It ain't pretty but you should see the location.

World surfing champion John John Florence just spent $US2,995,000 buying his childhood home at Pipeline for his mama Alex and it’s next door to Kelly Slater!

It's the feel-good story of the year!

The story of the Florence family, single mama Alex and her three boys, John John, Nathan and Ivan, is as good as it gets. 

Back in 1986, sixteen-year-old Alex, from Ocean Grove, a Christian seaside community, in New Jersey and the sweetest of sixteens, told her parents she was going to the North Shore and asked if they’d, like, mind, driving her to La Guardia airport.

The surfing thing had been in her head ever since she was 12 and she was soaking her brain every day in surf movies like Beyond Blazing Boards and riding skateboards all over town and surfing in oversized wetsuits.

One day Alex was sitting in the room of one of her pals watching surf vids on the portable television set with the giant video cassette recorder hooked up and said: “I’m going to be one of those girls!”

With a backpack and a skateboard and a couple of c-notes in her purse, the lil blonde teenager landed in Honolulu, walked out to the Nitmiz and just stuck out her thumb. She stepped off in Haleiwa where another gal, who was 19 but seemed so worldly, picked her up and said,

“Say, girl, do you need a job?”

Uh, yeah.

Well, we’re filming this movie, North Shore and…”

Do what I did and download the movie and check out the Halloween party scene 20 minutes in. Sure is a scene. Laird Hamilton is in lycra pants and his bare torso is painted in purple and lime zinc. A bearded Gerry Lopez is the Hui leader Vince, sullen, supping beers and looking evilly serene in a red bomber jacket and yellow tee. And, there, but don’t blink, is Mom John squeezing past the female lead Kiani and the Arizona wave pool champ Rick Kane. Yep, that shoulder length tangle of permed blond hair in the leopard skin lycra is the same gal who, five years, later would birth the first of three remarkable kids.

But, this is 1986, and ain’t there some partying to do! The set of North Shore, which also starred eighties surf star Rob Page and perennial icon Mark Occhilupo, is a 21-day bender.

Three weeks ends too fast and Alex needs a place to crash and a job. She scoops up a room at Velzyland, just south of Sunset, and the most Hawaiian of the North Shore’s beachfront neighbourhoods. Fifty bucks a month for her room and Alex becomes one of five gals on the North Shore that actually surfs

And, yeah, V-Land is tough but the heavies take a liking to this tiny blonde thing, this little sister from the mainland. Back then, the gnarliest cat was a guy called Junior Boy Moepono, 150-plus kilos of Polynesian threat. And, for whatever reason, Junior kept a protective arm around Alex.

Later, Alex’d move to Kauai for a year, setting up at Hanalei Bay, right where the Irons kids grew up and then she’d take off to Bali for six months. Australian surfers taught her how to ride a motorbike in Poppies Lane. She hopped a boat to Lombok for a while and then did the 24-hour bemo-ferry run to G-Land where she got so lit up by malaria she had to call her parents to get flown home.

But, do you think little Alex can live in Ocean Grove?

Chasing money and more adventure, Alex grabbed  a cruise shop waitress gig with a gal pal who happened to a beauty who’d just won the Miss San Antonia beauty pageant. Her friend brought along her boyfriend and together they cruised the Caribbean.

Soon, more adventure. This time Europe as a backpacker. The couple had split back on the cruise ship and Alex and the guy travelled to Europe, strictly as pals. Separate beds. Totally on the level.

But, then, one night in Austria.

A few drinks.


Stumbling into the cold night.

One night.

One night in 1990 and the creation of John John Florence, named after the American president’s little boy, the kid who bravely saluted his Dad’s coffin in front of millions of Americans. Yeah, that’s a name that  has strength, that has courage.

The partnership didn’t work. How could it? Three little boys. Ain’t a lot of cash in the house they rented at Rocky Point. Dad soon disappeared into the penal system.

Alex remembers driving in her ancient Valiant, the ex-husband gone, John, five, Nathan, three, Ivan, a baby at one-and-a-half, looking over at her little boys and saying: “What do you guys want to do? We don’t have to do anything or be anywhere? We can stay out til 10:30! We can go to thrift stores!”

Alex took her kids everywhere and despite what y’might call a massive hand break, felt this sudden freedom. A total freedom. She took them everywhere. And that summer after the Dad split Alex packed up the house and with her three little ducklings that followed her everywhere, flew to Bingin in Bali where she knew a local family who’d let ’em stay in their warung, cheap.

Sure, she didn’t have much money, but here they were living on 10 dollars a day, and they stretched out their resources ($1200) for a sublime four months. Little Ivan, who was just over two then, had broken his leg on the trampoline before they’d split but Alex was cool, she just carried her kid everywhere.

Back on the Shore, Herbie Fletcher, a pioneer of jetskis in the surf, was towing John John into bombs when he was seven. Here they were, back at Rocky Point, just one house back from the sand, funded by taking in up to 10 boarders at a time, squeezing ’em into three bedrooms. Alex’d let floorspace for $250 a month. Whatever it took.

They built a half-pipe in the yard. Magazines British Vogue, US Vogue and Elle couldn’t help themselves when they heard about this gorgeous solo surf mom and her shaggy haired boys. Alex felt like she had a guardian angel. No money, but she was on the beach, was feeding her three boys and, well, you tell me that this ain’t the life.

Meanwhile, Alex was studying for her degree in English literature at the University of Honolulu. And, this is where it gets real good. Alex says that if you saw the size of her student loans, which she’s only just paid off, you’d think she was the “gnarliest surgeon ever.”

But, her gig was using her loans to support the family, to raise the kids. She didn’t want to leave her kids with just anybody. So she went to school at nights and took in boarders. Yeah, sometimes dinner was corn flakes, but  the kids were playing outside in the sun and were getting pushed (or towed) into waves by a role call of surfing icons including Nathan Fletcher, Danny Fuller, Kala and Kamalei Alexander, Herbie Fletcher and Pete Johnson.

Jamie O’Brien, too, but he was always a little crazy and’d sometimes throw dog shit at the kids. But, he also got John into contests and pushed into waves during his first-ever heat, aged four.

And, it wasn’t all surf. 

Nathan, a smart kid, would gobble up whatever lit books Alex threw at him, from Bukowski to Tom Wolfe. He’d mow through a thousand-page volume in one day.

Still, these were, are, ballsy little kids. Alex has lost count of how many times she’s thrown a bleeding kid in the car and hot-dogged it to emergency. John’s broken “almost everything”, his neck, his back, legs, wrists, arms, ankles. Ivan earned 55 stitches in his  face (rogue fin) after he paddled into a 25-footer that would later be nominated for the Billabong XXL wave of the year.

Eventually, they were squeezed out of the house by a sale, an owner moving back, whatever it was, Alex can’t remember.

So Alex and John John, now 10 but mature beyond his years, ’cause he’s seen some shit out there on the Shore and he knows what it’s like to live on nothing, were walking down the street that runs parallel to the beach and talking about the situation, saying stuff like, “Oh man, what are we going to do now?”

And, as they’re walking, there’s this little beach house, just on the corner of where they live now, and Alex, being Alex, sees this car in the driveway, looks at John, who nods, and they walk right up to the owner, their brown faces break into gazillion watt smiles, and they say, “How about it?”

Ain’t a bad place to live out your harvest years.

And, suddenly, they’re at Pipe.

And, now, twenty years later and for five thousand bucks under three-million dollars, her little boy John, who is now a few weeks from turning thirty, has given his mama, this brave woman who moved out to the North Shore and who created the lives that has made the boys who they are, the gift of their childhood home.

(In other real estate news, John has been examining a real big hunk of dirt near the polo field there in Mokuleia. Ticket price ain’t cheap, eight million dollars.)

"Let me put you gently to sleep."
"Let me put you gently to sleep."

Big wave stud, Kauai local Mark Zuckerberg follows thoroughly original surfer-cum-tough guy path into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: “It’s a big part of who I am!”

Viva surfing and submission.

Well this all just stands to reason, doesn’t it though? But can you imagine a Hawaii local, big wave charger, tough guy who does not, also, participate in Brazilian jiu-jitsu? The answer is, obviously, no as the great choking and submitting art has intertwined with our surfing like peanut butter has intertwined with jelly, Michael Jackson jams and light frowns whilst playing loudly near preschools.

But you recall the WHOOP glory years here. Oh, I forgot. WHOOP wasn’t very excited about combat sport but WHOOP ain’t no Facebook and don’t have no legendary Mark Zuckerberg at helm (buy here).

The Meta CEO, Hawaii local, big wave charger was a recent guest on the very popular Joe Rogan podcast and, between talking about Hunter Biden’s scandalous laptop computer, let slip that BJJ is “a big part” of who he is.


Kai “Borg” Garcia, Dustin Barca, Mark Zuckerberg.

But do you recall, recently, when MMA star Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett called Zuckerberg out after a victory in the octagon?

I reckon dream matchup closer than ever.

Acai bowls ruthlessly slapped.

Whatever happened to Michael Rodrigues, speaking of? He blocked me across social media channels, years ago, and I’ve lost touch.


Following catastrophic second round, Kelly Slater mounts comeback of the year to win invitation-only event at exclusive Four Seasons Hotel in Maldives, “You can’t put fight into a man’s guts if he hasn’t any fight in him!”

"The physical beating was not as painful as the humiliation."

Briefly, the over-fifties surf community, that dreadful little group of libidinal bile-filled males, was in shock a couple of days back following the defeat of their icon Kelly Slater in the second round of the invitation-only Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.

The contest, which runs over three days, has a single fin, twin fin and three-fin division. Twenty-five gees to the winner.

Slater had made short work of the Momentum Gen, including one-time arch-rival Rob Machado, in the single fin div before stumbling to a shock third-place finish in the two-screw heats.

Yesterday afternoon, however, Slater cauterised that wound by winning the thruster div before showing the grit and granite he’s famous for and beating Shane Dorian in the grand final.

Slater in his final love-cry!
Shane Dorian, “The physical beating was not as painful as the humiliation!”

 “The Final was really fun,” said Slater. “Shane has been the really in-sync guy with the waves throughout this event, but in the Final I kind of took that from him. I think he caught one of the best waves of the heat (8.7) but the wave came too late, and there were only a few minutes left when he got back out to the lineup. We’re even now though, it worked out perfectly.”

Thruster Division Results:

Kelly Slater (USA) – 1st
Rob Machado (USA) – 2nd
Shane Dorian (USA) – 3rd
Hussain “Iboo” Areef (MDV) – 3rd
Ross Williams (USA) – 5th
Taylor Knox (USA) – 5th



Dreams (pictured) coming true.
Dreams (pictured) coming true.

California surfers with silver screen dreams flock to open casting call in Santa Cruz for unnamed film from “Academy Award-winning team!”

In God's Hands.

We all, each of us here, harbor latent dreams, fantasies about what life might have looked like if a turn had been made here instead of there, a pivot there instead of here. Sliding doors, man, but what might have you become if the chips fell… better? An astronaut zooming through space? A rock ‘n’ roll superstar shaking your hips on stage in front of adoring thousands? Chief Executive Officer of the World Surf League, counting Jordy Smith, Connor O’Leary, Jadson Andre amongst your very best friends?

An actor?

Well, guess what? Acting takes no real talent and so your dream could still be achieved and, as fate would have it, there is an open casting call happening right this moment in Santa Cruz. Do I have your attention?

Per Action News:

Santa Cruz Surf Project has posted an open casting call for young surfers on the Central Coast for a major feature film.

“The film will be created by an Academy Award-winning filmmaking team — who’d love to meet you! No acting experience required,” reads the release to the public.

The movie is looking for surfers of any ethnicity or gender, between the ages of 14-22.

The casting call will be Saturday, Aug. 27 from 12-5 p.m. at Santa Cruz High School Auditorium 415 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

“Once you arrive, we’ll get you checked in and ready to go – no need to prepare anything, just bring your authentic self! Please come prepared for wait times. If you have any questions, please direct them to [email protected].”

Time is ticking.

But, quickly, what movie do you think this casting is for? I’m going to guess Barbarian Days. Also, which amongst your friends here do you think would make the best actor? I’m going to say Michael Newman.

Now get thee to Santa Cruz High School Auditorium!

“King of the waves” Julian Wilson reveals jaw-dropping debut clothing range that’s part golf, part-surf, part-motocross, part-aerobics in deal with mercurial online retailer!

"Rivvia Projects has a vitality that mimics its creator and that can be measured at the root of the belly where the phallus rises thick and arching!"

If you hadn’t heard, and I’m not entirely sure you would’ve given its soft-soft launch, Julian Wilson has released the debut clothing range of his brand Rivvia Projects in a deal with the online retailer SurfStitch. 

Rivvia, which is a portmanteaux of the names of  his two kids River and Olivia, is an “an expression of myself, really, and all the things I’m into and passionate about,” Wilson told Monster Children, listing his favourite things as golfing, motorbiking, skating, and mountain bike riding.

Wilson follows Dane Reynolds/Craig Anderson and Luke Egan into the rag-trade, Reynolds’ and Ando with Former and Egan with Depactus, a brand that flew a little too close to the sun before the glue holding its wings melted and it was bought for a song by SurfStitch. 

The Rivvia Projects range, which you can examine in its entirety here, has a vitality that mimics its creator and that can be measured at the root of the belly where the phallus rises thick and arching (many apologies to DH Lawrence.)

Rivvia Projects sits on a price point that is closer to Billabong than Outerknown or the very high-end apparel being pushed by Hayden Cox. 

Very different animals, of course.

Cox, you’ll remember, partnered up with online men’s retailer Mr Porter for his eponymous surfboard brand’s debut clothing collection, which is called Acetone, and which must not be confused with the magazine by Andrew Kidman and Sam Rhodes, which was designed to offset the WSL’s “utter bastardisation” of their beloved sport.

Rivvia Proj on SurfStitch.