With competitive surfing postponed, the world's elite surfers have had the chance to expand the range of equipment they can ride. From single fins to fishes to foils surf stars like Owen Wright, Filipe Toledo and John John Florence have all adopted the ride anything mantra.
If it wasn't for the outbreak of COVID-19 for example Owen Wright would have now been in Grajagan, readying himself for the start of the Quiksilver Pro G-Land. No doubt the Aussie goofy footer would have traveled to Java with at least a six-strong quiver of fresh new DHD blades. Each board would have been tested, and retested, with Wright's choices backed by months of refinement and feedback as he dialed each board down to the most exact of measurements.
Instead Owen is at home near Byron Bay, getting slotted on his backhand on a 6'10" single fin shaped by Eden Saul of Dead Kooks Surfboards. With the rigors of competition lifted and the pressure of finding the most high performance of high performance short boards eased, Wright has been able to experiment with a variety of equipment. We're pretty sure the craft, with its foam pushed forward, neutral rails and double concave might not help him win any heats, but in terms of feel-good factor, it's hard to beat.
Wright is not alone. All over the planet CT surfers have used the competitive break to enjoy a rare foray into non-high performance equipment. Filipe Toledo has mixed up his blazing on his Sharpeye thrusters with some eye catching shralping on his keel twin fin at home in San Clemente.
He's been on the new Maguro model in which shaper Marcio Zouvi has mixed a classic San Diego fish design with a modern twin. Maguro means blue fin tuna in Japanese and with Toledo on board, it certainly lives up to its name as one of the fastest fish in the ocean.
On the experiment front few though have taken it to quite the extent of 2X World Champion John John Florence. We recently covered how his "ride anything mantra" has included riding a Pyzel-shaped foil board with a narrow twin fin set up. He jokingly calls it an "asymmetrical single fin foil board." Whatever you want to call it, it looks like fun.
With the WSL continuing to postpone or cancel all previously scheduled events until the next call in July, the world's elite surfers have a bit more time to expand their surf craft horizons. And that has to be a good thing, right?