T&C proudly welcomes to the surf team North Shore’s own Joey Johnston. He’s 26, an avid surfer who loves to fish and dive when it’s flat. Although he’s new to the surf team, the relationship goes back decades, with his dad, Don Johnston, and his uncle, Jeff Johnston, both shaping for T&C in the nineties.
Unlike most professional surfers who cut their competitive teeth by grinding out the NSSA and Jr. Pro circuits, Joey’s path unfolded more naturally, unforced, and in its own time. He grew up happily free surfing the reefs between his beloved home break at Velzyland all the way down the seven-mile miracle to Haleiwa. It was an idyllic upbringing for a surfer, no doubt, but it was no cakewalk. Standing out on the North Shore is anything but easy.
Through the encouragement of friends like North Shore powerhouse Kona Oliveira and others, Joey’s passion for riding waves ultimately led him to Pipeline. He put in time on the bigger days and quietly worked into the lineup. On December 29, 2022, his patience and dedication rewarded him with not only the wave of his life but an entry into Surfline’s Wave of The Winter.
“It was the wave of my life!”Joey exclaims as he’s asked to take us through that wave again. He continues, “At first, I thought it was going to be a big closeout. It was a super late takeoff, but I got under the hood, rode the foam ball, and couldn’t see anything. It went all white from the spit and then cleared up, and I saw that it was still going and that I was still going. I was able to take one more pump, not really expecting that it would stay open. It pushed me all the way through towards Off The Wall. I rode another foam ball through the second section and was barely able to see anything but kind of saw a little opening, so headed right for that. I saw the lip was coming down, so I had to tuck a bit to not get clipped in the head. Next thing I knew, my hands were up, everyone on the beach was whistling and screaming, and I pretty much came in with tears of joy.”
Joey continued his relationship with Pipeline, dropping work and any other obligations so he could be out there for every good swell. His commitment paid off once again as he got invited to two of the most prestigious events in surfing, the 2023 Vans Pipe Masters and the 2024 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout.
Similar to his relaxed approach to Pipeline, Joey gravitated towards T&C surfboards in a natural way. He explains, “Before I got on the team, I bought a couple Glenn Pang boards secondhand from Finn McGill, and one of them was the board I got that Backdoor wave on. I started tagging Glenn when I posted it, not thinking anything of it, you know, no expectations or anything. Then, the T&C guys reached out and wanted to talk. Now I got some of the best boards I’ve ever had under my feet, especially for out at Pipe. Yeah, my dad and Uncle Jeff both shaped for T&C, and it’s pretty cool now that it’s coming back full circle, and I’m a team rider."
"The first time I heard of Joey was when Aaron, my Marketing & Content Manager showed me his sick barrel at Backdoor riding a T&C Surfboard shaped by Pang" explains Ryan, president of T&C Surf. "Aaron suggested we reach out and talk story to see what Joey was about. It took a little time to link up with everyone's busy schedule, lol. We finally got to sit down and Joey started to talk about his surfing career from when he was an amateur to now. We knew he had to be a pretty good surfer if you're surfing Pipe and Backdoor with all the boys on the regular. " He continues, "I was stoked to hear his journey but the funniest and coolest part was when I put together that he was Don Johnston's son and Jeff Johnston's nephew. I knew his last name but I just thought a lot of people have a last name of Johnston, lol. After realizing that connection I just got a special feeling that Joey was already part of the T&C Ohana. It was really cool because I grew up surfing with Jeff being one of our premiere T&C Shapers and I knew Don shaped for us back in the day as well. So, I'm so stoked to welcome Joey to our team and I look forward to seeing him rip on our boards!"