John John Florence (pictured) allegedly stares into a Monsterless world!
John John Florence (pictured) allegedly stares into a Monsterless world! | Photo: Morgan Maasen

Rumor: John John drops sponsor!

What does the future hold for the world's favorite surfer?

John John Florence is the most marketable surfer on the planet. Do we all agree? His combination of skill, age, potential and professionalism make him a sponsor’s dream. Also, he is not cluttered with branding. Hurley, Nixon, Futures, Spy, Monster and Pyzel are the only marks that appear on his surfboard.

Well guess what.

The Monster claw is allegedly getting peeled right off!

No more John John x Monster Energy!

A cursory glance at Monster’s website reveals that the young Oahuan has been scrubbed leaving Jobe Hariss, Geroid McDaid and Owen + Tyler Wright in his wake.

Did John John choose to leave or did Monster push him out?

Oh, I know you. I know you are guffawing right now. You are saying, maybe even aloud, “Pssssssht. Why would you think I even care, man?” But you forget two thing.

1) We haven’t had a professional championship tour contest in eighteen months.

2) John John and Monster Energy purportedly parting ways opens up a whole world of wonder as to what the young man will do. Are you ready for your quiz? Let’s do this thing!

Will John John Florence…

A) Start a beer brand

B) Start a coconut water brand

C) Slide over to Red Bull

D) Other

If he starts a beer brand who will his cursory three partners be?

A) His brothers Nathan and Ivan plus Jamie O’Brien

B) Joe Turpel, Ron “Dawg” Blakey and Strider Wasilewski

C) Jobe Hariss, Geroid McDaid and Owen or Tyler Wright

D) Other

What will the beer brand be called?

A) St. Balter

B) Poof of Spit

C) MNSTR (pronounced “Minister” not “Monster” of course)

D) Other

Who will drink the beer brand?

A) You

B) Your dad

C) Joe Turpel, Ron “Dawg” Blakey and Strider Wasilewski

D) Other

If he starts a coconut water brand will it have a bit of sexual innuendo in its name?

A) Yes

B) No

C) Other

If yes will the coconut water brand be called…

A) Deez Nuts

B) Cream of Sum Yung Gai

C) Nut Juice

D) Other

If you're going to talk airs, who else y'gonna illustrate the story with? Here's another photo of Fizzy T from BeachGrit's trip to Mex in February that yielded a four-part video instructional series and a three-minute expressionist clip. | Photo: Jack Boston

Quiz: Why cripple yourself for an air?

Is the risk of injury worth the joy of soaring through the air? Our man says yes!

Thanks to a recent injury, I spent my day filming my friends from a channel-bound boogie board. Three hours of dodging kooks and diving under sets was more fun than I’d imagined it would be, but nowhere near the fun of riding waves for myself.

I must admit that, in a moment of weakness, I forgot about my crippled limb and pulled into one running double-up that slipped beneath the crowd. As surfers, there are some things we’ll never be able to pass up and a one-foot belly barrel is surprisingly high on my list.

Another, it would seem, is a perky ramp.

Ever since I was a kid, airs have been a source of excitement in my life. I’ve never been good at them, but in recent years I’ve made significant strides in technique and consistency. It’s still probably the weakest part of my game, but beyond threading barrels, airs are my favorite thing to do on (off?) a wave.

They’re also very dangerous.

Anytime your board loses traction with the water, the risk level increases exponentially. In a frictionless medium, there’s nothing to stop your stick from flipping over and exposing flesh-hungry fins. There’s also the nose, rails, and tail to worry about with even the slightest glitch in flight.

And even if you accomplish a flawless jump, terrible injury can occur when re-engaging with the wave.

Busted ankles and knees plague the world’s best surfers and it’s no coincidence. Considering the heights they regularly fall from and the uneven platforms they tend to land on, it’s a miracle they’re not injured 300 days of the year.

In the past five years, I’ve suffered three major surf-related injuries. A high-ankle sprain (air), a fractured vertebrae (attempted barrel, but technically just a failed drop), and now some sort of ACL tear (air).

I imagine the statistics of most aerially-inclined surfers would be similar. They probably have a higher injury rate than “big-wave” or “barrel  guys”.

Which raises the question: are airs worth it? That is, worth the risk of bodily harm, time out of the water, and the psychological trauma caused by serious injury?

I just can’t imagine soiling a perfect ramp with a layback or something lame like that.* Much like with barrels, some waves are truly made for flight. Avoiding an invitation to soar is only marginally better than dodging a tube.

My dad has a strong opinion on the matter. “You gotta stop with the airs,” he told me, after my most recent incident. “Just stick to riding the wave. Airs can’t be that fun.”

But aren’t they? I think they are.

At least I think I think they are.

I just can’t imagine soiling a perfect ramp with a layback or something lame like that.* Much like with barrels, some waves are truly made for flight. Avoiding an invitation to soar is only marginally better than dodging a tube.

So, readers, please help a young man in need. The day I can surf again, whenever that may be, should I earnestly avoid flight?

Do I banish airs once and for all in order to extend my body’s shelf life?

Or should I continue to bet against the house, if only for the sake of feeling God’s breath beneath my fins?

*Not all laybacks are lame, but mine definitely are.

Watch: Filipe Toledo get jazzy!

The most vital short film you'll ever see of Fizzy T!

Much earlier this year, I holidayed with Filipe Toledo at a Mexican beach town where takeaway chicken is home delivered in dripping plastic bags (three dollars, generous meal for six) and jetskis cost $US650 a day to hire (discounted price for BeachGrit.)

I’ve written about this special vacation so many times I thought my fingers might pop. 

The vay-cay was a stunning success (brown skin, golden sunsets, some late nights) and although I don’t believe I enter Filipe’s thoughts as often he enters mine, a connection was established.

This morning, the San Francisco-based filmmaker who cut the four films we made about the trip, emailed me a cut of Filipe’s surfing from the trip. I was slow to click on the link because, I felt, every wave worth something had been already been shown.

I’d composed a rejection letter in my head (too long after the trip, clips already seen) when I figured, as a pal, I should actually watch.

And, oh, Jackie, this is… jazzy.

You have to watch!

Remember the confected rivalry 'tween Dane and Jordy? | Photo: x-games

5 Outrageous Surf Media Lies (Part One)

The first in a maybe endless series!

Parents, politicians, coaches and teachers lie to protect their disciples from the harshness of reality and keep them interested.

Surf mags/surf industry are our surrogates.

#1 Dane vs. Jordy. Remember? 2008(ish)? Fresh off the heels of a Kelly/Andy rivalry, the surf media’s need for a new conflict was akin to a Calcutta native looking for Filet Mignon on the Ganges. Trying to get these two to be rivals was like trying to get Switzerland and Canada to start World War Three armed with Swiss army knives and Molson. Dane really only cared about “not caring” (seems exhausting) and Jordy was too enchanted by the indifference of The Great Dane. There is a cautionary tale here: As Former becomes formerly relevant, and Dane slowly but painfully realises he will have to become what he hated in order to pay the bills, the spotlight of the tour, with all it’s faults, has kept Jordy in the spotlight.

#2 Alaia surfboards. Jerry Sienfeld once said he could not understand how the Chinese continue to use chopsticks when they have seen the fork in action. Alias and chopsticks are made from comparable materials, both with similar degrees of failed Western usage and far too familiar painful results.

#3 Still shots of “perfect” waves: Ask Hugh Hefner, when looking for talent and the well runs dry, pick someone off the street and paint it with an airbrush. Western culture is perfect at selling things that look great on the surface but are empty on the inside. After all, we invented the used car salesman and Kim Kardashian. If surf mags had to reimburse readers for every surf trip they inspired from cover shots they would have a deficit that would give Donald Trump a nose bleed.

#4 Van Life: It’s hard making homeless and smelly look cool. Turns out, after reading countless articles about van life, it’s impossible. After the initial ‘Wow, looks cool’ wears off, there is the tedious reality of living out of a van, knowing that somewhere your parents wished they had never spent that 100k on university. There’s an upside to #vanlife. Simple amenities like smelling clean, going to the bathroom, cooking food, watching TV and living like a human being 9000 years removed from the stone age are suddenly, starkly appreciated.

#ad We collaborate with @kettlebrand to fund our lifestyle. Vanlife isn’t free. Food. Fuel. Student debt. An energy exchange is necessary to thrive, and we work hard to live the dream. Our income on the road also comes from web development, mountain biking guiding and farming. + Influencer marketing is new yet by 2020 is expected to be worth $10 billion. This is $10 billion essentially diverted from mainstream media into the pockets of individuals. + I wonder how this shift will affect demand. Will capitalism help steer us away from the current trajectory of self destruction by shifting demand towards products aligned with human and environmental health? What do you think? + We collaborate with Kettle Brand because they support biodiesel, solar power, wind power, green building, sustainable packaging, wetland and prairie stewardship and community giving. And their chips do something wild to our taste buds. #liveflavorfully

A post shared by Emily + Corey + Pup Penny Rose (@wheresmyofficenow) on

#5 Indo boards: Would college dorm rooms of the nineties exist without these? Every time I take my son to the park and see him on a seesaw I thank God for the past inner strength to resist the impulse buy of the Indo board. It’s the front toothless, confederate flag wielding, inbred third cousin of the Alaia.


Prediction: Jordy Smith will win title!

Current world number 3 is soaring!

How long has it been since the last World Surf League Championship Tour event? Eight months? Three years? I have no idea and am lost in an endless depressive cycle. Oh I know that BeachGrit is anti-depressive and I do my best to lift my head off the pillow each morning and bring you good cheer but inside I am a dried up prune.

I went to the World Surf League website just this very minute to see if I might have somehow missed J-Bay and was greeted with the above picture of Jordy Smith who appears to be surfing in the Ballito Pro which seems to be in South Africa.

The day’s wrap reads, in part:

“It’s always great to do this event, there’s nothing like the QS guys to keep you on your toes, they’re the hungriest competitors,” Jordy said. “I saw Josh’s last air and told him if he made that it would have been in the nines, but apparently he slipped off his back foot right at the end, so fortunate for me. He’s a great surfer and I’m sure he’s going to have some big results this year.”

Watch here.

But more to the point is that air and the way it looks when photographed. Would you like to know what it looks like to me?

A championship.

Currently Jordy is number 3 in the world and my money is for him to slide up to number 1 by the Corona Pro J-Bay’s end and for him to stay there for the rest of the year.

How will a Jordy Smith championship make you feel?

Will Jordy v John John be the rivalry that thrills us into the future?