing to Kanoa Igarashi in round two of… well, any contest. Photo: WSL/Matty Dunbar

How are you feeling this year? Yeah, alright, it’s sort of hard getting back in. For me, I’m still trying to figure out if I want to be here or not. I’ve been putting everything into every heat, but I’ve just gotta change a few little things, and maybe I’ve put a little too much pressure on myself.

It seemed like last year when you didn’t have the “I’m doing a full year and going for a title” thing in your head, you looked more confident and relaxed when you did compete. I think also too, I hadn’t had that break away from it. You have a little bit of rust when you haven’t had a heat for a while and I made some little mistakes here and there (this year) that maybe I wouldn’t have made in previous years. I think that’s what has cost me this year. But it’s all learning, you’ve just gotta change and adapt accordingly.

Well, after seeing you at The Snake, and in Ireland, and Alaska, I’m not surprised you’re having an internal debate. When you’re sitting in the car park for four hours wondering whether you’re going to surf your heat or not… it gets to be a little bit much.

Mick BElls Sloane Edit

And now, back to Bells, a question that perfectly suits this man’s answers. Photo: WSL/Ed Sloane

Mick in “Consolation Prize” via Surfline

Mick got to explore Western Australia in a helicopter…  Definitely an interesting read.

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Yeahhhh John John! John John Florence wins the 2017 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro! (via Surfline)

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