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.)