LAURENT PUJOL, 35
YEARS SURFING: 23
BOARDS PER YEAR: 20-ISH
Pepe spends most autumns in SW France, winter/springs in Hawaii and wherever it’s big, burly and barrelling in between, and as a result is tooled-up to the eyeballs to deal with whatever Huey has in mind, from waist high to bloody huge. Not one of your standard pro quivers of dozens of identical 6’1” squashtails, Pepe unlocked his incredibly well-stocked shed in his back garden and hand picked a few select steeds to talk us through.
1. 5’8” x 1/1/4” Stretch Moon Tail Quad ‘Generation 7’ Tow Board.
“This one’s made from Stretch’s ‘sandwich’ construction of foam and carbon fibre, like a wake board. I’ve only surfed it once, in Hawaii this winter. We only towed once this past winter actually, it was all about paddling. I think this will go really well in huge barrels, but we’ll have to wait and see. These things are pricey, like $1600. The fins alone cost me $250.”
2. 6’8” x 181/2” x 23/8” Quad
“This is a crowd control board in case it’s big and really, really crowded at somewhere like Mundaka. I actually had the best barrel of my life on this at 8ft Backdoor two years ago. It says ‘Clark Foam’ on the stringer – I think it’s one of the last of the Clark blank stock.
3. 5’11”-ish moon/bat tail BOOGIE SNORKEL Quad shaped by Nathan Fletcher
“Nathan shaped me the Boogie Snorkel over here last autumn. I still haven’t surfed it yet actually.”
4. 9’4” Nathan Fletcher Model Quad by Stretch Riiidel EPOXY
“This is the design Tashnik won the Mavericks contest on, what guys like Jamie Sterling and Garrett McNamara are riding. The tail is really refined so you can actually surf it, doing good bottom turns. You need that at Mavericks, you have to crank a bottom turn out there, it’s not just a big fat drop. I’ve surfed it at Waimea, Phantoms, a secret spot near Mokuliea and Mav’s.”
5. 5’9” x 191/4” x 21/4” Twin shaped by Akila Aipa
“An MR-inspired twin with a new school twist. Really fast, I’ll surf it in small rights with a wall, up to overhead. Not in lefts though, I don’t like twinnies backside, you can’t crank off the bottom. I’ve had this one a little while, since 2002.”
6. 6’0” Round squash. Stretch Quad Epoxy.
“A small wave board that turns better, the wide round tail makes it really manoeuvrable, so it feels more like a thruster in that respect. Needs a steep-ish wave though, not too mushy. I would tell you how wide and thick it is too, only I can’t read Stretch’s handwriting…”
7. 6’5” x 181/2” x 25/16” Bat Tail Brett Moromoto.
“This is almost as big a board as I’d ride in Europe, in barrels anyway. I’ll surf it in good, big La Graviere and Mundaka, Like I said, I hardly ever surf the 6’8” here, unless it’s really packed.”
8. 6’3” x 181/2” x 23/8” Half Moon Tail Stretch epoxy Quad.
“I surf this in good waves, like 4-6ft La Graviere for example.”
9. 6’3” Double Wing Pl Tudor single-fin shaped by Chris Ebery
“I have a coupe of these single fins, they’re great. This one goes really good in the barrel, I have another one for manoeuvre-type waves.”