John John Florence hints, again, at quitting tour with latest post described as “a devastating throat punch to the World Surf League”

This year will be Florence’s last on tour. He won’t be any lesser for it, but the surfing world will.

Back in 2020, when John John Florence left Hurley,  I wrote an article imploring the flax-haired Hawaiian to go solo from the surf game. To free the shackles of both WSL and the mainstream brands. 

To wit, are we asking the wrong questions when it comes to John John, Kolohe and the Hurley crew?

Instead of guessing which brand they will go to next, we should be questioning why they need a brand at all?

They are the brand.

Etc. The article ruffled a lot of industry feathers at the time. 300 comments all told, many outraged that the double John would turn his back on the industry that so gratefully sustains him. That any of us would entertain the idea!

Yet in the intervening years he did go on his own way. The launch of his own mega-brand, Florence Marine X, appears to have been a success. And the article was somewhat prescient in terms of the rise of the YouTube surf star (if not nominating the wrong Florence).

But I’m not calling Nostradamus status just yet. There’s still one major recommendation yet to come to fruition. John John is still tied to the WSL. The question now being: for how much longer?

After another season of woeful waves and shoddy underscoring on his part, surely the stubbled one must be wondering himself.

Why bother with the WSL?

He’s done it all. Two time world champion. Greatest surfer in the world from two to twenty feet. Unmatched admiration from the surfing universe. Why stay chained to the tour when it delivers so little to him?

The recent comp in Jeffrey’s Bay brought that question to the fore. There was the much-covered ballyhoo in JJF’s semi final against Connor O’Leary. And rightfully so. But for me, there was another exchange earlier in the comp that would have been just as jarring for him.

JJF v Italo V Callum Robson in the opening seeding round. Head high sets with a slack wind but imperfect angle. Sectiony, fast. Contestable but by no means classic J Bay. Earlier in the heat Italo was rewarded an 8.17 for a single air reverse. A pump and spin hail mary that was impressive enough in its rotation and length, but also landed poorly. A messy foam recovery. Not the surfing we want to see at JBay. For context, this was also the same round and day as Yago Dora’s 10 for a similar single air.

With a few minutes to go Florence is in second place. He takes a smaller set wave with priority, and for his first turn nails a text book air reverse. Fins high and inverted. Not a full rotation, but a massive degree of difficulty for an opening move. He lands it perfectly and transitions into three consecutive lip hammers, all without a moment’s downtime.

Progression, power, flow. Aerial surfing incorporated seamlessly with critical turns. Exactly where competitive surfing should be in 2023.

The usually reserved Florence even gave the judging tower a subtle look back as he closed out the wave. How do you like them apples?

Only .1 of a point more than Italo’s air reverse, it would turn out.  And a full point and a half less than Yago’s. It was enough to put him into first place. But surely it must have left him wondering –  the fuck else do they want from me?

Italo and Yago’s airs were impressive. Jbay was a lot quicker, a lot less open faced than usual, so it could be argued they were surfing to the conditions with their single-turn waves. But that only makes Jon Jon’s four turn combination even more difficult. Surely we are past the days of excellent scores for single airs, unless they’re in the never before seen in competition realm. And what’s more, it’s a style of surfing that should be anathema to the world’s premiere down the line point break.  This was 2013-era scoring.

All of this is inconsequential, and has been argued ad nauseum. Surf judging will always court controversy. It’s as mired in subjectivity, in personal bias and opinion, as is politics and religion. Brazilian air surfing. Australian rail surfing. Hawaiian power surfing. Everyone gets under or overscored at some point. At the least it makes for great banter.

But in John John’s case, there’s nothing left on the tour for him. And with every underscore, every mistimed comp window, every title decided at 4 foot Trestles, with his little brother and the world slab tour beckoning, with the carrot of Olympic qualification dangling for a only a couple more months… the question must be asked again and again. Why bother with the WSL?

It appears the rot is taking hold. His recent Instagram post was a devastating throat punch to the League.

Thank you Africa! Had so much fun free surfing jbay, and hanging with the family. Here’s some frame grabs from our red Komodo-X.

Florence is no confrontationalist. Would never dream of passive aggressive open letters or impassioned Instagram posts.

But you don’t need to be trained in geopolitical diplomacy to translate the intended meaning. It’s as powerful in what it didn’t say as what it did.

“Had so much fun free surfing jbay.”

Free surfing. No mention of the comp, or the WSL. Ipso facto, EAD* WSL.

I’m calling it now. My 2020 predictions will finally come to pass. This year will be Florence’s last on tour. He won’t be any lesser for it, but the surfing world will.

If I am wrong, which I pray that I am, may I be damned to write for a click-bait-obsessed surf tabloid for all eternity.

* Eat a Dick.

Great White shark attack on Margaret River surfer captured on film!

"This is the moment an ocean predator launches… the surfer's board seen flying as the man is bitten on his leg.”

Yesterday morn, as you might’ve already heard, a surfer was hit by a Great White shark while surfing one of Margaret River’s best surf spots, a joint called Boat Ramp just south of where the annual Margaret River Pro is held.

Locals say the place can hold up to fifteen feet and has notes of Second Reef Pipe, a chip shot into a barrel that’ll test the stomach of any surfer. 

The man, who is in his twenties, was attacked, but not bitten in half as usually happens in these waters, and had to make his way almost six hundred yards to shore, bleeding like hell from a leg wound. There, an off-duty nurse attempted to stop the bleeding. 

“Shocked onlookers” drove the man to Margs hospital before being transferred to the bigger Bunbury Regional hospital one hundred clicks north. A Great White was seen in the area shortly afterwards and all beaches between Gas Bay and Margaret River Mouth were closed. 

Wild, enough, yeah, but the terrific collision between Great White and surfer was captured on film, an explosion that would be impossible to believe if you weren’t privy to vision of the event. 

Witnesses said the man had lost a hell of a lot of blood by the time he reached the beach but praised the surfer’s bravery and said “he saved his own life.” 

It’s the seventh shark attack in West Oz this year.

Photo: Fjordlapse Photography
Photo: Fjordlapse Photography

In bombshell announcement, Norway’s beloved crown prince declares he’d be a professional surfer if he didn’t have to be boring ol’ king!

“I am often asked what I would have done if I were not the Crown Prince..."

Erik Logan. Getting there, etc. but can we leave spiritism behind for a moment and focus on your perception of your life now versus your perception of what you thought you’d be when you were young? I first imagined Marine followed by marine biologist followed by Bible translator.

I became a surf journalist.

Haakon Magnus, who lives in Norway, imagined himself a Kelly Slater-esque professional surf legend.

He’s set to become a boring ol’ king.

Crown Prince Haakon made the shock announcement during an interview with Norway’s NKR declaring, “I am often asked what I would have done if I were not the Crown Prince. Then I would have been a pro surfer on the World Tour. Maybe an ex-professional by the way, because now I’m almost 50.”

The piece was accompanied by photos of the very handsome viking paddling a longer board with many more at the Royal House of Norway’s own site.

Back to you, though.

How has fantasy matched with reality?

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Ghost of ruthlessly fired World Surf League CEO Erik Logan begins to materialize from Atlantic mist as Brazilian boys burnish bonafides in beachbreak!


I beat it out of the terreiro late, maybe too late, maybe just in time, though I don’t know how, man. The drums, swaying, clapping, chanting, doves gripped by wings and held up high had put me in quite a state and I thought, for a moment, that the ruthlessly fired former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan was going to materialize in the body of a tween girl, eyes rolled back, and tell me his secrets.

Then it hit me like an axe-shaped scepter to the head. Of course he wouldn’t be out here, with The People doing The People things, senhor inteligente. Logan is quintessentially American in the most zhuzh’d corporate way possible. There is no way his smarmy voice could rise above the drums and the claps and the chants, nor his pearly white veneers inhabit anything but pure corporate executive so I stumbled out onto the street, far, far away from anything remotely “tourist” and it was louder still.

Cars with massive speakers cruised slowly up tiny half-paved roads with half-finished buildings teetering above. A gaggle of tank top’d men and Haviana-shod women sat drinking Heineken under bright fluorescent lights while moving their hips to music blasting at stadium volume.

Logan don’t sway his hips.

I somehow snagged a cab, the driver utterly confused at finding me, had him drive me back to hotel and purposed to go to the beach the very next morning and try to sort the where and the why as they related to the former World Surf League CEO’s cruel erasure more sensibly.

The Atlantic in this north and east corner of Brazil is surprisingly rough and as I pulled up to a beach club, the next morning, packed to the gills, I was surprised to see three younger boys out amongst it, taking off on closeouts, boosting sloppy airs into the churned soup. It was ugly but infectious, their joy evident, and I sat and stared longer than I should have. It felt like a direct challenge to a scratchy broadcast of the X Games, live from Ventura, playing over the bar with ancient relics Sal Masekela and Tony Hawk calling the action.

Masekela claiming the “level” of skill at this failed iteration of extreme sport broadcasting to be bigger and better than ever in the history of the world.

I don’t understand how, after all these years, he can keep the dial at perpetual eleven, never even trying to find nuance, only able to amp, amp, amp, amp but vainly amp. Everyone in the audience looked bored. Nobody at the beach club was paying attention.

A silly and pointless man.

And even though what was happening in the water, here, was nothing new, Brazilian boys burnishing beachbreak bonafides, it felt fresh.

The delight felt fresh, as if it was being experienced for the very first time.

Like a virgin.


Erik Logan……….

Tensions boilover in Florence camp as world champ John John explodes at brother Nathan’s tardiness at pumping Jeffrey’s Bay!

"It's pumping! Go!"

In one of the more candid moments in the heavily curated lives of John John and Nathan Florence, we find the brothers amid a moment of great tension over Nathan’s tardiness as John John waits to surf very good Jeffrey’s Bay.

I’m in camp John John.

Is there a greater frustration than standing there, suited to the hilt, board under your arm as pals wander aimlessly, fiddling with toys, cameras, wondering about what wetsuit to wear, board to ride, as the waves pump, the crowds fill in etc?

“Let’s go, it’s absolutely pumping,” says John John.

Nathan, working the controls of his little helicopter says, “I just got the sickest clip.”

John John, thirty now can you believe and with two world titles strapped around his waist, has always been the brother who would  jump out of bed first, his heart beating fast and his mouth wet with the desire to do good.

Nathan, who is twenty eight, may be mad but he is serious about it. And he may be without a soul. But he is not without a heart.

Eventually, Nathan gets rubbered and waxed and the brothers prowl the lineup like tigers.