At the heart of Mazda’s vehicle design lies inspired craftsmanship, attention to detail and a human-centric design philosophy. These core values are shared with Southern California’s renowned surfing community, as Zoom-Zoom discovers.
Words Rhea Cortado / Images Aaron Brimhall / Film David Allen
Just like the takumi of Mazda, who create a unique connection between man and machine, the skilled artisans of the surfing industry are dedicated to creating a bond between human and nature. Rhea Cortado, a writer who loves surfing, meets two of California’s top craftsmen who are contributing to this world-famous surf culture, while testing the capabilities of the 2022 Mazda CX-5.
MEET THE SURFBOARD SHAPER
“SHAPING IS A NEVER-ENDING JOURNEY OF LEARNING.”
Dominic Picone, Picone Surfboards
Born and raised in an Italian family in San Diego, Dominic Picone grew up in a household steeped in respect for the traditions of generational knowledge. His natural affinity for carpentry and working with his hands evolved into a curiosity about the skilled craftspeople who sculpted his favourite surfboards. So he set out to meet a few of them and experience an apprenticeship in the art of shaping surfboards the traditional way – by hand from start to finish.
Today, 10 years since he first touched a power planer, Picone’s boards are glassed and polished at the renowned board-building institution Gordon & Smith (G&S), where he learned the ropes. Since 1959, only a select few dedicated shapers have earned a spot at the G&S factory, which finishes some of the most coveted surfboards in the world. “It was a huge deal to be able to work with different craftsmen in the industry,” Picone says. “It took my shaping from a very basic level and just stepped on the gas.”
Picone’s designs meld heritage contours of classic California boards with his own signature style to personalise each board for the rider. “I’m kind of like a melting pot,” he says of translating hydrodynamics into having fun. “I’ve learned from observing so many different incredible shapers that I have been able to use those experiences to do my own thing in my unique way. Every time I make a board for somebody and I get a call saying, ‘This is the best board I’ve ever ridden,’ that gives me the fuel to continue.”
MEET THE WETSUIT MAKER
“I STARTED JONESEA TO KEEP THE SOUL ALIVE IN THE SURF INDUSTRY.”
Shane Jones, Jonesea
Shane Jones begins his day in the waves. “I started surfing when I was five years old,” he says. “My life revolves around surfing.” A lifelong waterman, Jones honours the tradition of surf industry pioneers in California who created products locally, by surfers for surfers.
“I put my soul and all the love I have for surfing into my wetsuits,” he says. And it shows. Jones’s signature models have been worn by all types of surfers in all types of waves: pro and avid surfers that he supports in the community; everyday surfers from Santa Barbara to San Diego; and legends such as big wave pioneer Walter Hoffman, surfing champion Dale Dobson, and iconic skater Tony Alva, to name a few. While Jones takes his craft seriously, at the heart of his brand is sharing the joy that surfing provides: “My motto is: look good, feel good, surf better.”
In todays marketplace where most wetsuits are mass-produced overseas, Jones single-handely creates every wetsuit from start to finish in his Costa Mesa studio. A self taught tailor, Jones has spent thousands of hours mastering the skills of pattern making, cutting, gluing, stiching, silk screening and finishing.
He strives for the highest standards of quality and environmental and social consciousness in every step of the process, rigorously testing designs for functionality while designing stylish silhouettes. He chooses premium eco-friendly materials such as Yulex® natural rubber.
Unlike petroleum-derived neophrene, which is used in traditional wetsuit manufacturing, Yulex® is a plant-based replacement thats FSC® certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The suits are also lined with recycled polyester fabric and fused with water-based glue free from harmful VOC's.
MEET THE 2022 MAZDA CX-5
“THE RITUAL OF DRIVING TO THE BEACH TO SURF HAS BEEN A CONSTANT IN MY LIFE.”
Rhea Cortado, Writer And Surfer
I thought driving on the coast highway on a sunny day with waves on the horizon couldn’t get any better, but the comfortable driving experience in the Mazda CX-5 raised the bar. Through three freeway changes, the ride was effortless thanks to the ample full-colour 10.25-inch display on the Mazda Connect Infotainment System and Blind Spot Monitoring on the side mirror while changing lanes. And the whipping wind around me was no match for the Bose speakers that delivered an immersive soundtrack. Each new feature discovery became a delightful surprise that proved essential from the interior to exterior.
The elegant interior features red stitching and accents throughout.
All-new features include a wireless Qi phone-charging tray.
The cabin’s finishes showcase Mazda’s quality craftsmanship.
It is clear that every element within the cabin has been designed with a refined attention to detail, from the stitching on the seats to the carefully considered placement of the controls and gauges. High-quality materials and textures are harmoniously interwoven throughout the interior and, combined with the uncluttered dashboard, make for an incredible driving experience. I felt like I was travelling in the lap of luxury.
Heading towards the beach, I accelerated with such ease on the winding single-lane roads that I was grateful for the active driving display that projects the speed limit changes. A hectic parking lot became smooth and breezy aided by the Mazda CX-5’s parking sensors to navigate passersby and nearby surfmobiles. By the end of the trip, it felt like my second home. My smattering of gear barely filled a corner of the ample boot, with plenty of space to slip the board through, creating a quick waxing table before I hit the surf.
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Discover the refined craftsmanship in the 2022 Mazda CX-5