If you’re looking for a high-performance surfboard that will enable you to fully realise your potential in excellent waves then you should consider the Ghost – a shortboard designed by Hawaiian shaper Jon Pyzel. The Ghost was made famous by John John Florence, who used it in a range of conditions en route to winning his second world title.
The board is probably not going to be easy or intuitive for intermediate surfers who are looking to improve their game (i.e. surf like John John). Ironically these are the people most likely to purchase it for everyday use. All we can suggest to the majority of surfers out there is: think carefully about volume. Pro surfers ride wafer-thin boards because they are at the top of their game, both in terms of skill and fitness. The rest of us need some volume to keep us afloat when we’re not in the pocket of the wave.
If you’re a good surfer, the Ghost will reward you in optimal conditions. Think Hawaii, Indonesia, Fiji. If you’re unable to get to those places and you’re surfing your local beachbreak most of the time you might consider the Phantom – a step-down version of the Ghost, designed for performance in smaller waves.
The board features a medium rail shape with a low nose and medium tail rocker. The single middle concave becomes a double concave through the tail. The added volume upfront makes for stronger paddling – invaluable when waves start to get more serious. However, it doesn’t impede performance – just watch JJF in action below.
The beauty of the Ghost is that it is versatile enough to glide through flat sections without compromising performance on steep – or hollow – walls.
You can select from multiple find configuration options, although most will choose to emulate John John’s thruster setup.
Advanced to expert surfers
3 – 12 ft / solid overhead waves
Perspectives from John John Florence
John John shows that actions speak louder than words. Many commentators declared his performance at Margaret River as a defining moment in modern surfing. His flawless turns were like most of our mind-surfing adventures on steroids.
From the manufacturer
The Ghost is a possibly the first truly High Performance board that works great for all levels of surfer and could be considered a one-board quiver for any surf trip with decent to good waves on the menu.
A super versatile board, it has become one of JJF’s favorites for all kinds of surf (Margaret River winner, Bells Ollie Oop, J-Bay carves, and even head-high Trestles) and a go-to for many surfers around the world.
Originally designed for performance in hollower, more powerful types of waves, the Ghost has proven to be great for reef breaks, dumpy beachies, and also excels in point waves.
Reviews of the Pyzel Ghost from around the web
If you are one of those surfers who worries about paddle-speed, the forward wide point means there is plenty of foam under the chest, which helps when you are competing with crowds or hauling into the wave of your life.
So should you go on the Ghost Ride? Be warned you may find it a little scary at first, but if you hang in there it will be a lot of fun and full of surprises; and if you pay attention it might just spit you out the other end with an insight into how John John Florence regularly pulls off something freakish.
It knifes into a late drop better than any board I’ve ridden.
If that means something to you, good waves are in your present or near future and you have a shred of decency, self-respect and pride in your skill set, then the Ghost is worth the effort to figure out. You can do the best surfing in your life on it. Big call, but true.
This board is very user friendly for a HPSB and I noticed that it paddles very well, along with generous sized sweet spots that make it very forgiving to ride. One of the easiest performance boards I have ever ridden. It does not demand your feet to be in the perfect spots on the deck of the board to do good turns, and generate speed.
I rode this board with the John John Florence signature Futures Fins as a Thruster set up in the hollow lefts we got to surf and then I switched to a Quad set up for a little more speed at the point breaks.
This board roundup serves to confirm that if you’re after a high-performance surfboard then the Ghost is one of the absolute best options out there. Pyzel have crafted a shape that is classic yet optimised for excellent waves. They haven’t rested on their laurels either, producing step-down versions of the Ghost for everyday waves.