Page 42 - Surftime Magazine Vol.24

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It comes as no surprise that John John Florence
is a qualified LAPL pilot of small aircraft. With airs
this high and this fast and this smooth, he is re-
defining what is possible once you launch. Now,
smooth re-entries are as important as the height.
J
ohn John Florence is sitting on his back
porch that faces the Pipeline stretch of
the North Shore.
“You’d have no idea tomorrow’s going to
be as huge as they say,” Florence says,
watching the small blown out surf. At 23,
even Kelly Slater considers him the best
in the world, World Title or no. The whole
world watched Florence as he started surf-
ing when he was six months old, standing
up on an old body board in the pipeline
shorebreak. By the age of six, he was spon-
sored by O’Neill. At 13, when he was only
four-foot-eleven, he became the youngest
surfer to compete in the Vans Triple Crown
of Surfing. Today he is six-foot-two and 180
pounds. His contract with Hurley, worth
more than $4 million a year, ranks him the
surf world’s top earner. He lives in his own
house on 150 feet of prime oceanfront real
estate, where he enjoys the fruits of his surf-
ing. A cool renovated bungalow and guest
house. A summer-camp collection of toys
including a catamaran, a jet ski, and over
a dozen surfboards litter the lawn. A group
of friends and trusted assistants are in con-
stant attendance to grant his every wish.
But one might ask, what are those wishes at
this point? To hang on to a world title? After
his charmed life so far, a life of relative ease
living on the most famous stretch of beach
in surfing, adored in the media since he was
a toddler, wealthy beyond imagination, is
the motivation there to hang on to the title
as grimly as Kelly Slater has? There is no
way he will ever beat Kelly’s record. He’s
got too late a start. So what makes him
paddle out on a blown out day at Pipeline
and rip into the smoothest, highest aerial of
the winter? One gets the feeling it’s not the
money. One gets the feeling it’s the stoke.
Let’s hope so.
One Hawaiian World Champion losing it
was enough.
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