Matt (right): Did we just become friends? Jon: You're not a shaper! You're a big fat curly-headed fuck.

Pyzel-Mayhem collab: “Best shortboard ever!”

Koa Rothman refuses to return Pyzel-Mayhem collab after sensational debut session.

Last September, maybe a little before, I engaged two of the best shapers in the world in a novelty collaborative project. I took the man who creates the masterpieces that allow John John Florence to flourish, Mr Jon Pyzel, and another who designs Ferraris for Mason Ho, Kolohe Andino and the world champs Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright, Matt Biolos, and sold ’em on the idea of designing a board together.

Jon was into the charge, Matt less so.

At times it felt like a Harvey Weinstein-like character pressuring the pretty girl into something that didn’t feel ideal but perhaps it might, at a pinch, help her career.

Matt eventually relented for part one, the design, and you can read that here, but disappeared when it came to building the board for the reveal to see if it actually worked. What got spat out of Pyzel’s machine, however, was his outline meets Mayhem’s rocker and deck-line profile.

A pretty, if unusual, combination.

“It sure has the Mayhem nose,” said Pyzel, “That extra curve in the last few inches up there. I have a nose fetish when it come to surfboards.”

Did it work?

Pyzel, whose factory is in the little North Shore town of Waialua, cooked and baked a five-ten version that he figured would work for him.

“It looked good, not what I am used to my boards looking like, but sexy,” said Pyzel.  “The main things that stood out to me were the last few inches of nose rocker and the thickness flow through the last 18” in the tail. Both looked quite a bit different from one of my boards, but it wasn’t so far off from them. Pretty weird to create a board like this and have it come out so nice.”

And the response from his team?

“Well, I made it for myself to test first but then I talked to  Koa Rothman and since the waves had been smaller he was telling me he had been having amazing sessions on his new Voyager 1 and that it was his new favourite shortboard. I figured that it was a good frame of mind to be in to test a new board and since he lives three houses away and rides the same size boards as me, I told him to come over and grab the collab board and take it for a surf. He texted me the next morning  ‘Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think I can give it back. It’s one of the best short boards I’ve ridden.’”

Mayhem had been on a non-stop shaping tour around the world, Europe, South America, east coast USA, and so forth, and the collab board languished somewhere on the production line. But he said that despite an initial reticenc he enjoyed the collaborative experience because it forced him to re-imagine and rethink elements of his shaping that might’ve been operating on auto-pilot.

“It shined a light into the shadows,” said Mayhem.

(Note: a version of this story appears in the current issue of Surfing Life, which is on sale here.)

Correction: Ashton G. “anonymous troll!”

Welcome to hard-hitting journalism!

Toward the end of last week, with interesting stories at an absolute premium, I opted to wonder about the State of Commenting on the Internet ’18. What could have easily been seen as an empty space killer was actually an honest to goodness attempt at understanding how people consume/participate in this surf conversation. The whole business got started, for me, when Stab’s editor Ashton Goggans claimed that his website turned comments off underneath certain pieces in order to protect brands/individuals from the dreaded “anonymous troll.”

And I wondered, does the anonymous troll even really exist* anymore? Sure, I know that avatars/handles don’t often match identity/name exactly but isn’t it all a semi-honest representation of how each of us really feel?

Well, since the bit was posted many comments from first time participants started flowing in on all sorts of stories. Hurtful comments like from Adjunct Professor who wrote underneath a story about Donald Trump hating sharks, “why. what is the purpose of this artice ….. hard hitting journalism chas!”

The truth of it stung. It was not hard hitting journalism if I must be honest, merely a cut and paste from the New York Post of all places. Hurt was followed by shame and I decided it was high time that I get serious about my craft so I rolled up my sleeves, put on my fedora with its handwritten “press” card tucked into the band and opened an email from dear Negatron who informed me that Adjunct Professor shares the same exact IP address as Ashton Goggans himself.

Keeping my sleeves rolled up and not knowing, really, what an IP address is I googled “IP address” and read on Wikipedia it is, “the numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.”

I sat back in my chair, lit my pipe and said out loud, “Blimey. So Adjunct Professor and Ashton Goggans share a computer and apartment.”

How’s that for hard hitting journalism?

*Where Disqus or other platforms utilizing a working email address are used.

Kev at Gnaraloo, back when he was in his breezy sixities. | Photo: Kevin Merifield/

Quiz: How long will you surf for?

What's going to be your sign-off age? Or will you ride this thing into the grave?

You ever wonder what’s going to be your sign-off age? The day when surfing gets too hard physically, when the bones ache too much or your seized hips ruin any mobility?

What’s it it going to be? Sixty? Seventy? Eighty?

No matter how you play it, your days are numbered. I know a few old coots, most in their sixties, one a little over seventy, still dragging ’emselves into the water. The impressive thing is, none of ’em ride longboards even if it would mean more waves and a better experience. Instead, they persist with twin-fins and slightly thicker seven-o’s. It’s an impressive middle-finger jammed in the face of the whole surf-is-youth notion.

Recently, the Australian Broadcasting Commission profiled the just-turned-eighty-year-old Kevin Merifield, a pal of Taj Burrow.

“Surfing at 80 has to be every surfer’s goal,” Taj told the ABC. “Kev is a legend and he’s right — it’s all about getting out there, getting wet and talking shit with your boys.

Despite having to ride prone due to a loss of equilibrium brought on by an ear injury, Merifield ain’t afraid to hit decent-sized Margaret River for a three-hour session.

“That view is part of the reason that’s kept me going for so long,” Merifield said in a story by the fabulous sometime BeachGrit writer Anthony Pancia. “You come around the corner on a day like today and catch your first glimpse of those magnificent lines of waves. Your heart just starts racing. There’s nothing quite like it.”

How do you keep backing it up, even at such an advanced age?

“Obviously, you’ve also got to try and look after the old body and keep it moving,” he said.


How long are you going to persist? What will it take for you to hang up the boots? What’s the deal breaker?

Or are you going to ride this thing into the grave?


Politics: California to secede from USA?

And surfing is the wedge!

Yesterday you read right here (cribbed from… I can’t even remember anymore) the announcement that two California congressmen are pushing a bill through the bureaucracy that establishes surfing as California’s official sport.

Now, these two congressmens happened to be democrats, which didn’t even register with me seeing that California is 99% democrat but today the globalist publication Quartzy published a piece pointing to the potential vicious underbelly of the movement. And now to the horse’s mouth.

California is continuing to distance itself culturally and philosophically from much of the geographical US. The state greeted 2018 by enshrining new protections for undocumented immigrants, tougher gun laws, and recreational marijuana. These positions are all out of step with this moment in US politics. Now, the state is set to declare surfing its official sport.

State assembly members Al Muratsuchi and Ian Calderon introduced a bill on Jan. 15 that would make surfing California’s official pastime. “Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing—riding the waves and living in harmony with the beautiful beaches and ocean of our Golden State,” Muratsuchi wrote in an statement.

Not that long ago, surfing was derided as a dead-end sport for losers (Jeff Spicoli, anyone?). Not anymore. Now, it’s a $6 billion industry, supporting a pastime enjoyed by millions in the US, from professionals to drop outs. Calderon, the assemblyman co-sponsoring the bill, says he’s a life long surfer. The sport (or way of life, as some have it) has churned out cultural icons from the Beach Boys to Gidget, and prominent professional surfers from Kelly Slater to Layne Beachley. William Finnegan’s 2015 book about surfing, Barbarian Days, won a Pulitzer Prize.

If California votes to pass the bill, it would be another step in the state’s long-standing march away from a mainstream culture that defines most other parts of the country. California’s more restless residents are even launching campaigns to secede from the US on the basis that, according to advocates such as Yes California, the state is culturally distinct from the rest of the country.

And, of course, some US states just like adopting sports as their standard bearers. North Carolina has NASCAR, Alaska has dog mushing, Minnesota has ice hockey, and South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming all list rodeo as their official sports.

So? Do you really believe that surfing will be the wedge that causes the United States’ second civil war? Will you join up Johnny Reb?

The proposed Wavegarden tank at Sevran, what you might call a "gritty" suburb in north-east Paris.

Olympic Blood Feud: Wavegarden vs Surf Ranch!

Paris Olympics to use Wavegarden Cove?

In a mostly ignored piece of news in December, it was announced that the city of Paris, which is holding the 2024 Olympics, will build a Wavegarden Cove as part of a multi-billion-dollar revitalisation of the city.

The Cove will form part of the Terre d’Eaux Project in Sevran, one of Paris’ poorest suburbs, one of those famously “gritty” banlieues

Surfers Village picked up the story, propaganda, whatever it was. In an interview with Baptiste Caulonqueon, a former Rip Curl GM who’s involved in the Terre d’Eaux project, he said, “Once surfing and para-surfing is scheduled for certain for 2024 Olympics in Paris, there is a fair chance that Terre d’Eaux will apply to host these events as the Cove offers world class waves in great numbers and Sevran is located at the very heart of the Olympic village.”

Y’hear that?

Surfing. Olympics. Wavegarden.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

Our source says the WSL is scouting land in Japan to build a KSWC Surf Ranch in an attempt to prove to the IOC that it would be a better alternative to the beachbreaks and jetties of Shida, just outside Tokyo.

And that the WCT event at the Surf Ranch in September has been designed to show the IOC how it’ll all work.

If the play doesn’t work, or if the pool can’t be built in time and Wavegarden Cove steals the Paris games and becomes the first wavepool ever used in the Olympics, how’s that going to impact on the KSWC biz model?

Meanwhile, a player in the French surf industry is scouting for land out the back of Hossegor for a Surf Ranch.

Pools everywhere!

“Talk about a blood feud coming up,” says our source.