John John Florence Nominated as One of 2022's Most Creative Businesspeople - Stab Mag
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Pensive John, pondering how to dismantle the surfcorp oligarchy. Illustration: Nicole Rifkin

John John Florence Nominated as One of 2022’s Most Creative Businesspeople

Fast Company backs the surfer-entrepreneur.

news // Aug 21, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just 25 years ago, surf culture was mostly an isolated microcosm. Our lifestyle, brands, and attitudes were not necessarily the envy of the industrial world at large. You’ve probably noticed, but that’s not really the case anymore. Surfing lives are now marketing gold, and brands that were born in surf now boast consumer bases that extend far beyond the coastal empires of the world.

The latest indicator of this trend involves one of surfing’s beloved entrepreneurial princes, Fast Company, one of the world’s largest business-focused media platforms, has named John John Florence as one of 2022’s “Most Creative People In Business”. 

You can read his section here.

In their release, they explained:

We at Fast Company have spent the past year searching for individuals across every sector of business who’ve done the impossible: They’ve accomplished something that’s both groundbreaking in their industries and meaningful to the wider world—and that’s already making an impact. You may not recognize their names yet—most were new to us as well—but we assure you that each is worth getting to know. We are impressed by what each one has managed to achieve, and very much inspired. We hope you will be too.

Regarding John, they explained his declined, high-profile contract with Hurley, and his venture into the world of entrepreneurship with Florence Marine X.

Florence Marine X, which launched in May 2021, is part of an independent company (called Kandui Holdings) and is focused on producing highly technical gear that stands up to the gnarliest of conditions—made responsibly and designed to specifications Florence wasn’t finding elsewhere.

For wetsuits, Florence worked with the company’s head of innovation and sustainability to utilize thermodynamics research from Cal State San Marcos’s Surf Research Lab to optimize for longevity, warmth, and flexibility by altering how the neoprene is distributed around the body. These academic insights were worked into the wetsuit’s final design, which surfwear creators at companies such as O’Neill and Patagonia have lauded as one of the industry’s only innovations that’s been led by science rather than anecdotal experience.

Two trophies, one big smile.

They then explained Florence Marine X’s unique membership program, along with the unique “Test-Pilot” system that John came up with.

The article paints John’s business model in an inspiring light, and somehow manages to steer clear of the usual kooky, cliche-riddled surf copy that often pervades the world of big business.

At the end of the article, Fast Company mentions that John “maintains his stature as one of the best free surfers on the planet.” 

While this may just be a slight inconsistency in the research, we wonder if it could carry a bit of foreshadowing.  

Does big business know something we don’t?

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