Nathan Florence, Ivan Florence and John John Florence.
Ivan Florence, who turned twenty-eight in May, and pictured here in the middle, has emerged from the shadow of his overachieving oldest brother and Prince Harry-lookalike middle bro in the past couple of Hawaiian seasons, proving magnetic in the water as well as the skate park.

Ivan Florence sensationally quits Vans to join brothers Nathan and John John at Florence Marine X

"The brotherhood is united," says Nathan Florence.

The migration of surfers from heritage surfing companies and into surfer-owned start-ups continues at hot pace with news, today, that Ivan Florence has quit Vans to join Nathan at John John’s eponymous brand Florence Marine X. 

Launched in 2020, the $12 million startup Florence Marine X, but now called Florence, was born out of John John’s departure from Hurley and his vision to create quality surf gear, including the now-famous male chador, inspired by his connection with the ocean. 

Surf fans are aware of the collapse of the surf industry, Billabong, Quiksilver, RVCA, Hurley, all bought at firesale prices by fuck-and-dump behemoths.

Chas Smith has described Florence as the saviour of the surf industry. 

“Florence Marine X is a core surf brand, making quality surf products for you, the surfer. Florence Marine X has what it takes to recreate the surf industry. John John Florence is the saviour of the surf industry. And maybe one less reasons to hate surfing.”

And, when surfer of the year Nathan Florence dumped Vans for Florence two months back, Nathan delivered a long, but stirring, soliloquy on his wildly popular vlog about his decision to leave the troubled shoe brand and shift into an equity deal with Florence.

He also spoke about whether or not Ivan Florence, whom he calls Mr Cool, would be joining.

“What’s Ivan going to do?” says Nathan Florence. “Mr Cool has always done what Mr Cool wants. It looks like he’s stay with Vans, surf, skate, snow, Ivan’s a true bad-to-the-bone surf snow skate athlete. He makes his own decisions. We’d never pressure him, hey, Mr Cool, what do you want to do? We’re a family, we’re here for him.”

Nathan Florence added, “Who knows what happens down the line…obviously we’d love to have him.”

Ivan Florence, who turned twenty-eight in May, has emerged from the shadow of his overachieving oldest brother and Prince Harry-lookalike middle bro in the past couple of Hawaiian seasons, proving magnetic in the water as well as the skate park. 

The trio’s story from beachside poverty to a position where they can buy vast beachfront compounds is a good one.

A while back, a long while back, I spent an afternoon with Alex to find out how the pack went from here to there.

We pick up the story just before the turn of the century.

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?”

And, suddenly, they’re at Pipe.

And, here, you might say, we are.


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Sam Kendricks (pictured) cooler than any surfer.
Sam Kendricks (pictured) cooler than any surfer.

Bad boy pole vaulter puts once-rebellious surfers on blast after claiming Olympics only for “the mamas on Facebook”

But a silver lining for Filipe Toledo?

There was a time, in extreme sport history, that the Olympic Games were seen as our natural sworn enemy. Buttoned up, rule following, corpo and soulless. When snowboarding was first introduced back in 1998, for example, the Norwegian legend Terje Haakonsen famously boycotted, tarring the once-every-four-years bacchanal, saying later, “There’s just no respect for the history and culture of snowboarding at all. We don’t need FIS (skiing’s governing body) or the IOC (International Olympic Committee). We can handle snowboarding ourselves.”

Now, echoing those punk sentiments, pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, a two-time world champion, is threatening to boycott the Games, himself, if he makes the team. His reason, stated plainly, is that he was kicked off the Tokyo squad after testing positive for Covid even though he showed no symptoms and swears the reading was false.

“Why should I go? They left me behind and never even said, ‘I was sorry.’” the ectomorph told The Washington Post, adding, “Maybe I’m bitter, but I compete against the best guys all the time,” Kendricks said. “Everybody doesn’t understand: The Olympics is for the mamas. It’s for the mamas and for Facebook and everybody back home who wants to have something to watch and a dog in the fight. But the sport is done every day for four years in advance.”

The sort of snarl long missing in surfing, which will make its second Olympic appearance at Teahupo’o in exactly one month’s time.

Surf fans are, of course, mixed. Getting an extra helping of Head Place certainly not to be looked in the mouth but being attached to the lamestream games a bitter pill.

But here, maybe a way forward for our Filipe Toledo? The brave coward is notably terrified of Teahupo’o and the aforementioned surf fans will be on the edge settees wondering if he will paddle. History shows he will very likely not and another gift horse trotted right out.

Toledo can follow Kendricks lead, Haakonsen’s before him, and boldly boycott citing some form of anarchy.

As the voice of surfing Joe Turpel would say, “You’ve gotta love it.”


Teahupo'o (pictured).
Teahupo'o (pictured).

The Olympics celebrates brave surf “late bloomers” readying to face death or glory at “scariest wave on earth”

“I started (surfing) when I was 20 something..."

I checked this morning to see if the Rio Pro is running only to discover it is not and also, a deeper more troubling discovery. That I don’t care about it. Now, in a normal year shaping up to deliver an exciting final Finals Day at Lower Trestles, I might. This, as you know, is not a normal year.

The Olympics Games, you see, will be declared “open” in basically one month and with it, surfing’s glorious five-ringed return. While I will be in Paris, for the ballet, our brave surfers will be halfway across the world at Teahupo’o ready to face fear itself.

Head Place, as it is known to those who speak the local dialect fluently, is certainly one of the scariest, if not the scariest, wave on earth. Appearing from the deep with little to no warning and folding onto a freshly invigorated reef, we will, without doubt, witness stunning acts of courage and brave acts of cowardice. And, today, the Olympics celebrated the “late bloomers” who will be looking chaos in its almond eye.

The piece opens by declaring that surfers usually learn the pastime of kings as younger women and men. Carlos Munoz, for example, took his charges surfing when they were two months old. Filipe Toledo’s daddy Ricardo took him at 10 months old.

Well, we know how that turned out for Toledo. The small wave wizard won two back to back titles at baby Lowers but refuses to paddle Head Place. So terrified that he scored an historic 0.00 heat total there once and was recently beaten to a pulp by two geriatrics.

Might Santa Vevere be next to rub his tiny features into the dirt.

“I started when I was 20 something,” she told “That was the first try.”

“We didn’t want to take any lessons because we thought, ‘Ah, it’s going to be easy, like snowboarding. You just buy a pro board and go like a pro, but no, everything was a bit different,” she continued, describing how she was on and off for a few years before really committing. “I just love surfing. It’s always been for me, that if I like something, I just love it. And I know that I really want to improve, and I want to do it from all my heart, I jump in or I don’t jump,” Vevere said. “That’s why I think it’s a big passion for me and I love what I do and I try to be better and better and better.”

Finland’s Lukas McMahon also makes an appearance. Though not a VAL, or Vulnerable Adult Learner, he began his journey at 12-years of age, and Erin Brooks is also profiled, learning at 12 too.

Back to Vevere, though, and the others like her. Do you think they will put heads down and pitch over the ledge or do you think they will take inspiration from the Li’l Lion and… not?

Should we open a betting pool?

More as the story develops.

Koa Rothman, Darc Sport.
Koa Rothman dumps Quiksilver for bodybuilding brand Darc Sport.

In wild power move, Hawaiian surf star dumps Quiksilver for bodybuilding sponsor!

"And not just me, they picked up the gnarliest guy ever in surfing, Bruce Irons, and the gnarliest guy in the MMA, Max Holloway."

The Hawaiian surf star Koa Rothman, Backdoor Shootout winner, son of Fast Eddie, bro of Makua, master of popular vlog This is Livin’, most handsome kid doin’ the rounds if we take zeitgeisty rodent king Jack Robinson out of the equation, has sensationally dumped Quiksilver for bodybuilding brand Darc Sport.

The label, whose byline is the stirring Never Fuckin Give Up or #NFGU, has also signed Bruce Irons, briefly the best surfer in the world roughly twenty years ago, as well as MMA god Max Holloway, an occasional but competent surfer who is married to pro shredder Alessa Quizon.


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Koa Rothman joins the conga line of surfers getting the hell out of their paltry contracts with the one-time surf majors  turned withered golden geese Hurley, Billabong, Vans, Quiksilver, for start-ups Former, Tenore and, lately, Florence.

Two months back, surf fans were gifted the terrific news that Nathan Florence had quit Vans to ride for his big bro’s brand Florence, launched in 2020 with twelve-mill in capital and piloted by Bob Hurley.

In a video message to his fans, Koa introduces his new sponsor Darc Sport:

“They’ve got the sickest logo, the sickest  team, I met with them in California, it’s a super cool vibe not corporate at all. And not just me, they picked up the gnarliest guy ever in surfing, Bruce Irons, and the gnarliest guy in the MMA, Max Holloway. That’s their Hawaiian team, me, Bruce and Max. They started back in 2015. They started with bodybuilders, then moved into fitness influencers, and now they’re breaking into surfing and MMA. Their background is definitely weightlifting and fitness, which is really cool. They’re a brand that wants the athletes involved in what they’re doing.”

“This is a new chapter in a long journey,” Koa says. “The future is gonna be amazing.”

Fanning (left and right) with the female bosses surfing club.
Fanning (left and right) with the female bosses surfing club.

Champion surfer Mick Fanning makes shock appearance in New York “Female Bosses Surfing Club”

"Unexpected, to say the least."

As you now, I’m currently in New York City, enjoying the heat dome and reading august local papers in the morning whilst drinking hot coffee on a beautiful hot deck, gazing over a melting Central Park South. Important broadsheets like New York Post but you can imagine my shock when, flipping through, I saw Mick Fanning right there in the middle of a pack of the “female boss surf club.”


The feature, titled, Female bosses have surfing club at Rockaway Beach: ‘Everyone wants to catch that wave’ showcased Tracy Obolsky, chef and owner of the local Rockaway Beach Bakery, Anya Ferring, owner of online clothing company ARTbutt who also runs Manhattan-based design-consulting business The Factory 8, Claire Canfield, co-owner of Bloom Beauty Lounge in Chelsea and Event planner Stacy Snyder.

The three meet at Rockaway whenever it’s pumping, or even not, to shred.

Obolsky declared, “You can’t really plan to go surfing whenever you want. The conditions have to be right and the stars need to align and you just have to go when the opportunity arises.”

Ferring added, “Everyone wants to catch that wave. You have to have a spirit of community and communication.”

Canfield simply said, “When you’re surfing you can’t think about anything else because there are finite waves.”

Synder called surfing, “A spiritual exercise.”

The three discuss the general vagaries of this surfing life, things we all know and feel, but back to Fanning. It being morning, and hot, my eyes were blurry, but as I brought the paper closer, there it the Australian champion was. His stylized MF very clearly on Stacy Snyder’s 8ft or 9ft yellow soft-topped surfboard.

The MF line of soft-topped surfboards get very much less attention than sisters Wavestorm, Gerry Lopez, Ben Gravy’s Wave Bandit or Jamie O’Brien’s Odyssea. I don’t often see them in lineups but if forced to pick a soft-topped surfboard, think I might go with the MF.


David Lee Scales did not, anyhow, discuss during our weekly chat but did chat about important things like flossing teeth in front of significant others and influencer surfers.