Dear John (John),

Well, you’re effectively on the world tour now. Friggin’ Awesome.

Yadin Nicol’s painful loss is your gain. You’ve done it. You’ve earned a precious seed into what looks like the remainder of this year’s world tour events. I suspect this is the beginning of a very fruitful ASP relationship.

And now we can all smell the milestone moments coming. As I’m sure you know this means you’re very likely to be facing Kelly Slater at Trestles next week. But even better, you’re likely to clash with him at Pipepline in a few months, which, frankly, that you’ll be doing so as a fellow tour member is worthy of a double rainbow response.

Seriously, what better way to usher in a new era than to have the you, the heir apparent to the Pipeline throne (let’s save the world for later), go face-to-face against the guy who’s been in complete command of this sport since the very year you were born, 1992.

Considering your back-to-to back wins last year in the Volcom Pipeline Pro and Da Hui Shootout, it’s safe to say you’re as big a threat to Kelly as anyone else out there.

Jeesh time flies. It seems like just yesterday you were that adorable 8-year-old Pipeline rug rat who needed help putting his leash on, tiny enough to fit Kelly’s cargo pocket. Remember that floppy white hair and those little runt brothers hanging in your shadow? You don’t? Well let me tell ya’, you lil’ tykes were cuter than a litter of pug puppies.

And since Kelly was hovering around your backyard quite a bit in those days my suspicion is he probably wiped your butt at least once…Because if not, he’ll certainly be trying to in the days ahead. Picking on kids half his age is Slater’s favorite hobby nowadays.

But let’s face it, you’re not that cute little kid anymore. No offense, but you’ve hit a rather awkward phase. You’re a lot like my own teenage sons: greasy, unwashed, pretty slow moving, and maybe even a little too cool. Don’t worry…it’s a perfectly normal phase. The acne will clear up. The most important thing is you’re comfortable in your own skin. And you should be. You’re an accomplished young man with a big bright future.

But you’re not little John John anymore. Time, after all, is even more vengeful than gravity. You’re John now…just John…John Florence. Your former title was a fitting for little biddy kid, but not 18-year-old ASP rookie — a giant killer — and a young man who might someday live up to the promise of being ruler.

So this is it. Mark my words. I’m hereby bidding John John adieu…and will no longer be referring to you as “a grommet.” I’ll try my best to make this a clean break, but I won’t lie, this isn’t going to be easy, because I’m going to miss that little guy. I bet your mom already does, not to mention your poor sponsors, who have to be pretty confused about now since “John John” is as household a name as Duke, Rabbit, Kelly and Laird in the surfing world.

John Florence? Truth is, that guy is still a bit of a mystery right now. It’s up to you to write his history.

But that’s who you are, and more importantly who you want to be, so that’s what I’ll call you. Damn the consequences to my Google search.

But here’s the deal, you must do me (and everyone else tearing up over the loss of that little dude) a favor. Please just do your best to make little John John proud, and try to keep viewing the world you’re in through his eyes…You’ll understand later.