John John Florence Interview

Florence on three-peats and humility at the Volcom Pipe Pro

| posted on February 03, 2013

With his third Pipe Pro win today, John John Florence is quickly building a dynasty at Pipeline. Photo: Noyle

It seems only fitting that John John Florence, arguably the most talented surfer alive today, would win his third Volcom Pipe Pro on Groundhog Day. Clearly a man in tune with his surroundings, amid a declining head-high swell, John John put on a clinic at Backdoor today, besting the likes of Chris Ward, Josh Kerr, and Ola Eleogram respectively in the final. Following his win, we tapped John John’s shoulder to see what motivated him, what’s it’s like to battle it out in a heat at Pipe, and how it feels to be the most dominant Pipe surfer alive.

So what was motivating you out there?

A lot of my motivation came from having a horrible heat out at the Pipe Masters earlier in the winter. I just wanted to do well in the event and to come up winning at the end—man, winning it three times in a row—I just can’t believe it. I’m just so stoked.

With the four-man heats and the conditions, it seems like there was some battling out there.

Yeah, I like the four-man heats out at Pipe. There’s no priority and it’s every man for himself. Sometimes, you can try and go off and just sneak waves in. But  for the paddle battles, yeah, that just happens when you have waves like we had today. You know, when it’s peaky and small like this there’s a lot of battling going on, especially when it’s rights and lefts, but yeah, it can feel a little scary out there when that’s going on.

It looks like it got pretty tense out there on a number of occasions today.  Is the drama left in the water at the end of the heat or does it ever play out on land?

Yeah, it’s a little just frustrating but it pretty much stays in the water. A heat is a heat. There were a lot of heats where guys were paddling everyone too deep and good waves were going by unridden and that’s just something that happens—that’s just what happens when you have conditions like we had today.

There were a few people on Twitter claiming that one of your waves in the final should have been scored higher and some people were claiming 10s.

[Laughs] Nah, I don’t think that any of my waves felt like 10s compared to some of the 10s that people had yesterday.

With this being your third Pipe Pro win, you’re now tied with Jamie O’Brien. How’s that feel?

Yeah, I guess we’re technically tied for the Pipe Pro wins, but he still has a Pipe Masters win over me. But overall, he’s the man out there. He’s still definitely better out there than I am.

With your winning streak, for the most part, do you ever enter a heat feeling like you can’t lose?

No, I don’t feel like that at all. Every heat I’m scared that I might lose. It’s sort of a scary moment for me every time, but if you’re able to surf out there with just three other guys, it’s hard to be anything but stoked. But to win three in a row, I still can’t even believe it. I’m so stoked, I’m tripping out. I wasn’t expecting to win this again going into the comp, that’s for sure. I guess I feel confident out there, but not at all cocky.

  • bufu

    JJ is the man… humble. Hopefully dude gets a word title at some point. Comp was a good watch but keep Wassel off the mic. That guy is a terrible commentator. Him and Gray say some stupid sh#t. But at least Gray rips.

  • Ben

    If JJF added a little AI aggression to his attitude, the title would be his many times over. The title may be his even if he keeps it mellow.

  • Mike

    what kind of questions are these? obviously he’s a very humble kid and isn’t going to blow up his ego.

    ” do you ever enter a heat feeling like you can’t lose?” gimme a break

  • Mik

    Mull: kinda over-amped. John John is amazing, all around, and especially at Pipe and Backdoor. He has these waves totally dialed in… True.

    But let’s not forget how many Pipe Masters Kelly has won… And, uh, 11 World Titles.????

    John John is arguably ONE of the most talented surfers in the world today… Not THE most talented. Until I see a backhand vert attack like Kelly’s, Andy’s (!), Shane Dorian, Parko, etc, and the inventiveness of these guys, plus Dane, I’m not going overboard.

    What does set him apart is his calmness in being willing to go after really big waves, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to being the most talented surfer alive. On his way up? Oh yeah… He’s my lock for the next World Champion, but until it happens, let’s not lose perspective.

    Best part is that I am sure John John would agree, and if he doesn’t, I for sure will be completely open to being corrected. He’s the Golden Child, and I think his take on where he is now is as solid as a rock.

  • Scott

    Wassel is the man, his knowledge of the ocean and humor is one of a kind. Dude rips too. Takes off on mountains, gets worked and comes up laughing!

  • c bu

    I agree with bufu. Wassel should be banned for life from the mic. He might be a great lifeguard and what not, but his brain doesn’t function like an adult. His comments raise my blood pressure. I’m glad he’s always stoked, but no one can stand that dork speaking at all!
    PS-the comment above by Scott must have been written by Wassel

  • Dang3rtown

    I just wanna know when “Done” is finally gonna be released! I was promised before Christmas! WTF!!!

  • Marcus

    Are the coming years going to be a John John / Medina battle? I’m rooting for Ke11y to get a 12th title, but wasn’t this JJs first full year on the WCT? Didn’t he finish in top 5? Hope he stays stoked on tour, stays humble in the mind, and has many great years for us to spectate.