The former model Jon Pyzel and letter home to Daddy in 1993.

John John Florence’s transcendentally sexy shaper Jon Pyzel reveals humble pre-stardom beginnings in letter home to daddy from 1993, “I love surfboards so it’s not even like really going to work! I really feel like surfboards might be my thing!”

"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.

Walk into his factory in Waialua on the North Shore or hit him up on his Instagram account, which he operates, and you’re going to talk, message, with Jon himself.

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.


Geriatric surfer (pictured).
Geriatric surfer (pictured).

Famous Los Angeles columnist telegraphs coming ultra VAL apocalypse, fulfills childhood dream by learning to surf at 70 years young: “Getting older is an epidemic. About 10,000 people turn 65 each day in the United States alone!”


Pithy newspaper columnists have all but vanished and thank goodness. Their musings about this, that or the other thing all wrapped up with nifty turns of phrase, dime store perspective, proper grammatical form and function in the service of feel good moments.


And The Los Angeles Times‘ Steve Lopez is no exception to that rule. He was written for the newspaper for many, many years, one of his columns becoming a Hollywood motion picture starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. and I’m sure is well respected but as he has turned 70, he claims that his real estate will be dedicated to musings on aging.

“Getting older, by the way, is an epidemic,” he wrote in today’s issue. “About 10,000 people turn 65 each day in the United States, and by 2035, people 65 and older will outnumber those under 18 for the first time. In California, a quarter of the population will be 60 or older by 2031. These trends will challenge and transform us in ways we’ve barely begun to prepare for. Housing, healthcare, the economy, the workforce and the design of cities, homes and transportation will all be impacted. Millennials and older people, who don’t usually end up at the same parties, could become increasingly dependent on each other…”

Etc. Etc.

All fine and well, I suppose, except for Lopez decided to fulfill his lifelong childhood dream of learning to surf at 70 (see photos here) and it must be assumed that these 65+ year olds will likely follow his lead. Will undoubtedly struggle into wetsuits, clutch at soft tops, whitewash ride straight into that burgeoning bucket list.

Is there any hope left for the grumpy local? The surfer who has toiled at her local through thick and thin?

Between Covid beginners and ultra VALs, it appears maybe not.

Though, I suppose, both can easily be paddled around. We shall really be in trouble when middle distance collegiate swimmers and/or water polo players discover surfing.

Forever a silver lining.

Always anti-depressive.

Reynolds, left, Travis and K, right, and the now devastated home in happier days.

Go-for-broke surfer Dane Reynolds’ rural idyll shattered, again, as Travis and Kourtney Barker-Kardashian’s $16.5 million Carpinteria beach house devastated by raging floods prompting new influx of paparazzi!

Biblical flooding smites oceanfront home of jack-in-the-box punk-lite drummer Travis Barker and reality show maven Kourtney Kardashian!

Just three months ago, residents of Carpinteria, a coastal town of thirteen thousand souls including the go-for-broke surfer Dane Reynolds, braced for legions of paparazzi following the sale of Conan O’Brien’s old joint on Padaro Lane there in Serena Cove to Travis and Kourtney Barker-Kardashian.

If you old, you’ll remember the cartoonish forty-six-year-old Travis: he was the little drummer boy in Blink 182, a pint-sized jack-in-the-box dressed up in grown-man tattoos who had a reality show with wife Shanna Moakler, a former Miss USA and nude model who once socked Paris Hilton in the jaw. Fine firm breasts and a sumptuous backside although when she smiled her wrinkled nose gave her a rabbity look.

Kourtney Kardashian, forty-three, who has the promise of lovely legs after a little of that baby fat melts off the thighs, is the eldest daughter of Robert Kardashian, the legal gun who got OJ Simpson off an impossible to defend double-murder charge.

Anyway, the pair dropped sixteen-and-a-half mill on talkshow host Conan O’Brien’s old beach retreat, a 0.41 acre oceanside parcel he’d bought in 2015 for a little under eight. 

A real pretty and subdued sorta joint, although cross the threshold and it’s fancy as hell. 

“Inside, a soaring great room displays a contemporary wood-burning stove and bi-folding glass doors spilling out to an ocean-view deck adorned with a barbecue, built-in seating and plenty of room for al fresco dining, plus two sets of steps leading down to a small grassy lawn and the beach beyond.

Back inside, a galley-style kitchen is outfitted with open shelving, granite countertops, high-end stainless appliances and an eat-in peninsula; and two bedrooms share a balcony, as well as a windowed bath equipped with dual vanities and a glass-encased shower.”


Waves out front are ordinary, but the proximity to father of three Dane Reynolds, who is surfing’s rampart against the milquetoast horror of the WSL’s “pandering bullshit that’s exploiting surfing”, is priceless and, perhaps, the reason the pair paid a premium for the joint. 

Now, following those terrific rains in Santa Barbara, the love nest is “a muddy mess… The 4 bed, 3.5 bath beach front property showed signs of the water-level reaching above the garage. The front yard was covered in mud and water, as crews worked to shovel the aftermath away.”

Hit worse were neighbours Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, whose live a few doors down, their joint blasted with dirt and mud and detritus.  

Papps have been all over it, including notorious British tabloid The Sun, See the photos of terrible devastation here. 

No word yet from the notoriously private Reynolds, proprietor of the Chapter 11 TV Surf Shop at 365 East Santa Clara Street in Ventura.

Anti-royal content creators The Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka H and Meghan, who live in nearby Montecito, are expected to tour the area soon.

Prayers etc.

World Surf League flips calendar back to early industrial revolution days, sends children into hepatitis soup for World Junior Championships!

An abundance of caution to the wind!

But here we are on the very precipice of organized professional surfing’s return at its very top level. The window for our World Surf Leauge’s 2023 championship tour kick-off is but days away and, in the meantime, we can feast upon the Sambazon World Junior Surfing Championship currently in the water at Rob Machado’s Seaside Reef.

(Watch here)

Now, those paying attention to various newses over the past few weeks have certainly read, maybe even experienced, the wild amount of rain that California has received. A deluge. An atmospheric bomb. Flushed sewers and proper surf leaving the state’s wave sliders on the horns of a somewhat dilemma.

Is barrel worth the risk of hepatitis?

As you know, Surfline, the official forecasting partner of the World Surf League, recommends NOT entering the water for at least 72 hours after a significant rain event due the aforementioned sewers not to mention various other toxic run-offs and, as I learned from Jen See yesterday, poison oak.


Well, in a shock to health experts, those World Juniors were ordered to paddle into the brown soup less than twelve hours after the sky opened and motor oil flowed from the hills into the lineup. I’ll admit as to being surprised when driving by Seaside yesterday and seeing singlets in the water. A bold move not seen since children were ordered into dangerous factories during those heady early industrial revolution days.

Did you think, though, that the World Surf League was capable of such… audacity? For the last few years an “abundance of caution” has been the guiding principle. Making young ones paddle into potentially lifelong debilitating disease seems… exciting.

An abundance of cation to the wind.

Filipe Toledo put on notice.

Strider's lurid tits!

World Surf League personality famous for lurid “attack dog tits” reveals the London drug bust that drove his family to California, “He went down hard for almost 10 years! We left the next day on a plane to Los Angeles!”

"We saw it all, death, drugs, violence…"

There are many reasons to fall in love with the WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski, still boyish at fifty and whom we can imagine falling gratefully asleep every night, tucked spoon-fashion into beloved wife, one hand babyishly grasping a breast as a child clutches a favourite toy for comfort when he enters the frightening realm of a dream. 

Shall we list the ways?

His now famous attack dog tits, a surf career that included a sponsorship by Quiksilver and a place in the Pipe hierarchy , as well as his rise from the skate ghetto of Dogtown, and now, in his harvest years, a man with the elasticity and balance of an adolescent.

And, today, the wild revelation that the only reason he ended up living in Santa Monica, then a hotbed of high-performance surf and skate stars, Jay Adams, Tony Alva etc, was a drug bust in London when he was only six. 

“In 1978 there was a knock on the door of our flat in the suburbs of London,” Strider told his 100k-plus followers on Instagram. “My pops had just left to go get Chinese food as we had company over… The knock was loud and inappropriate, it was “The Bobby’s!” (English Police). As the guests tried to stash the the illegal substances they kicked in the door and raided the house. I vaguely remember standing close by the front door when my dad got close enough to the house to realize what was going on! I was held by the shirt as he was detained out front on the street… He went down hard for almost 10 years! We left the next day on a plane to Los Angeles, stayed at our Uncle Jim’s and with our God Parents Edward & Sharon until we landed in this building picture above, The Sea Castle Apts.. Rent Controlled and on the beach, $300 a month for a 2 bedroom apt.! All we had was the beach, we saw it all, death, drugs, violence and WAVES. My brother @mescalito70 and I would wait on the shoreline for people to lose their boards and we would grab them. Ride them in the whitewash until they realized we had em. That’s how I started surfing.” 

Strider is a rare commodity in the surf game, candour his great quality. Speaking to The Surfers Journal a while back, he described his wild life in Santa Monica and Venice. 

“I saw a guy get shot in front of my house. And they used to deal drugs in the alley behind us. There were drug addicts that lived on the beach and under the pier. It was the Dogtown era. I moved there in ’78. It was right when Tony Alva and Jay Adams were hitting their peaks—doing what you see in the movies. They were stars. They’d kick me out of the parties because I was too young. They didn’t want me to see what was going on. In that sense, they were looking out for me, which thinking about it now, was really cool of them. I can’t believe most of those guys made it through those days. When I started surfing, I couldn’t go to Venice. My little crew could go down there and skate, but we weren’t even allowed to walk out to the breakwater. The guys would throw rocks at us, beat us up, break our fins, and then tell us to go home. They didn’t care that we were little kids. Slowly, I became friends with a kid named Ricky Massie, who was my childhood rival as a surfer. Through him, I got a hall pass to go to Venice. His family members were Venice gangsters. Even though the rest of us were terrified to go down to the breakwater, Ricky was probably safer down there than he was in his neighborhood. We used to go to parties at his house that were so scary.”