A glassing room filled with the aroma of JJF-Pyzel magic. | Photo: @pyzelsurfboard

Jon Pyzel on the boards John John Florence may (or may not*) ride at Snapper!

John John discovers the joys of girth.

In the event that John John Florence appears at the Quiksilver Pro in April, he will ride a surfboard shaped by the hands of Jon Pyzel, and finished by artisans amid the gentle whisper of country Oahu.

Pyzel has been making boards for John John Florence, who is twenty six, since the kid was five; since his mama Alex brought the boys to see him at his old bay at Sunset Beach and gave him two-hundred dollars for materials to build John a board.

The yellow four-six with  halo of orange rails is “hideous to look at” but now exists as a memorial to a boy destined for greatness.

John John is six-feet two-inches tall and weighs 175 pounds or 188cm and 80 kilograms. His surfboard, which is called the Shadow and originally made for Stab magazine’s blindfold test in 2018, measures  6’0″ x 18 7/8″ and is 2 1/2″ thick.

“It’s still roughly based off the Ghost but it doesn’t have such a refined rail, that super domed deck and the foam isn’t as far forward. It’s a pretty traditional looking outline, a straight-up hi-fi outline,” says Jon.

Other notes: the wide-point is at the exact middle of the board and not a little back, which you’ll find on most super high-performance shooters. It’s around 29 to 30 litres, if you’re into that sorta thing, and it has a single concave through most of the bottom which is loosened by a double concave within.

“I like the double concave because it splits the bottom in half and let’s you roll rail to rail a little easier without taking away any speed. If you have too much single concave, while it’s really fast it tends to get a little sticky. A double concave through that helps. It’s like a vee bottom without the slowness of the vee.”


Roughly the Same as the Ghost, says Jon, although a deeper concave gives it a straighter centreline rocker and it has a little more nose rocker from 18” back to the tip for a hi-fi curve.

Technical, yes? Did you know? That concave creates two different curves? The curve of the rail and the curve of the centreline?

The width of the tail, twelve inches up, is 14 1/2″ which is pulled in via a little hip.

Because Jon didn’t make John John any boards for six months during the Champ’s injury convalescence, he worked especially closely with his new signing, Jack Freestone.

“It was trippy for me,” says Jon, “because I’d been making boards for John for twenty years. At the same time, I started working with Jack. And Jack is a similar size to John, but a little heavier, so he rides a bigger version of everything that John is riding. And that convinced me to get John to try boards bigger than he’d normally ride. Getting Jack on those boards helped John’s direction.”

As for the name, it’s part of his “creepy family.”

Y’know, Ghost, Gremlin, Phantom.

“The Shadow fit right in there,” says Jon.

From the Two-scoops-of-Scary Dept: Huge Great White terrorizes Mavs!

"I basically evacuated Mavericks!"

What’s scarier than the cold, mean, rocky, deadly, foggy, big, cold, seaweedy, cold, big waves of northern California’s pride and joy Mavericks? A huge Great White shark swimming in those murky depths, acquiring a taste for delicious bootied feet.


But it’s true. There is a shark there and let’s turn directly to the Bay Area’s ABC affiliate to learn details. Let’s not waste even a moment’s time.

Mavericks surfers got a major dose of adrenaline Sunday, but for once it had nothing to do with surfing huge waves.

Instead it came from a close encounter with a humongous great white shark, estimated to be 18 to 20 feet long, that cruised within inches of one jet ski and forced the evacuation of the entire surf break.

“This was by far the biggest and scariest creature I’ve ever seen in the ocean.”

And Drake Stanley would know.

A big wave surfer and professional surf rescuer, Stanley has been the ocean his entire life, diving and spear-fishing.

It started as just another day out at Mavericks.

Stanley said he had surfed in the morning and was working as a jet ski rescuer for other surfers in the afternoon.

He told ABC7 News that he was sitting on his jet ski with the engine turned off around 1:30PM by and area known as Mushroom Rock when he first saw the huge shark.

“It looked like a whale,” explained Stanley as he watched it rise out of the green depths of the ocean.

Stanley said the shark swam just inches under his jet ski, close enough for him to see the scratch marks on its skin and its dark gray eye.

He estimated the shark to be about 16 to 20 feet long since it was much longer than his jet ski and rescue board.

It was so big, that it didn’t even fit into the frame for the one picture he was able to take of it.

But the frightening encounter got scarier when Stanley said the shark spotted a surfer paddling in from the Mavericks break.

“It saw the surfer and just made a beeline for him… I thought, ‘I’m going to watch a shark attack.'”

Realizing that the surfer had no idea the shark was out there, Stanley turned on his jet ski and revved it loudly several times in an attempt to draw the shark’s attention away.

It worked and Stanley was able to scoop up the surfer on his jet ski but the shark then started heading for the waiting lineup of surfers at Mavericks.

Stanley raced out to those surfers and alerted them about the huge shark, pulling as many as he could onto his rescue board and towing the rest in on their surfboards.

“I had like 8 people in,” recalled Stanley “I basically evacuated Mavericks!”

I’m going to crawl under the covers now and never come out.

So long!

Disgraced: Plagiarism scandal rocks surf media!

Worse than the USC admissions scandal! Maybe!

I don’t listen to podcasts, even though I ask you to sometimes (sorry), or when I’m driving sixteen hours in falling snow to Jackson, Wyoming. Then I listen to either David Lee Scales and me (when I want to torture my family and teach my daughter a lesson for daring to play Drake out loud) or Disgracedland. A podcast about bad antics by famous musicians.

It is not particularly good, mostly over-dramatized and verbose, but has moments of funny when the host isn’t being overly-dramatic and verbose.

He begins each episode talking about some random bad song then tying it directly to the current subject. Maybe Jerry Lee Lewis murdering all his wives and whichever southern state he calls home turning a blind eye or some Norwegian black metal group burning churches.

Then it gets funny and the annoying host drops away.

Well, I listened to the first 30 seconds of Stab’s new podcast offering The Drop the other day because its headline suggested that “artistic people Smoke “pot” and insecure people drink and “do” cocaine and the  “do”cocaine got me.

Buy here!

What was host Ashton Goggans feat. opinionated longboarder Joel Tudor on about?

I listened to the first 30 seconds and instantly realized that Ashton Goggans directly plagiarized the only other podcast I’ve ever listened to besides my own (when Drake is playing out loud). And not just borrowing the style/élan but trying on the vocal stylings, word choice, low grade ironic business as if it was his very own.

A massive scandal on par with the burgeoning USC admissions issue feat. a famous skateboarder yet to be named!


I know you are angry with me for calling the cops on me and then for me petting your gorgeous beard, but can I still give you some advice like I used to?

If you are going to maliciously rob another man’s work at least toss some personalized whatevers in the mix.

At least twist the thing and make it look like it’s your own funky yet robustly hatable take.

You’re welcome!

And please deliver my regards to the Orange County detectives when you chat with them next.

Viva the revolution!

Missed Connections: “Who was that handsome bearded midget surfing Rincon last weekend?”

Ex-BeachGrit contributor Michael Ciaramella... are you testing boards in southern-ish California?

The weather was gray and the waves mediocre. An onshore crumble riffled the lip. We chose the same out of the way spot. Not really a secret, just a bit mysto and overshadowed by the famous Queen down the road.

Me: Tall, short-legged blonde. Over-optimistic on an an under-volumed thruster. Dirty wax job. JJF traction. Blue Futures. Getting stuck behind the section, again and again.

You: Dark hair and bearded. Pushing a Roberts twin fin hard though the inside section. Winged swallow tail. Hacked off traction. Fins flying, an air-reverse, that was almost a make.

We shared a laugh at the dads pushing their tiny sons into waves. Bathtub toys floating around in the froth. If they aren’t sponsored by age eight, they’ll never amount to anything. I flipped off Yadin’s drone. Then I felt bad. The guy has a hungry Instagram to feed.

We got out of the water at almost the same time. You watched as I tried to nurse a tiny one to the beach. I’ll admit, it wasn’t pretty.

We changed on the beach together, like strangers, keeping just the right distance. Our eyes met. You seemed like maybe you knew me, like you wanted to say something. But you didn’t.

Then we packed up our suits, dripping and heavy, and slung our boards under our arms. We went our separate ways.

You looked familiar, like I’ve seen you around, maybe on the internet somewhere.

Will I see you again?

Jen See: “People who love Spring are abominations who should be chased with pointy sticks!”

"Or maybe I need a Wavestorm."

I wasn’t at all ready for Spring break.

There I was, huddled in my hoody, board under my arm, slouching my way back from a mediocre surf. To be clear, both my surfing and the waves were mediocre, and not charmingly so. A bump of eddy, a near-fatal weakness, a murder of close-outs. But it was surf and a girl can’t complain too much.

Suddenly, a white Vanagan appeared out of nowhere. It sped by me, down the dead-end road to the beach. Music poured out the open windows. Some sort of amped up surf guitar, what you might get if you sent Dick Dale through an automated computer remix. They came to a sudden halt, as though they hadn’t expected the road to end so quickly. I could hear excited chatter emanating from the van, like squirrels discovering a brand new species of nut.

I stopped to watch what might happen next. Doors flung open, all at once. More excited, and from my vantage point, unintelligible, chatter. It was like they were seeing the beach for the very first time. Omg! The ocean! Waves! A Wavestorm slid out of the van, handled lovingly like the most precious work of art. Which, perhaps it is, all that fresh foam and elastomer skin. The board was brand-new with the shrink wrap still on it. This was going to be the best spring break ever.

I continued my walk back to the car, eyes wide at the thought that somehow it had become spring already. Time had sped up somehow. February mostly passed us by. Every day, flat. Rain, wind, no swells of note. South wind turned to onshore. Wash, rinse, repeat. Lows that spun the wrong way, which is not a thing that I thought was possible until it happened, week after week.

To be clear, I’m not complaining at all about the rain. It felt like a revelation to have the rain come at last. It fills the reservoirs and greens the hills. It builds sandbars and pushes cobbles down the mountains to our favorite point breaks, replenishing and renewing. These are all good things, in my opinion.

There’s also an acute psychological burden to living in drought country, I think. The sun beats down, blanching the soil, baking away every last drop of moisture. Life feels precarious and contingent. Maybe we aren’t supposed to be here at all. I remember a couple summers ago, browsing the book store, I picked up a dystopian novel set in drought-ridden California. Too real, man, too real. With the near-constant fires and baking heat, with the reservoirs steadily draining, it had already begun to feel pretty fucking dystopian.

But all that’s been washed away, at least, temporarily. California’s drama queen weather is never predictable. Maybe it rains again tomorrow, or maybe we’ll all scorch for months under the blazing sun. Dance while you can.

Whatever the weather decides to do next, the spring people are definitely here, pitching their umbrellas in the sand and staking their claim to a summer of fun. A guy on a longboard says hi to me like he’s known me forever. He’s bubbling with the exuberance, intoxicated by the sun, the waves, the whole thing. I can’t say I recognize him. He’s not one of the winter crew that I’ve seen every day — except February — for months. I fake my way through pretending to be less clueless than I actually am. This isn’t the worst way to go through life, I’ve found.

You surf through the winter. You surf in the rain and the wind. You surf a day with offshores so cold the wave’s spray cuts like glass. You stand on the beach to change, the wind whipping and tugging at your towel, your hands frozen to lobster claws, tugging clumsily at zippers and underwear that tourniquets around your legs. You drop your car keys and can’t pick them up. One day you get it good with six guys out. You know them all. You giggle with the secret glee of getting away with something that maybe you shouldn’t.

But now the spring people are here with their beach towels and their Wavestorms and their happy grins. Pull the shrink wrap off another one. I wonder if I sit close enough, if their exuberance will spread to me like some kind of virus. How would that feel? Fun, maybe.

I didn’t sit close enough to the shiny spring people to find out. Shitty waves, they still feel shitty. Maybe I need a Wavestorm. That fresh shrink wrap smell will make it all feel better.