design forum

What He Rode: JJF

Jon Pyzel breaks down the board John John Florence is riding on this month’s cover

| posted on February 13, 2014
The combination of a relatively small board and increased volume allowed John John to position himself perfectly for the drop on this wave. Photo: Hawkins.

The combination of a relatively small board and increased volume allowed John John to position himself perfectly for the drop on this wave. Photo: Hawkins.

HEIGHT: 6’0” (183 cm)
WEIGHT: 168 lbs (76.2 kg)

SHAPER: Jon Pyzel
MODEL: Next Step
LENGTH: 6’8″
WIDTH: 18.60″
NOSE WIDTH: 10.70″
TAIL WIDTH: 13.25″
TAIL: Round Pin
CONCAVE: Double to slight vee off the tail
GLASSING: 4×4 Oz. deck, 6 Oz. bottom
BLANK: Green density (standard) Arctic Foam with four-ply stringer

FINS: JJF Techflex Signature Fin
HEIGHT: 4.56″
BASE: 4.45″
AREA: 14.98″

John John has a reputation for riding pretty small boards out at Pipeline. Does this board fall into that category?

Yeah, he’s always liked small boards. I think him and Jamie O’Brien have changed the approach a bit. You’re really at an advantage backside at Pipeline because you can get so deep and ride a smaller board. These guys grab their rail from takeoff and aren’t actually going to the bottom of the wave.

Would you shape him something different for similar sized Sunset or Cloudbreak, or even Teahupoo?

No. As soon as we go to step-ups, essentially a 6’2” or bigger, they’re all a version of the same design.

A lot of guys on Tour would ride completely different boards, right?

In the past, guys would order boards specifically for each spot, but John John’s a freak. He has natural advantages that other surfers don’t. Also, surfing those spots in contests is way different than when a ton of dudes are out. Take Sunset for example, on an average day there are fifty dudes out on 9’6”s and above. When you take away all those dudes and it’s just a few guys in the lineup, it’s really easy to ride a smaller board.

The cover board, standing out among countless options. Photo: Glaser

The cover board, standing out among countless options. Photo: Glaser

How did you distribute the volume on this board?

It has a lot of volume for being less than 2 1/2” thick, but I kept it in the middle, under the chest, and through the nose. You don’t want any of that volume out on the rail because it will work against you when you are setting your line. The back third is where everything is very foiled down so you have a nice edge that penetrates into the water. By having the volume of a bigger board packed in a smaller board, it helps him get right underneath the lip. In the cover photo, it looks easy, like he’s just kickin’ it, but that was a heavy drop and you need that extra volume to get in the right spot.

What about the concave? Why have a double to slight vee?

With the double, you get the speed and lift benefits of concave but as you blend it out the back into a vee, you release the pressure that concave creates. Imagine you’re at Sunset or Pipe on a single concave and you go to turn. When you put it on rail in that situation, you’re creating so much pressure. But if you blend the double into a slight vee, you’re adding a tiny bit of tail rocker and letting some water out of the way so there’s less pressure.

What can you tell us about the blank and stringer?

It’s an Arctic Foam Green Density blank with a thick stringer, a little over 1/4” and four-ply. Arctic’s Green density is what I use for all boards over 6’4”, whereas I use their lighter yellow density for shortboards. He really likes their foam. If I make him boards with different blanks, he can tell the difference. Also, having that bigger stringer gives him a lot more confidence in his boards. An I-can-do-anything mentality without worrying about it breaking.

How was this board glassed?

On all my step-ups, we do a double 4-oz deck and a 6-oz bottom. A lot of glassers will do a 6-4 deck and a 4-oz bottom, but then you have 10 ounces of cloth on the deck and only 4 on the bottom. To give it more balance and avoid creating a weak side that buckles easily, we do a 6-oz bottom and double-four deck. The decks will dent a little bit, but the boards tend to have more strength overall.

By adding a gentle vee off the tail, Pyzel slightly increased the tail rocker. Photo: Glaser

By adding a gentle vee off the tail, Pyzel slightly increased the tail rocker. Photo: Glaser

With the Tour around the corner, are you guys doing anything to prepare?

I’m building him a bunch of shortboards right now, and he’s riding shortboards everyday somewhere. Not necessarily in waves like he’s going to surf in Australia though. He hasn’t grown in a while, so it’s pretty easy as far as sizing goes. It’s not like he gained 10 pounds last year or anything. The main thing I would say, compared to last year, is he’s really into round pins because he’s able to push harder through turns without feeling like he’s going to slide out.

Do the roundtails have a similar surface area in the tail as the squashes you make him?

Yeah, they’re basically squash tails missing corners. Maybe a little coffee cup full of volume is missing. For a long time, he was reluctant to try them. The common perception is that they’re for bigger waves, but once he started riding a couple, they felt good in small waves. They carry their curve through the outline really well, so in that sense it loosens the board up a bit. They really suit his style of surfing because he pushes so hard through his turns.

Come Snapper, we might see him on one?

There’s about a 90 percent chance he’ll be riding a roundtail. He’ll take ten boards down there and I’ll be there as well and will shape some boards while there. With Margaret River on the schedule, he’ll be there for two months. It’s a long time.

The addition of Margaret River must present some new challenges.

I’m pretty confident. He’s riding the same design he won on there a few years ago. If it’s bombing, he’ll need some step-up boards. Some 6’2”s, maybe a 6’6”. Like I was saying earlier, the step-up boards we’re making, the ones he’s riding at Pipe and Sunset, are pretty universal. The double concave really helps give him speed without looking like he’s riding a big, stiff gun.

John John rides his signature Futures Techflex fins in everything from 2-foot Lowers to 12-foot Pipeline. Photo: Glaser

John John rides his signature Futures Techflex fins in everything from 2-foot Lowers to 12-foot Pipeline. Photo: Glaser

  • Javier F

    I dont care what they ride. I just think that a real man would be on a boogey board. Standing up is easy…the wave is so much bigger if you are lying down. As a Galveston local, we understand this. Hawaii isnt that much bigger than Texas on a big day. Believe me…I know how to charge. And boogey boarding is way more gnarly in the long run.

    • Pete

      You can’t be serious Javier! A real man stands up on a surfboard. No flipper, no gloves no nothing. Just him, his cojones and his board. Seen any bodyboards at Jaws, Belharra or Mavs? No. They can’t charge. And I’m a former bodyboarder.

      • Carl Brandt

        If you’re a former bodyboarder and you think they don’t charge then you are an absolute idiot.

    • keeper of trolls

      dont feed the trolls

    • DEREK

      LOL, no wonder texas surfers get a bad rap. Dude, please tell me you are joking. Please, please, please. If you are not, well then you are just RETARDED.

    • Johnny Bee

      So, you are a bodyboarder and you’re from Texas? Rad.

    • surfpatrolbaja


    • Not a dick dragger

      Real men don’t “Drag their dicks in the water” as Bob Marley says it best, “Get Up, Stand Up…Stand up for your rights…” Seriously Javier…. Boogie Boarding is so completely gay and way, way easier. Learn to surf…

    • Shaun Silliman

      ROFL ^^^^^^^^^ this guy is an utter moron… You live in texas.. Have you ever seen reef in your life bro????? Tx people are sooooooooooooooooo stupid.. i would know cause i lived there for a short miserable period of my life

    • Shaun Silliman

      Ride a short board not a longboard…. catching fucking waves off the boats that pass by

      • Guest

        come on buddy theres nothing wrong with a nice single fin log ae!!!!

    • Hawaiian-in-Dallas

      Comparing Texas waves with Hawaiian waves? I hope this is a joke.

    • cleanSooke

      The only idiots are the ones that think this guy is serious.

    • Wayne Kerr

      hehe Go Longhorns huh

    • RIsurfer

      ^^haha!! good one!^^

  • Johnny Bee

    I see a single fin in the rack! Would love to see JJF riding that one!

  • ZEUS

    i like my pyzel a lot, quality craftsmanship and rare to find a board under 6’8 that floats a heavy footed 265 pound woolly mammoth like me. everything is subtle and smooth, no dramatic lines, bends, curves, angles. the board always feels neutral, lets me focus on how bad my surfing actually is and not worry about equipment.

    • Brando

      what pyzel are you on and dims please

    • David Langen

      Very funny, Zeus. I am proud of you for still riding short board at 265 lbs.! I like your choice of “woolly mammoth” and “neutral”. Very descriptive and humble. I’m sure you surf better than you claim.

      • ZEUS

        thanks David, i’m still learning to make a shortboard work, it’s been a humbling but great experience so far. when i accidentally do the right thing all of a sudden the board takes us to a place on the wave that’s totally new to me. sure my wave count sucks so far this season but those little moments make it all worth the effort. transitioned from an eggier and much heavier hybrid shape just this year.

    • Rafael Buk

      What Pyzel and dims are you riding Zeus? thanks

      • ZEUS

        Rip Off, i put the dims and link to the board in my reply to Brando above 🙂

  • David Langen

    We in Hawaii are really proud of Jon Jon Florence. Rated number 2 in the world–he can hot dog with the most creative and handle the heavies as well as any. Thanks for the discussion of Jon Jon’s surfboards. Mr. Pyzel has quite a lot of science in his designs.

  • Dixie Normiss

    That double flyer, channel, single fin looks fun.

  • Even a Bodyboarder knows

    Before Jamie and JJ. Johnny Boy was the one to approach Pipe like an Animal grappling rail at the Take Off. Then Kelly really took that to a whole another level. What about Andy and Bruce? Last time I was at Pipe Everytime someone went backside it looked like Bruce.

  • cleanSooke

    Thanks for the deets. So interesting to see what these guys are riding, not just length and width. Keep it detailed! Thanks again.

  • Joel

    Ride what ever you guys want.

  • Clayton

    Damn..would love to see him rip that single fin!
    Clay –