"Shaping boards might be the thing I've been looking for as far as work goes and I may give it a try to see if I've a natural talent for it."
Jon Pyzel, as you know, has been making boards for John John Florence, who is thirty and six-foot two, since the kid was five, since his mama Alex brought the boys to see him at his old bay at Sunset Beach in 1996 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.
Fifty-something Jon is also one of the most accessible shapers in the world.
He’s like Gabriel’s shaper Johnny Cabianca. The pair are in the game to make beautiful surfboards, not to wind up sitting behind a desk commanding an apparel and hardware biz.
Now, in a post to his legion of follows, some drawn by his shaping wizardry, others by what has been described as his “diabolical and transcendental sexiness”, Pyzel has revealed a letter he wrote to his daddy back home in California in 1993, three years before the intervention of Mama Florence.
Jon was twenty-four and earning two hundred bucks a week patching busted shooters but even at this early stage he exhibits the perseverance and optimism of a man who would eventually become the master and overseer of a multi-million dollar surfboard empire.
“Hi Dad! How are you!,” writes Pyzel. “I’pm working at Coffee Gallery, waiting tables and also working at Country Surfboards, fixing broke and bashed-up surfboards.
“I can work there whenever I want, and get paid by what I do not by the hour, and I am learning more about glassing, polishing, putting on fins etc.
“I really love surfboards, so it’s not even really like going to work (except for the itch). I really feel like shaping boards might be the thing I have been looking for as far as work goes, and I may give it a try, to see if I have any natural talent for it!
“I love you so much, Dad. I always will. Jon.”
My letters home, from Bali, the Gold Coast and so on, at a similar age were less floral, and more anxious, “have got a girl pregnant”, “need money”, “am in hospital again”, “hate work and love living on the dole” etc.