The question John John asks us all: why shouldn’t this be the life he leads? Hasn’t he done enough already?
I was cruising youtube early this morning to see if Pipe had kicked off, when a new Nathan Florence video popped up in my feed.
Only 24 minutes old. Less than 2000 views. For one of the world’s most popular surf youtubers, this was primo content. As fresh and immediate as if you were sitting next to Nathan Florence himself while he uploaded it.
You gotta love it.
Remember when you’d wait months, even years to see footage of your favourite surfers? Now it’s delivered fresh into your tv or smartphone. For free. The day it happens. There’s no finer endorsement of the connection and intimacy allowed by the technological advantages of this internet age.
We should still burn it all down, of course. It’s the classic double-edged sword. The Faustian pact we’ve signed, sacrificing community and culture and art, in exchange for access and sheer volume of content…
But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I want to talk about the Florences.
In that piece I wondered how he might raise the bar again. Well here he is, with brother John John in tow, chasing down a mutated, backless right reef slab somewhere in the Solomon Islands.
Obsidian tsunamis exploding up and over deathly shallow reef. No entry point. No exit, either. But there are insane, mind-bending barrels to be had, somewhere in the middle. And if there was anybody who could get into them, it would be the brothers John John and Nathan Florence.
Essential, as my tabloid-courting mentor would say.
But the story doesn’t end there. Could the timing of this release be a Machiavellian play by the wildly talented duo? A thinly veiled show of hand to the WSL – and the world – of John John’s true intentions for his career?
Many have speculated on his increasingly tenuous link to professional competitive surfing.The invite from brother Nate to join him on the world slab tour.
Now we have the two of them dropping the most ultimate of slab clips on day one of the pipe waiting period.
I won’t claim credit for the connection. It was pointed out first by Aint That Swell.
But it sure is a doozy.
Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC TV, aired a cracker of a documentary last night. Titled “Nemesis” it was a behind the scenes look at the machinations of Australia’s previous federal government, led by the conservative Liberal National Party coalition.
It was a masterclass in the art of political maneuvering, all in their own words. There were lies. Deception. Backstabbing. Political plotting that would make Frank Underwood look like an amateur.
Seemingly innocuous events being meticulously planned and strategically executed to reveal the player’s true position, only with the benefit of hindsight.
You’d be mad to think if there wasn’t some of that at play here.
It would be classic JJF. Classy, dignified. He can knowingly wash his hands of any direct claims of criticism towards the current tour. But it’s just as powerful in what it’s not saying as what it is.
The question he asks us all, without having to say a word: why shouldn’t this be the life he leads? Hasn’t he done enough already?
With Carissa and Steph already pulling their respective pins, surely Jon Jon is laying the groundwork for his own retirement call.
How long do you reckon he’s got left?
I’m calling retirement after winning Gold at the Olympics, so make sure you use him in your Surfvival team early. At least I think that’s how it works.