John John Florence, a Surfing Superstar Pushing the Limits

John John Florence is one of the best, most influential surfers of our time. When it comes to progression and pushing the limits in waves of all types and sizes, John is unrivaled. Big waves, small waves, onshore waves, hollow waves, Pipe waves, John is the best in all of them—the ultimate all-rounder. John has performed some of the best surfing ever seen by anyone in waves of consequence, matching it with above-the-lip antics and the smoothest face carves on big open faces you’ll ever see. 

Few match John as an all-rounder, and fewer still with the diverse accolades to back it. Many professionals have preferences in wave type, size, and shape and have become known for being the best in specific conditions. For instance, Filipe Toledo in small waves or Jack Robinson in big hollow waves. John doesn’t fit that mold and is exceptional in all types of surfing. 

In this article, we dive into the life of the 2x world champion. We’ll discover where he grew up, how he got so damn good at surfing, and the accolades he has collected throughout his career. We will also check out his personal life, how his family life shaped his surfing, and what John is up to outside of surfing. The man has done a lot and is still only 31 at the time of writing this article, which means we have a lot to get through in the life of John; let’s get down to it. 

The Early Years of John John Florence

John John, or John Florence as he is called now, was born in Honolulu on October 18, 1992. At 6ft 1 and 84kg, he’s grown into a tall, built-out figure, a body shape and figure that translates favorably to today’s speed, power, and flow judging criteria. Florence is well-versed in waves of consequence, which is unsurprising considering where he grew up. 

John grew up on one of the most notorious stretches of the coast in surfing. The North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The North Shore. A young John was raised with his two younger brothers in a small beachfront property facing directly into the most notorious waves on earth–Pipeline. The heaviest, scariest, and most insanely beautiful wave on earth, but one that has claimed more lives than any other and a break by which all other waves are measured—Johns’s front yard. 

John was riding waves with his mum as early as six months old and was out surfing by himself by age 5. Yep, five! His mother, Alex, a keen and stylish longboarder herself, introduced John to surfing at an extremely young age, taking him surfing and watching over him as he progressed onto bigger and heavier waves along the stretch known as the seven-mile miracle. 

John would quickly make a name for himself, becoming that tiny blonde kid, pulling into huge barrels at the North Shore’s most notorious breaks. By age eight, he was surfing Pipeline regularly, standing in huge blue barrels, his long blonde hair falling down his back, getting spit out of waves where multiple young Johns could fit. 

Magazine photos and clips of young John surfing these waves began to emerge, and he quickly became a stand-out name in surfing circles. He spent years competing in NSSA events across the US. Although he faired poorly compared to other up-and-comers, like Kolohe Andino, he would become the youngest surfer ever to compete in the prestigious Triple Crown of Surfing. 

The Triple Crown is held at Haleiwa, Sunset, and Pipeline, three events held at the most notable waves on the North Shore–proving a surfer’s ultimate ability on the North Shore (the most important area to master as a professional surfer). John, although eliminated early, competed in these contests aged just 13. 

The Rise to Fame of John John Florence

John John Florence a Surfing Superstar Pushing the Limits

John soon became a stand-out at waves across the North Shore, and Kelly Slater is quoted saying, “John will go on to develop a deeper knowledge than any one of the North Shore waves,” He was right. Fast forward to today, and John is one of the best to ever surf Pipeline–winning multiple awards and surfing some of the craziest tubes ridden out there. 

He would go on to qualify for the World Championship Tour, and although his results weren’t bad by most surfer’s standards, he would struggle on tour initially. On his first seasons on tour, he finished; 34th, 4th, 10th, and 14th before winning his first world title in 2016. He went back to back, winning the title again in 2017, becoming the first Hawaiian to win back-to-back titles since Andy Irons

John is also the youngest surfer to win the Triple Crown and has won the notorious Volcom Pipe Pro an incredible four times. In 2011, John won the event in dramatic fashion, in what many call the best final ever. The final was against John’s neighbor and friend–another Pipe specialist called Jamie Obrien (one of the few Pipe surfers that rival John at Pipe). The final was all but done, with Jamie boasting a 19-point heat total and John still needing a huge score. The friends shook hands, and John congratulated his friend with a few seconds to go. 

Jamie collapsed in celebration off his board, and as he did so, a wave popped up down the reef. John sprint paddles across to it, and Jamie chases him with ten seconds to go! John paddles far across as if to go left at Pipeline, but changes his mind last second, fades right, and gets ridiculously barreled to earn himself 10 points and the Pipe Pro title. 

In John’s first world title year, he enlisted the help and knowledge of coach and fellow Hawaiian Ross Williams. The pair would develop a training program, work on boards and go into attack mode in heat strategy and mindset. Just before the start of the 2016 season, John won the iconic Eddie Aikua event at 30ft Waimea Bay, beating some of the best big wave riders on the planet for the win. The rest of 2016 would be John’s most successful tour year, winning the title one event early in Portugal and returning to his beloved North Shore, World Champion. 

In addition to John’s competitive prowess, he has also gone on to create some of the most incredible, cinematic, and influential surf movies ever. Done and View From a Blue Moon are my personal favorites. Both are must-watch surf movies; if you haven’t checked them out already, I’d highly recommend you do so! 

John John Florence’s Personal Life 

Outside of surfing, John has many other interests. He is a keen sailor, skater, snowboarder, and photographer, plays guitar, and even flies planes. Pretty cool, huh? Although he grew up on the North Shore, he spent most of his summers (where the North Shore is flat) traveling the world with his mum and two younger brothers. 

John would travel with his mom and two younger brothers (Nate and Ivan) to some of the best surf destinations in the world, including the perfect right points of South Africa and the thumping beach breaks of Puerto Escondido in Mexico, trips that would ultimately shape John’s surfing. 

Although they followed a different competitive route than John, Nate, and Ivan are incredible surfers themselves. Nate is one of the best big wave surfers in the world and has one of the best YouTube channels in the surf world, while Ivan is a professional skater and surfer with a smooth style and is always a standout at Pipeline. Florence is now married to Australian surfer Lauryn Cribb and splits his time between Hawaii, the Gold Coast, and traveling the world on tour. 

John John’s Company & Net Worth 

In his early years, John was one of the most successful and well-known surfers on the planet, and his fame and coverage bought him incredible endorsement deals. Some of his main sponsors included O’Neill before moving to Hurley, while Monster and Futures fins were also John’s more notable sponsors. He also has a close relationship with North Shore shaper Pyzel

Now, John no longer works with a major sponsor and has gone on to create his own surf company, Florence x Marine. The company designs surf apparel and equipment, becoming yet another string to John’s bow. John’s net worth is an estimated $12 million, and his income comes from his company, sponsors, and prize money. He is among the highest-paid surfers in the world, alongside Kelly Slater, Kai Lenny, and Gabriel Medina. 


John Florence is one of the best surfers ever to walk the earth—a surfer displaying prowess in big waves, small waves, on the face, and above the lip. John is one of the few surfers already up there with the greats, with 2 x world titles behind him already, a near-endless list of accolades, and the star in the best surf films ever; John is up there with Kelly and Andy. Although his career has been plagued by injury in recent years, I can’t wait to see what John does this year and in years to come. Whether he wins five more world titles or quits and goes free surfing forever, I’ll be watching. 

He’s a surfer, like Kelly, in that people take note and watch no matter what he does.  If you want to dive deeper into Johns’s life and surfing, check out View From a Blue Moon and his YouTube channel! 

This post may contain links that we earn a small commission from, at no cost to you, read more.

Leave a Comment