Stab Magazine | Meet "Falcor," The 48-Foot, $1.7mil Gunboat John John Florence Sailed To Jaws

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Meet “Falcor,” The 48-Foot, $1.7mil Gunboat John John Florence Sailed To Jaws

Next stop? The Billabong Pro in Tahiti!

style // Feb 27, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Back in September of last year, professional backcountry snowboarder and sailing enthusiast Travis Rice, accompanied by Ian Walsh, filmed a 2,500 nautical mile journey from Tahiti to Hawaii, on the back of his 48-foot Gunboat catamaran, Falcor* (which you can see above).

According to reports, as Falcor landed on the idyllic Hawaiian shores, surfing’s 2x and current World Champion John John Florence was there, shiny briefcase in hand, prepared to purchase the 48-foot vessel, which without Rice’s improvements runs a cool $1.68 million.

Travis (reportedly) stepped off the boat, took the shiny briefcase, handed John the keys (wait… do sailboats have keys?) and strolled gently into that warm Honolulu night.

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Say hello to John’s not-so-little slice of heaven.


Tim McKenna

It’s worth noting that even the most devoted JJF fan would never know of Falcor from eitherof his Instagram accounts. That John Florence is the owner of this gorgeous, wind-powered yacht and has forsaken the chance to flaunt it a la classic cinematic depictions of the nouveau riche–popping bubbly for the camera, flanked by long-stemmed Hawaiian flowers, generally reveling in his success — is sure, a little disappointing. But it’s rather indicative of Florence’s understated civilian character out of a contest singlet.

More than the pursuit’s implied status, John has been long been intrigued by the freedom of the act of sailing itself. In his 2016 video series, Twelve, John declared, “My ultimate goal with sailing is to be able to travel fast, cover long distances, and go surfing. I want to combine the two.”

Well, with the help of his new 48-foot cat, John has been doing just that.

His first major trip on Falcor was an inter-island cruise to Maui, for the Jaws swell back in January. Looking at the most promising system of the 17/18 season, John packed his trusty Green Iguana gun, enlisted a few of his hardest charging comrades, and set sail for the Valley Isle. Though the swell wasn’t as great as forecasted, John still got his toes wet

But this 100-mile journey was only a test run for John’s true sailing ambitions. Luckily for him, Falcor is custom-built for lengthy excursions.

At over 1,000 sq ft of sailing area, and featuring twin Westerbeke diesels, according to the stock Gunboat 48 is designed “for family sabbatical cruising… the 48 series typically features three queen berths, a convertible office or 4th berth and two heads. The simple and informal accommodations are light and airy. The salon, helm and galley are located on the main deck within the pilothouse. The aft cockpit is well protected and cozy. The overall design premise calls for simplicity for owner-operators, Gunboat performance, and the usual ease of handling. Owners of the Gunboat 48 love their boats.”

And, according to Rice, “[Falcor was] really transformed into a spaceship…” under his command. “She is completely off grid and capable of multi-month trips without the need for water, power or provisions.”

Travis initially purchased Falcor in North Carolina, then sailed it through the Panama Canal, eventually landing in French Polynesia. Delivering the boat to John, Travis completed a trip he’d always dreamed of, sailing north through the Line Islands and up to Hawaii, just like the ancient Polynesians did all those centuries ago.


For years John John has mentioned, in passing, his desire to embark on a proper sailing mission, perhaps even to take a year off Tour and circumnavigate the globe, of course surfing along the way. But Florence is a busy guy. Despite winning the last two WSL World Titles, he has no plans of taking his foot off the gas, which means that a year-long journey is not in the cards for 2018.

However, he has confirmed that this July, Falcor will make a return trip back to Tahiti for the Billabong Pro at Teahupoo.

“I’m not going to take a year off tour, at least not anytime soon.” John told Stab. “I would love to sail long distances though, and the best way to do that right now would be sailing to Tahiti for the contest.”

See you in French Polynesia!   


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