As the lights of North County’s La Paloma Theater dimmed and tall cans emerged not-so-subtly from brown paper bags, excitement was running high, as were expectations. In the opening frames an orchestral melody came from the house speakers as John John launched into a massive full rotation on his backhand. He looked calm, casual, and expressionless. Even while spinning 6 feet above the lip, John John Florence may as well have been sleepwalking.
In its 23-minute runtime, broken down into location-specific sections, Done shows us every side of John John’s surfing. The Hawaii section is defined by impossible barrels, J-Bay by lightning carves, and West Oz by inverted, spinning things that are very difficult to explain. They all come together to paint a pretty convincing portrait of John Florence as the best surfer alive today.
Surfing performances aside, Blake Kueny proves himself an apt filmmaker as well. The pace of the movie is quick, and the edit is kept tight. The grainy, uber-hip lifestyle shots that dominate the genre are set aside for the most part, allowing the action to take front and center. The soundtrack for Done spans the gamut from orchestral tones laid over black and white, ultra slo-mo clips to heavily distorted guitars and fuzzed out vocals. The Tahiti section especially stands out as being, for lack of a better word, thoroughly gangster with its combination of staggering barrels and Killer Mike’s “Don’t Die”. Contrary to what 90 percent of surf films would have you believe, sometimes rap does belong in surfing.
By the time the credits rolled at La Paloma, it would have been tough to argue that there is a better surfer in the world than John John Florence. If you need proof, keep an eye out for Done on iTunes, where it should be released soon.