The stars of the surfing world are undeniably talented beings, and added to that they work hard to stay at the top of their game. That said, equipment plays a very real role in the performance of a pro surfer. Choice of board can make or break an athlete’s performance. And it can be a highly individual thing – the board that works magic for one wave rider might have so-so results for another. In any case, it’s interesting enough to be worth a look at surfer-stick matches that have been made in the top ranks of surfing.
Jon Pyzel has known and shaped for John John Florence since the World Champ was a grom, and is largely responsible for his current quiver.
Florence’s blade of choice in the 2016 World Tour was Pyzel’s popular Bastard. He rode it to first place in Rio, Portugal and Haleiwa as well as to the world championship. A highly versatile board, it remains his go-to in most conditions.
Also in Florence’s 2017 quiver is Pyzel’s The Ghost, a fave of many surfers and considered a one-board quiver by some.
Gabriel Medina and shaper Johnny Cabianca have been a winning combination for most of the Brazilian’s surfing career. Cabianca hasn’t diverted much from his Medina model, Da Freak Kid, which has simply grown in size along with its rider. Medina has been using the model since he ruled grommets in 2009 and scored world championship victory on it in 2014. With its thin nose and sensitive tail, it caters to just the kind of technical surfing he is known for.
Another board Gabe has favored is the MEGA, also by Cabianca, under the Pukas brand. This board won him the Junior and the 6 Star Lacanau Pro, the WT Quik Pro France and the WT Rip Curl Search. With the ability to pivot easily at high speeds, it’s a versatile stick for power surfing.
A big surfer with some weight on his frame, Jordy’s board choice in small waves is critical. In weak to fair surf, the Channel Islands Bunny Chow is his dependable pick. Its fuller rails give him max volume to keep him up and moving, with a rocker made for his powerful style of surfing. On the rail or in the air, Smith can count on the Bunny Chow to let him perform.
On better, cleaner waves, Jordy turns to CI’s Girabbit, a model that took him through some great comp performances in 2016. An all-around shortboard for decent to above average surf, it’s designed to generate speed and put power into turns. Competent surfers will find it gets them optimum results in tight pockets and hollow barrels.
For a long time, Julian Wilson was not one to stick with a single shaper. JS Industries, however, eventually caught and held his interest. From Trestles through to France, a go-to of his (now considered his signature board) has been their Air 17. Says Jules about this model, “I feel like this board, I could pretty much grab it out of the garage without checking the waves and I’ll get away with having a good surf.” A fast and forgiving blade, it allows progressive moves in an array of conditions, from small surf to perfect peaks.
Owen Wright went through a lot of boards by a lot of shapers before he partnered with JS Industries. He came out on top of the 2015 Fiji Pro and the 2017 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast proudly riding their boards.
In Fiji it was the JS Industries’ Forget Me Not that carried Wright through two perfect heats. While built primarily for ideal conditions, it performs in less-than-perfect surf as well, and has continued to be Wright’s board of choice in 2017.
At the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Matt Wilkinson showed his stuff with a series of boards by DHD. For pumping barrels in Round Three, he prepped the DNA from DHD’s TravelSeries. And when the swell increased, he was ready with step-up boards Ducksnuts and SweetSpot 2.0.
Going into the Corona Open JBay, Matt’s quiver consisted of several DNAs of varying dims and a Ducksnuts round tail.
The year before, Wilkinson’s Trestles quiver also included two sizes of the DHD Ducksnuts, as well as the EpoxiCORE DX1.
Adriano De Souza
Adriano is a fast surfer with a penchant for showy, above-the-lip maneuvers and strong, lengthy rail gouges. The versatile Channel Islands Rook 15 is the perfect tool for his approach, allowing for quick transitions as well as providing lots of speed and drive. He rode it to victory in the 2015 Margies and it remains a mainstay in his quiver. Together with the CI Taco Grinder as a step-up, the Rook 15 was the weapon that saw him take Pipe Masters and world championship in 2015.
Under the sponsorship of Lost Surfboards, Kolohe Andino’s set of boards have catered to his love of big waves and big carves. In last year’s J-Bay, he came equipped with the Lost Pocket Rocket, the same board with which he bested Kelly Slater in Hossegor in 2015, and with which he won the Allianz Billabong Pro in Cascais the same year.
While Sharp Eye’s Holy Toledo was built with Filipe Toledo’s airs in mind, and while he did some spectacular stuff with it, it was not really suited to the better waves he was encountering in comp settings. It was their OK model that scored him victory at Snapper in 2015 and really boosted his rail game.
After that, Sharp Eye derived from both the Holy Toledo and OK to create what could be the perfect board for Filipe’s surfing style, the 77. With more rocker, it’s his fastest board yet and will stand him in good stead in punchy surf.
When Sebastian Zeitz won the 2016 Margie Pro and became the world’s #2 surfer, he was riding Channel Island’s Proton. A collaboration between Al Merrick and Dane Reynolds, the Proton is a board for advanced and aggressive surfers. Also in Seabass’s quiver is the Rook 15, a heat winner for many a rider in the CT.
It was in 2015 that Fitzgibbon signed up with JS and was outfitted for Hawaii with a brand new set of boards, including the Monsta 3, two Forget Me Nots and a couple of Step Ups. Earlier that year she rode to her second Fiji Pro victory on Pyzel’s step-up board, the Next Step. Building for her capabilities, shaper Jon Pyzel channeled the dimensions of her shortboard into a larger model that could take on Fiji’s power.
Australian Tyler Wright won the 2015 Roxy Pro, her second consecutive time winning the event, with Lost Surfboards’ Driver beneath her feet. Matt Biolos crafted the board to suit Tyler’s narrower stance and powerful style of surfing, with a nose-rocker starting further back on the board than typical.
The year before, she won the US Open of Surfing on the Lost Sub-Scorcher, of which she said, “My magic board is magic.” She won the Billabong Rio Women’s Pro on the same board and credited Biolos for knowing what worked for her.
This year, Courtney Conlogue won the Outerknown Fiji Women’s Pro with a quiver from JS Industries. One of her go-tos throughout the comp was a Forget Me Not round pin step up.
A couple of years back, Courtney’s shaper was Tim Stamps of Stamps Surfboards. One of the models she favored was the Apex, a high-performance shortboard which won her the victory at Margaret River in 2015. In the Oi Rio Women’s Pro, which she also won, Conlogue took on smaller conditions riding a Courtney Conlogue Shaper’s Choice, also by Tim Stamps. The shaper aimed for a combination of contour, width and rocker that would allow Courtney to give her all in the competition.
Lost’s shaper Matt Biolos has worked with Carissa Moore since 2009 and has since seen her score 11 elite WCT wins and two ASP Women’s World Titles riding his boards.
The Sub Scorcher II has been a multiple contest winner for Moore. And in late 2015 she regained number one on the Leaderboad chart with a quiver that included Biolos’s Driver and Sub-Driver. The year before she won at Margies and Honolua riding a model custom-made for her by Matt, the CM-Pro.
The Roxy Pro victory went to Stephanie Gilmore this year, and her blade in the comp was DHD’s MF DNA. What worked for Fanno obviously worked for Steph, and for several others. The model was board of choice for the Quiksilver & Roxy PRO.
Another DHD board Stephanie’s had in her quiver is their number one selling high performer, the DX1, finely tuned for Gilmore’s style and built to excel in all conditions.
From this rundown, it’s obvious that board choice is as personal as a surfer’s combination of attributes and skills. Fifteen stars of pro surfing use almost as many different boards. It’s the exceptional board that will fit more than one surfer to a tee, showing how unique every wave rider is, and how doubly important it is to surf the right stick in competition.
Stay on top of the latest surf news and board reviews – Subscribe to BlinkSurf