It's 8 a.m. on Wednesday in a small cove on the North Shore of Hawaii. Scattered across the beach sits a collection of onlookers, photographers and videographers watching a group of 10-15 surfers taking turns catching waves to the shore. One surfer in particular stands out. Partly because of the blond locks on his head, but more than anything, it's the way he skillfully rides a wave. With each wave he catches, the shutters of cameras fire at multiple frames per second to catch his every move. His name is John John Florence.
It's clear that John John can't hear the shutters of the cameras. Even if he could hear them, he comes here to get his mind off of all that. This is where he goes to decompress. Wearing his signature JJF Phantom II Board Shorts, John John flips, kicks and rides his way to peace.
After what he describes as a mediocre day on the waves, John John appears a bit nervous. At night he unveils his new movie, View From A Blue Moon. The movie represents months of filming across the globe and his biggest project to date. Technically, the movie is the first surf movie shot in 4K and included the use of helicopters, drones and whatever else his team could get their hands on to capture the raw energy and passion that John John shows when he surfs.
At the screening, held on the field of his grade school, a captive audience took in every minute of the film, cheering as the movie moved across continents.
The North Shore of Hawaii feels like a small town. Smiling faces greet you at every step and you can tell that everyone knows everyone. Before the screening, the buzz about town was John John's movie. Shop owners and people on the street openly talked about the humble kid from "up the street." When asked about his humble nature, John John simply replies that he ins't trying to be humble, it is just who he is. In a way, it makes sense. As a surfer, John John has to keep a level head and stay focused. Keeping in tune with nature is a must. From the currents to the way a wave feels. John John needs to listen more than he talks. Not in the I can literally hear the waves talking sense, but in a way that shows years of spending time in the surf watching and learning how the water, his body, and the board react.
To John John, nature is who he is. It is all he has known. You see that influence in his work. Whether it be the camo print on his signature board short or the beautiful shots of the surf in his new film, View From a Blue Moon, John John is in tune with nature and with who he is.
After the interview, John John is asked to pose for picture for a popular online magazine. Looking slightly uncomfortable with a boyish grin, he follows the instruction of the photographer. You can tell this isn't his thing -- until they ask him to pose with a surfboard.
View From A Blue Moon is scheduled for iTunes release on December 1. The JJF Phantom II Board Short is available now at Hurley.com.