John John Florence's welcome back party
See that photo above? It was shot today by Brandon "LaserWolf" Campbell. And, as you're no doubt aware, the surfer is John John Florence, 20 years old and currently on the North Shore of Oahu, where he lives. After busting his ankle on a full-rote landing during a Quik Pro, Gold Coast Expression Session, John John missed the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach. Then, two weeks ago, he officially withdrew from the Billabong Pro, Rio due to his ankle not being 100 percent. He then released this month's best online clip, filmed prior to the injury (that ain't really relevant to this, but s'if you need another excuse to watch?).
He's been spotted a couple times cruising around on a soft top, but today Mr Florence had his first legitimate session on a proper surfboard. A board, in fact, that was handshaped by Bob Hurley especially for John. "There was a little Bob Hurley logo on the side, but that was it," says LaserWolf. "I don't think he even had time to sticker up. He got it and just kinda rushed out with it. It'd been really bad weather all morning, and then this window opened up, it stopped raining and the sun came out. As soon as that happened, John John ran down there to shoot with Mason (Ho). It was sick. I didn't know how he was gonna go but he was ripping."
But, like, ripping how? "He was just phenomenal. He was like an animal. I can't believe he's not at Brazil right now. Everybody's gonna trip when they see these clips, f'sure. He was doing it all. Big, blow-tail reverses, laying down the hammer, everything. You never would've known that he was hurt."
Bummed that John wasn't 100 percent in time for round one? Let the happiness at seeing him (properly) back in the soup outweigh it. Even better? There's now no question around whether he'll be in Fiji. – Elliot Struck