When John Florence Returns The People Celebrate
The John John’s Day Parade.
For John, winning the title in Portugal lifted 15 years of expectation off his shoulders. But, to his friends, family and fans in Hawaii, it delayed the full potential of their celebration. Not to say they didn’t celebrate, they did. But without seeing their champion around Kam Highway the aura was lacklustre (relatively). And, as surf fans, we all wanted to see the title race head to the Pipe Masters and have it end in the same fashion as the Indians and Cubs World Series game last night: Game seven, a three-run comeback to tie in the ninth and into extra innings, where the Cubs scored the winning run and shut out the Indians at home in the bottom of the tenth. However, like Hawaii, Chicago will have to wait until their champions return to their home to parade around the streets in celebration.
Today, on the Seven Mile Miracle, that’s exactly what the people of the North Shore did. It was a goddamn celebration–a parade through the streets. Young and old sported hand painted signs and screamed: “We Love You John John”. Mr Florence stood out the moonroof of a slowly moving truck with leis around his neck waving the Hawaiian fan and was met with Beatle-coming-to-America-esq howls courtesy of his adoring fans. It was a home reception for a world champ that hasn’t been seen on the North Shore since Andy Irons in ’04. The Hawaiians were ready to bring the title back home, back to their island that takes the honours of starting this thing called surfing back in 1769.
The reception was beautiful, emotional and the best part about chanting John John’s name is you got to shout John four times to say it twice. And, it was cheered far more than twice.
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