Jon Jon Florence & Kalani David Capitalize on the Rush
What’s a North Shore grom to do when the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing takes over their playground? Kids are generally a resourceful bunch – always finding ways to make the best of situations – and that’s just what two of Oahu’s most recognizable super groms have done: taken advantage of the rush. A run in with Jon Jon Florence and Kalani David drove that point home for me.
As much as getting barreled burns calories, so too does a day of watching pros get the job done at Pipe Masters. So right after Jamie O’Brien meandered switch stance through his sixth barrel of the heat, a mahi mahi plate lunch screamed my name from Ted’s Bakery by Sunset. A few rotations of the beach cruiser tires later, I was happily devouring macaroni salad when Jon Jon Florence accompanied by his brothers Nathan and Ivan and the rest of the local terrors plopped right down next to me razzing each other about broken boards, pranks, and the likes.
But at only 16, Jon Jon, had just finished his last heat at Billabong Pipeline Masters, and was pretty pumped on the whole deal, even though his whole participation in the event was a bit of a surprise.
“I didn’t find out I was in until the morning of the contest,” said Florence. “They were like ‘You might get in, a bunch of guys aren’t coming all of the sudden.’ I was like really? Then they said Reef’s not coming so you’re in…”
Needless to say Jon Jon was pumped after defeating Jay Thompson with a 17.9 heat score. Pretty impressive; certainly something to be proud of despite his narrow loss to Kieren Perrow this morning.
“Yeah, it was a pretty amazing feeling coming out of the water yesterday,” said Florence.
Feeling inspired, I headed back to Pipeline to watch the last heats of the day when I came across North Shore mega grom Kalani David. He wasn’t skating or surfing, but he was doing something equally cool – he was selling lemonade.
The 2nd Annual Kalani Charity Lokahi Lemonade Stand was posted up right next to the scaffolding providing invaders like me ice-cold lemonade for a good cause.
“I set up a lemonade stand for charity just because I thought it was a good idea to help others during the holidays,” said David. “It’s pretty fun.”
Holiday spirit combined with a perfect spike of aloha: it was exactly the type of thing groms emanate when they’re not dropping in on you. Hopping off the bike I realized I was pretty thirsty, so I gave him a few bucks, he threw me a shaka, and I took a sip of ice-cold lemonade.