Stab Magazine | Welcome to the party, John!
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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

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