Stab Magazine | Welcome to the party, John!

Welcome to the party, John!

John, Johnny-Boy, John-John, the Other J-Flo, whatevs y’wanna call him, Mr Florence, 18 years old and from Hawaii, has had an explosive year. First in two Pipe events at the start of the year (Volcom Pipe Pro, Da Hui Backdoor Shootout), a second in Ballito at the Mr Price Pro, clips in Lost Atlas, etc. […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

John, Johnny-Boy, John-John, the Other J-Flo, whatevs y’wanna call him, Mr Florence, 18 years old and from Hawaii, has had an explosive year. First in two Pipe events at the start of the year (Volcom Pipe Pro, Da Hui Backdoor Shootout), a second in Ballito at the Mr Price Pro, clips in Lost Atlas, etc. Now he’s just found out that, ’cause Yadin Nicol (who recently qualified for the WT) busted his ankle, he’s officially pulled outta the Dream Tour, leaving the space free for John to fill. John was an alternative, but now he’s legit. Is he ready for the big leagues? Damn yeah!

Stab: So, do I call you John, John-John, or Johnny?
John: Anything you want really, I don’t have a preference.

What’s the name on your passport? It says John Alexander Florence.

So, John, you’re a WT surfer now. Discuss. I guess I am (laughs). I’m super psyched. I haven’t really taken it all in yet. I’m kinda tripping. I just found out two days ago. I was with Yadin in Japan when he broke his ankle, so I had an idea… but I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t think I was gonna qualify. I was just cruising, at home, then I watched the New York contest and all the right guys lost. It kinda just happened.

Were you obsessing over the NY webcast with a list of names, ticking off each time someone lost and you took a step closer? No, it was like, the second day, someone lost – I can’t remember who – and Liam McNamara was all, “Oh, did you hear so-and-so lost? You’re getting pretty close up there.” So I checked it out, and kinda waited till the contest was over, and it ended up that way.

What excites you most about competing in a world tour event? (Thoughtful) Just…like…being on the tour? Everything’s just been building up to that moment, and qualifying for it. It’s something that you work towards for so long and dream about for so long, and then you get there and you don’t really know how to feel. For so long, you’re just wanting to get there, thinking about it, like, I wanna get on that tour! Then you get there and… it just hasn’t sunken in. It’s still sinking in.

Volcom Pipe Pro. Photo: Tom Carey

Volcom Pipe Pro. Photo: Tom Carey

When you’re on the QS, is it like you never actually think about making it? You’re more about trying to make it? Yeah! During the QS, I was trying to just focus more on each contest itself. Trying to stay high on the ratings and build up. You don’t really think about actually qualifying.

You surfing Lowers in a jersey has everyone here at Stab goddamn excited, but would you rather compete there or Pipe? I don’t really prefer either, I just love all kinda waves. I have fun in all of ’em.

Is it advantageous that y’made it on tour in time for the Hawaiian leg, on your home turf? Y’know, everyone has their moments. Each event is pretty much anyone’s. Everyone on that tour just surfs so good in any kinda waves. I’m just gonna surf my best and hopefully it’ll all work out.

D’you think the biggest hurdle for you will be surfing against WT surfers, or getting your head around the fact you’re in a WT event? The hard part’s mostly in your head. ‘Cause now, especially with that new format, you’re surfing with a lot of the WT guys in the Primes. And in the QS, you start with four-man heats, then go to two-man heats, whereas with the WT, you’re starting with three-man heats then going to two man heats. So I think it’s in your head, but it’s also got a lot to do with heat strategy.

In a WT heat, who would you least wanna come up against? Probably anyone that I’m gonna be coming up against. I’m that last seed, so I’m probably gonna get put with one of the top seeds. That first heat will be nerve-racking, but I’m gonna try not to think about it too much. I’ll try and treat it like any other heat, like it’s a QS, or a junior, or anything else. And it gets easier after that, hopefully. – Elliot Struck


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Can Anyone Beat Robbo?

The Spartan plays footsies, wildcards go switch & the broadcast sentences us to HOLD limbo…

Aug 18, 2022

The Post-COVID Surf Tourism Boom In The Mentawais

Three business owners detail pandemic struggles and what it's like to be back in full…

Aug 18, 2022

“Airlines Hate Me:” Bad Boy RyRy’s Guide To Surf Travel

Want to get pampered at the pointy end of the plane for free?

Aug 17, 2022

Yes And Welcome Back: The First Day Of Female CT Competition At Teahupo’o Since Melanie Redman-Carr Was Taking Scalps In ’06

Carissa Moore is now two heats away from her 6th World Title, btw.

Aug 17, 2022


What Happens When You Borrow A Pro’s Board?

Joyride: The Shrizz from PANDA surfboards.

Aug 16, 2022


Mick Fanning Samples California’s Finest Local Produce

Mayhem at Lowers.

Aug 16, 2022

Mountains Died So You Could Surf

The value of sand.

Aug 15, 2022


UPDATE: People Are Still Surfing ‘La Jetee’ in Reunion Island

Returning to the best & sharkiest air wave in the world, as seen in Mod…

Aug 14, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Female) Surfers

What the Stab reader survey teaches us about taste.

Aug 14, 2022


Kelly and Local Gal to Win Teahupo’o?

Local insights and a firing forecast.

Aug 13, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Male) Surfers

Insights from the 2022 Stab Reader survey.

Aug 13, 2022


Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex

Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.

Aug 13, 2022

Tahiti Preview: The End Of The Road For 72% Of The CT

And hello there, blob of swell.

Aug 12, 2022


While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay

...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.

Aug 11, 2022


Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022