Jon and John John

Jon Pyzel di­als us in on what J ohn John is rid­ing to de­fend his world ti­tle.

Tracks - - Arrows - Compiled by Luke Kennedy.

Jon Pyzel has been John Florence’s shaper since JJ was five. On Pyzel’s craft, John John has won The Ed­die plus the World Ti­tle and flown high enough to en­joy the view from a blue moon.

John John’s im­pe­ri­ous per­for­mance on this year’s Aus­tralian leg had fans ask­ing more ques­tions about what he was rid­ing. When we got in touch with Jon Pyzel he was en­joy­ing a late sea­son swell out the front of his home at Rocky Point on the North Shore. Be­tween ses­sions, he took time out to fill us in on how John John’s boards have evolved.

What was John John rid­ing at Snap­per?

JJ is about 6’1’’ and 79-80kg. His stance is pretty nar­row, so he tends to like boards a bit nar­rower than most guys his height.

The Snap­per board was a new short­board that he named the “Voy­ager 1”. It was a board that I had made for some of my other team rid­ers, but that he had never tried. Be­tween the Vol­com Pipe Pro and Snap­per, I made him a batch of six short­boards that he had never tried, kind of like a blind taste test, and the favourite of the bunch was that

one. It is his new favourite all-around short­board right now. It was 6’0’’ x 18.65 x 2.31 and just over 26 litres.

Has much changed in his short board de­sign since he be­came world champ?

He ba­si­cally rode one de­sign all last year, The Bas­tard, and it got him a ti­tle, but it wasn’t al­ways the best board for the job at hand. I re­mem­ber watch­ing his France semi against Keanu As­ing in weak, shoul­der high lefts, and see­ing him on his Bas­tard and know­ing it wasn’t the best board he could be on (with too much rocker for those waves). He lost a heat to a kid that he should have just smoked! It’s still one of his all time favourite boards in good waves, but we just took a look at where his equip­ment was lack­ing, where we could help im­prove his over­all per­for­mance in less than great surf. He is su­per into any­thing that can help him get bet­ter, and it is great for me, be­cause it gives me the chance to use my knowl­edge to add to his abil­ity … I love be­ing able to throw stuff at him and see how it works.

It looks like the nar­rower nose al­lows the boards to swing through turns more quickly with a kind of switch-

blade ef­fect? That gives his surf­ing an added de­gree of agility and a real point of dif­fer­ence?

His Voy­ager 1 nose mea­sures out at 11.75’’ at the 12’’ from the nose mark. But… I would say that his pen­chant for thin­ner rails, lower vol­ume, nar­rower over­all widths, and more rocker would be the things that have set him apart in that sense. Be­yond the ac­tual de­sign of the boards, those de­tails can help to ac­cen­tu­ate the “switch blade ef­fect”!

Is there any­thing else about the short­boards John is rid­ing that is dis­tinc­tive or dif­fer­ent to his peers? Seems like he sticks to PU?

PU for sure, as is the case with most of the top 34. I think that all the top guys are rid­ing semi-sim­i­lar boards, but if any­thing is re­ally dif­fer­ent for John I would say lower vol­ume and thin­ner rails. He also has a weird thing about the deck curve at about a foot back from the nose. It’s be­cause he lands a lot of airs with his foot that far for­ward, so he looks at that as an area that re­ally can make or break a board for him.

Is it still the case that you can ac­tu­ally

ride a lot of his boards to get a gauge on their per­for­mance?

I like to ride his boards when­ever I can. I’m 5’9’’, 72.5 ki­los and 48 years old, and my ev­ery­day board is a 5’8’’, so his boards are not per­fect for me, but I can still at least get a feel for what they are do­ing. It al­lows me to have a bet­ter idea of the ba­sics, and hope­fully lets me build bet­ter stuff down the road.

You men­tioned that John jumped on a cou­ple of Ross Wil­liams’ boards and liked the feel of the ex­tra vol­ume?

He rode a 29-litre board and was amazed by how easy it was to main­tain speed, but also felt the lim­i­ta­tions that come with all that ex­tra foam.

We are work­ing to add vol­ume, but slowly and care­fully. He’s a very good judge of surf­boards, so I don’t try to over­whelm him with huge changes.

When a con­sumer buys a John John model, how mod­i­fied is it from the orig­i­nal file John would be rid­ing?

You are gonna get what he is rid­ing, but with just a touch more foam in the rails, be­cause his rails are not su­per user friendly. My stock boards all come in a bit big­ger di­men­sions, but the de­signs are the same as his boards.

Can you break down the mea­sure­ments of the Ghost model John John was rid­ing in WA, and Big Bells when he did the al­ley-oop?

Sure – it was a 6’2’’ x 18.75 x 2.50 x 29.20 litres. Nose width at 12’ was 12.06’’. Tail at 12’’ was 13.50’’ It’s a chopped nose ver­sion of my Next Step model, with flat­ter en­try rocker and plenty of tail curve.

That board looked like it had a lot of thick­ness for­ward, com­bined with a rel­a­tively nar­row nose.

The nose is al­most 1/4” thicker than the tail (not a com­mon thing in short­boards), and doesn’t seem that nar­row to me.

It looked like it had the ca­pac­ity to de­ci­sively cut through what­ever was in its path – foam, froth or chop?

I think a lot of guys’ boards; when they go up in length and thick­ness, tend to get re­ally chunky in the rails and some­times through the tail as well. The Ghost (even stock) has a very re­fined rail for it’s thick­ness, and I re­ally keep the rear half of the board thinned out to han­dle speed and bumps. A finer rail will cut through bumpy wa­ter with­out as much push-back, al­low­ing you to hold the rail with­out get­ting bucked off. Also rocker plays a huge role in re­duc­ing pres­sure through turns, with the same ef­fect.

John’s surf­ing in WA was her­alded as some of the best seen in a con­test. It must be sat­is­fy­ing to watch when you are re­spon­si­ble for the craft…

I loved watch­ing ev­ery one of his waves in that event, par­tic­u­larly at big Main Break on the fi­nal day when he was just flow­ing. I knew ex­actly what he was think­ing out there: ‘This is just like big

Pupukea Beach Park, at home’. You could feel his stoke and his com­fort level. He was hav­ing a blast, and I felt it. I think ev­ery­one felt it! So know­ing that I had a lit­tle hand in that mo­ment in surf­ing was re­ally spe­cial to me, and per­son­ally sat­is­fy­ing. I did see a few prob­lems, times when the nose dug in a bit too much, where we could ad­just some rocker and maybe tweak the out­line a touch to make the next one bet­ter.

In the past we have seen Kelly lead the trends in de­sign? It seems like this year more pros and pun­ters are re­ally start­ing to pay closer at­ten­tion to what John John is rid­ing?

I think if you are re­ally into surf­ing, you al­ways want to look at what the best guys are rid­ing, and hope­fully peo­ple are look­ing at his boards and think­ing they are work­ing well. The main change I hope to see this year is his boards work­ing re­ally well ev­ery­where, and him tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to choose the right equip­ment for the con­di­tions.

Photo: Miller.

Left: The third Jon in the equa­tion – shaper, Jon Pyzel.

Photo: Moran.

Main: John John fil­let­ing a WA sec­tion on his 6’2” Ghost model.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.