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What to Pack for the North Shore, According to Nathan Florence
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What to Pack for the North Shore, According to Nathan Florence

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Nimitz, H2, past the military barracks, sugar fields, and on to Kam Highway. As you cruise toward Haleiwa, you can see whitewater on the horizon. Enough swell to make you excited. Enough swell to make you nervous. It’s like driving right out of your comfort zone.
The North Shore remains the ultimate surf destination, equally terrifying and stoke-inducing. The two things you need the most on the North Shore are bravado and respect. But you’ll also need to pack, you know, actual things, so we caught up with Nathan Florence on his way to the Opening Ceremony of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational to find out what he recommends surfers stuff in their boardboards on a pilgrimage to the North Shore.
From board shorts to boards that can handle poundings you’re not quite accustomed to receiving, here’s a list of the gear you will need for your time on the rock.
 

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Boardshorts are standard wear on the North Shore from the line-up to Foodland to… well, pretty much anywhere you go. Hawaii’s climate is just about nirvana, warm all day with temps dropping at night (bring a flannel or hoodie.) But the water temp is pretty much always perfect and trunkable.nnThe brand-new Vans Surf Trunk is light and comfy, with the new Trunk Lock waist closure for a secure fit in all conditions. DuPont Sorona fabric offers soft, smooth and fast-drying properties that balance strength and stretch. Also note, there’s no fly. Features a warped check design.nnVans Surf Trunk $99″,”url”:”https://i0.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/VANS-SURF-TRUNK.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-13T14:16:49-08:00″,”caption”:”“The Tank has a really sharp pintail to make it super maneuverable for big lefts and big backside turns,” says Florence. This model came about specifically when Florence asked Pyzel for more foam in his step-ups. It’s a beefed-up version of Pyzel’s Next Step model and it’s what Florence won the Red Bull Cape Fear on at Shipstern’s Bluff.nn“It works so good at Sunset, Haleiwa, Pipe and Backdoor,” says Florence. “It’s great in the barrel and navigates that bump and chop. Pyzel is one of the best in the world and he and John are so connected. His specialty is the step-up.” nnThe Tank features extra volume under the chest for paddle power, plenty of rocker for heavy water, slimmed-down rails and tail, and a 5-fin option to change it up in different conditions. Recommended at 2 inches to 10 inches longer than your standard shortboard.nnPyzel Tank $755.00″,”url”:”https://i2.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/PYZEL-TANK.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-13T14:16:49-08:00″,”caption”:”If you want to document your next trip to the North Shore, you’d be wise to grab a GoPro Hero 8. “I’ve pretty much had all the GoPros and I’ve definitely lost a few GoPros,” laughs Florence, “But the 8 has the best Hypersmooth at 120 frames.”nnHypersmooth 2.0 is GoPro’s Electronic Image Stabilization designed to smooth out the jerks and movements in video captures made possible by their advanced roller shutter algorithm.nnThe Hero Black 8 is a tiny 4K media miracle, rugged and waterproof enough to not need housing. This one has advanced high-fi audio in new mic ports as well as a flip-up display screen, and can be used with powerful LED lights for dark shoots with Narrow, Linear, Wide and SuperView lenses.nnFlorence is big on the mouth mount and has the barrel footage to prove it.nnGOPro Hero 8 Black Specialty Bundle with SD card $399.99″,”url”:”https://i0.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/GoPro.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-13T14:16:49-08:00″,”caption”:”“I’m not the most knowledgable fisherman,” admits Florence, “But it’s my new addiction. I see a spot that looks good, put on a little grub and some weight and just cast. I don’t always catch something but I keep a little pole in my truck at all times.”nnThe GX2 Spinning Rod and Reel Combo is an easy, affordable knock around set up with a Shakespeare rod designed specifically for Ugly Stik and a double anodized aluminum spool with oversized fall wire for durability. The two-piece rod is fiberglass and graphite. Fish on… just don’t mess around by the reserves.nnUgly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod and Reel Combo $49.99″,”url”:”https://i0.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/UGLY-STIX-G2-ROD-AND-REEL.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-13T14:16:49-08:00″,”caption”:”“Get yourself one good pair of slippers and put your name on them,” says Florence with a laugh. “We wear slippers every day in Hawaii. My friends and my brothers are always stealing my slippers. But if you put your name on them, you can call them out when you see them on someone else’s feet.”nnThe Ultrarange are great for North Shore life, specifically for the rubber waffle outsole grip and Ultra Cush Lite footbed so your back isn’t aching by the end of a day of checking Haleiwa, standing in line at Ted’s and walking the bike path. Just make sure you never wear them in the house.nnVans Ultrarange V-Land Flip Flop $44.95″,”url”:”https://i2.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/VANS-UTRA-RANGE-V-LAND.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-17T14:16:10-08:00″,”caption”:”If you’re feeling like you want to push yourself into some big stuff, take every precaution to not lose your board. On the heaviest days, set waves can push half a dozen boards at a time to the sand, forcing everyone to play musical surfboards on the beach.nnFlorence opts for the DaKine Kainui Big Wave for big days. It’s 12-feet long and 5/16-inch thick, so you should be able to take a few on the head without losing your board. The double brass swivels keep it from getting tangled and it has a quick-release emergency pull pin for when things get particularly hairy. Just know what you’re getting into.nnDakine Kaunui 5/16 Big Wave Leash $36.95″,”url”:”https://i1.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/DAKINE-KAINUI-BIG-WAVE-LEASH.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″},{“@type”:”ImageObject”,”datePublished”:”2019-12-17T08:58:45-08:00″,”caption”:””I got these for all my friends last Christmas,” says Florence.nnIt should comfort you to know that the North Shore locals all carry throwing knives around now.nn”They’re great for opening coconuts and opening beers,” Florence elaborates. “Plus we throw them at old boards and into walls when the surf is down. They’re useful and so much fun.”nnThe Cold Steel True Flite Thrower is a good all-around tool made of 1055 Carbon steel with a black weather-resistant finish, equipped with a sharp, functional utility edge. If you plan on using these for coconut opening, just make sure they’re packed away in your check-in luggage.nnCold Steel True Flite Thrower (Clampack) $23.99″,”url”:”https://i2.wp.com/www.surfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/COLD-STEEL-TRUE-FLIGHT-THROWER.jpg?resize=1200%2C1200&ssl=1″,”width”:”1200″,”height”:”1200″}]}
FUTURE FINS TECHFLEX JOHN JOHN FLORENCE“All of Pyzel’s boards are set up with Futures,” says Florence. “I just go with John’s model and they always work for me. I use the medium size for my step-up, large size on a shortboard and quads on my guns.”The John John Techflex is made for control in more powerful surf with additional base and rake and flat foil.Futures John John Techflex Thruster Surf Fin $115Photo Credit: VansVANS SURF TRUNKYeah, boardies are pretty obvious. Boardshorts are standard wear on the North Shore from the line-up to Foodland to… well, pretty much anywhere you go. Hawaii’s climate is just about nirvana, warm all day with temps dropping at night (bring a flannel or hoodie.) But the water temp is pretty much always perfect and trunkable.The brand-new Vans Surf Trunk is light and comfy, with the new Trunk Lock waist closure for a secure fit in all conditions. DuPont Sorona fabric offers soft, smooth and fast-drying properties that balance strength and stretch. Also note, there’s no fly. Features a warped check design.Vans Surf Trunk $99PYZEL SURFBOARDS “THE TANK”“The Tank has a really sharp pintail to make it super maneuverable for big lefts and big backside turns,” says Florence. This model came about specifically when Florence asked Pyzel for more foam in his step-ups. It’s a beefed-up version of Pyzel’s Next Step model and it’s what Florence won the Red Bull Cape Fear on at Shipstern’s Bluff.“It works so good at Sunset, Haleiwa, Pipe and Backdoor,” says Florence. “It’s great in the barrel and navigates that bump and chop. Pyzel is one of the best in the world and he and John are so connected. His specialty is the step-up.” The Tank features extra volume under the chest for paddle power, plenty of rocker for heavy water, slimmed-down rails and tail, and a 5-fin option to change it up in different conditions. Recommended at 2 inches to 10 inches longer than your standard shortboard.Pyzel Tank $755.00
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GOPRO HERO 8 BLACKIf you want to document your next trip to the North Shore, you’d be wise to grab a GoPro Hero 8. “I’ve pretty much had all the GoPros and I’ve definitely lost a few GoPros,” laughs Florence, “But the 8 has the best Hypersmooth at 120 frames.”Hypersmooth 2.0 is GoPro’s Electronic Image Stabilization designed to smooth out the jerks and movements in video captures made possible by their advanced roller shutter algorithm.The Hero Black 8 is a tiny 4K media miracle, rugged and waterproof enough to not need housing. This one has advanced high-fi audio in new mic ports as well as a flip-up display screen, and can be used with powerful LED lights for dark shoots with Narrow, Linear, Wide and SuperView lenses.Florence is big on the mouth mount and has the barrel footage to prove it.GOPro Hero 8 Black Specialty Bundle with SD card $399.99UGLY STIK GX2 ROD AND REEL“I’m not the most knowledgable fisherman,” admits Florence, “But it’s my new addiction. I see a spot that looks good, put on a little grub and some weight and just cast. I don’t always catch something but I keep a little pole in my truck at all times.”The GX2 Spinning Rod and Reel Combo is an easy, affordable knock around set up with a Shakespeare rod designed specifically for Ugly Stik and a double anodized aluminum spool with oversized fall wire for durability. The two-piece rod is fiberglass and graphite. Fish on… just don’t mess around by the reserves.Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod and Reel Combo $49.99VANS ULTRARANGE V-LAND“Get yourself one good pair of slippers and put your name on them,” says Florence with a laugh. “We wear slippers every day in Hawaii. My friends and my brothers are always stealing my slippers. But if you put your name on them, you can call them out when you see them on someone else’s feet.”The Ultrarange are great for North Shore life, specifically for the rubber waffle outsole grip and Ultra Cush Lite footbed so your back isn’t aching by the end of a day of checking Haleiwa, standing in line at Ted’s and walking the bike path. Just make sure you never wear them in the house.Vans Ultrarange V-Land Flip Flop $44.95
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Photo Credit: Surfboards.comDAKINE KAINUI BIG WAVE LEASHIf you’re feeling like you want to push yourself into some big stuff, take every precaution to not lose your board. On the heaviest days, set waves can push half a dozen boards at a time to the sand, forcing everyone to play musical surfboards on the beach.Florence opts for the DaKine Kainui Big Wave for big days. It’s 12-feet long and 5/16-inch thick, so you should be able to take a few on the head without losing your board. The double brass swivels keep it from getting tangled and it has a quick-release emergency pull pin for when things get particularly hairy. Just know what you’re getting into.Dakine Kaunui 5/16 Big Wave Leash $36.95Photo Credit: ColdSteel.comCOLD STEEL TRUE FLITE THROWER”I got these for all my friends last Christmas,” says Florence.It should comfort you to know that the North Shore locals all carry throwing knives around now.”They’re great for opening coconuts and opening beers,” Florence elaborates. “Plus we throw them at old boards and into walls when the surf is down. They’re useful and so much fun.”The Cold Steel True Flite Thrower is a good all-around tool made of 1055 Carbon steel with a black weather-resistant finish, equipped with a sharp, functional utility edge. If you plan on using these for coconut opening, just make sure they’re packed away in your check-in luggage.Cold Steel True Flite Thrower (Clampack) $23.99

North Shore

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