Buying a new softboard? Temped by the JJF by Pyzel range? Here’s my full breakdown of what they’re like and whether they’re worth the price!
When it comes to buying a softboard the new JJF by Pyzel Funformance range takes performance to the next level.
But how do these soft top surfboards by 2 x world champ John John Florence stack up against the competition, who are they aimed at and are they worth the price tag?
Well I got my hands on one to put it through its paces and answer all your questions…
JJF By Pyzel Funformance – Are These Premium Priced Softboards Worth It?
What is JJF By Pyzel?
Simply put – the JJF by Pyzel “Funformance” range its a collaboration by John John Florence and his long time shaper Jon Pyzel.
They’ve put together a collection of 3 board models, tweaking them slightly in terms of volume, and crossed them over into a more soft top surfboard style build.
All of which we’ll breakdown in this review…
Funformance Softboard Models
Currently there are 3 boards in the JJF By Pyzel softboard range, all based on popular existing Pyzel surfboard models:
This high volume, 5 fin shortboard is a great option for those looking to drop down size wise from a longboard or mini mal and get their first taste of performance shortboarding. Ranging from 4’6 (23L) right through to 6’6 (52.3L) there’s a huge range of sizes for groms through to bigger adults.
…this is also the board model I personally tested out to write this review
Coming in 7’0, 8’0 and 9’0 models the log is a take on the traditional longboard outline, but with a 2+1 fin setup. Ideal for total beginners or for small mellow days it’s a fun and forgiving board
This quad fin fish is the most performance based shape in the JJF softboard quiver – with options in 5’6 (34.5L), 6’0 (43.5L) and 6’6 (53L). Perfect for those really looking to push their turns and enjoy the speed of a 4 fin setup.
Out of all the softboards I’ve tested out and seen, the JJF By Pyzel Funformance boards are hands down the best built softboards on the market.
With a durable deck skin (which can be surfed no worries without wax, which is a great bonus!), recycled EPS core, as well as a durable fibreglass and epoxy skin these are certainly built to last. The whole range also has a full length internal wood stringer – which gives the lifespan and durability a big boost too.
Unlike other softboards out there the JJF by Pyzel range comes with Futures Fins boxes too, which is a big boost in performance and personally I much prefer Futures fins – so that’s a big win on the construction front!
Overall though the board just feels solid, well built and that it’s going to last the distance.
How They Surf
When it comes to getting them wet and surfing some waves as you’d expect from a shaper of the calibre of Jon Pyzel – they surf super well. Sure they’re not going to be as performance based as their standard counterparts – but that’s not what the point.
Easy to paddle, responsive and with enough performance to help beginners progress or experienced surfers to still have fun on. And I think that’s the takeaway from how they handle in the water – they’re fun, easy but with a good measure of performance.
The Price Tag
Here’s where things start to get really interesting!
The JJF By Pyzel range starts at AU$749 / US$500 / £360 – so it’s far from being an impulse purchase!
To put it into perspective one of the most affordable softboard ranges on the market – Softtech – has boards starting at AU$309 / US$235 / £170 . Yes the construction and performance aren’t super comparable but thats a massive difference in price.
Even fellow world title holder Mick Fannings range of softboards only start at AU$549 / US$419 / £305
What’s even more puzzling on the price point side of things is an actual Pyzel is less than AU$895 / US$685 / £495 – which leaves me to ponder, why wouldn’t you just buy a proper board?!
JJF By Pyzel Or MF Softboard?
One of the quickest comparisons people are going to be making is how the JJF By Pyzel range stacks up against the MF Softboard range, by former world champ Mick Fanning.
Well when it comes to the range of boards available the MF Softboards win out – with XXXX models available, running from complete beginner boards through to quad fin grovellors, performance thrusters and even a twinny.
However when it comes to construction and performance the JJF By Pyzel takes it hands down – they’re just head and shoulders above them in terms of quality, durability and as a result, performance too. That internal wooden stringer is also a huge plus for the JJF range too, and should mean it will outlast the MF range.
If you’re looking for performance and durability then yes the JJF route is going to be the better investment, but if you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, and also softer and safer, the the MF range is what you’re after.
So Who Are They Aimed At?
This is where things get tricky and I’m finding it hard to figure out who these boards are actually marketed at!
They’re not soft enough to provide the safety aspect of a standard soft top surfboard (especially if you lock in a set of standard Futures fins) and the price point isn’t the most affordable. When it comes to performance with the exception of the log they’re almost too performance based for total beginners too – and a higher volume, more rounded rail soft board is certainly going to be easier to paddle and more forgiving.
The only logical conclusion I can come to on this front is that they’re either aimed at:
- The surfer who has a bit of surplus cash to splash and simply wants a fun extra board in the quiver for summer.
- A parent looking for a board they can steal off their grom and not have to carry a fleet of boards down to the beach
- Beginner surfers looking for a board that bridges the gap between the traditional soft top and first hard board
My Final Thoughts
Overall the JJF by Pyzel Funformance range is well built and delivers on the promises of offering a jump in performance than a traditional soft board.
However I still can’t get past that price point in terms of justifying the purchase – but if that’s not a big deal for you then yes, you’ll have heaps of fun on it!
I also feel like they’re trying to create an un-necessary stage in progression, filling a gap between soft board and first hard board, and again at that price point you’d be better off buying a proper Gremlin or Astro-Pop board instead!
So the big questions is will it be staying in my quiver?
Well I might take it out for a few more surfs, but honestly there are other options I’d like in my board rack more!