John John Florence grew up in Haleiwa, right on the beach in front of Pipeline with his brothers and surfing Mom, Alexandra. John John was surfing Pipeline regularly before the age of 10. In 2005 at only 13 years old, Florence became the youngest Pipeline and Vans Triple Crown competitor ever. We spoke to 19-year old John John to learn more.
What was your life like growing up in Hawaii?
It was great. I feel really lucky to have grown up on the North Shore. We have some of the best waves in the world.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I can’t remember – I was really young
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
Excited, and even more amped to go get another one
Who do you look up to and admire?
First it would be my mom. She has helped me so much and has always been there for me. Then there’s Andy and Bruce Irons, and Nathan Fletcher
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out and why?
Indo. There are so many different types of good waves there.
Who/what inspires you?
My brothers, Jamie, Bruce, Dane, and Nathan all inspire me
What is it like to be the youngest competitor at The Vans Triple Crown?
I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was so young and the waves were big.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
What are you most proud of?
My winning run this past winter in Pipe and Backdoor. It felt good to do well at home in front of have my family and friends.
What meaning does surfing hold for you?
It’s fun. I love to surf. There is nothing like it.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Probably Dane (Reynolds) at the moment is shaping the path most right now
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
My favorite surfboard is my Pyzel 5’11” shortboard. Favorite spot? Pipeline.
What’s your favorite meal?
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
What causes/organizations do you support?
Keep the Country Country.
What are you most grateful for?
Having the family that I have. We travel together and surf together. It’s really fun to be able to all do the same thing. And we all skate together too.
What’s next for John John Florence?
Catch more good waves, surf contests and hopefully qualify for the World Tour by next year.
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