John John Florence On Rehab And Darkrooms
After injuring his ankle in February during an ill-fated air attempt during a Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast expression session, 2nd year ASP World Tour surfer John John Florence has been out of the water and rehabbing his ankle. For a guy who lives and breathes to surf, being dry-docked is an absolute nightmare. We caught up with Mr. Florence from his house on the North Shore of Oahu to check in on him, make sure he's okay, and not totally losing his marbles.—Justin Coté
TransWorld SURF: Good morning!
John John Florence: Good morning Mr. Office Guy.
Are you in an office as well? How's your office today?
It's great, really nice. I have coffee and all.
Wonderful. Did your mom make it for you?
No, I made it but she told me it was too bitter.
Let's get down to business here.
What's this interview about?
This interview is about your ankle. And there will be some other things, it's not going to be all Debbie downer stuff, it's going to be good.
So, first things first. How is the ankle coming along? Everyone wants to know…
It's coming along really well and healing pretty fast. I've seriously been getting therapy on it every day.
Where do you do that?
I've been working with this guy Mark Kazuki from California. He's helping Freddy [Patacchia] too and came over here to work with us. So yeah, I've been going back and forth between here and California and trying to not watch perfect Pipeline in April.
Don't look to the left and you'll be fine [John lives within a stones throw from the Banzai].
Yeah, it hasn't been easy.
So have you been in hyperbaric chambers and all that futuristic stuff?
Yeah there's one here on the North Shore and I've been there a few times. I guess it works, but I'm trying everything—I'm so anxious to get back in the water.
What was harder for you to watch; perfect Pipeline in April or the Bells WCT event?
I was in California for the beginning of April when we got those swells, but I was talking to Koa Rothman who broke his collarbone snowboarding and he said watching Pipe on those days from my house was the worst thing ever. That wasn't too bad until I got home and saw my brother Nathan's waves on video—then I got jealous. As far as Bells, that was pretty hard to watch too because the waves were really good. It seemed like I couldn't get away from watching it.
Speaking of the ASP World Tour, are you going to be able to go to Brazil and defend your Billabong Pro Rio title?
Umm, hopefully. I really want to, and that's my goal right now.
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Would you go down there if you were 80 to 90% or are you waiting until you're 100%?
I don't think I would go down there even if I was 90% because the way the waves are there, it's all about airs. I couldn't imagine getting hurt again and sitting out another month or two—that would suck.
That makes sense. Like when Josh Kerr hurt his ankle in Fiji, he just taped it up and got barreled. But doing airs with a bad ankle is another story…
Yeah if it was like Cloudbreak, I'd go even if I was like 75% but it's a totally different kind of wave and different kind of surfing.
Let's look a little down the line. After you're all healed up: next time a big air section pops up in front of you, what's the plan?
The whole goal when I do start surfing again—and see a big air section—is to be able to land in the flats [and not get hurt]. Hopefully I'm not scared to hit it [laughs].
I personally hate these things; but will you be surfing in any more expression sessions?
Gosh… I'm going to really watch out for those! It makes me so mad you don't even understand.
They make me mad and I'm just a viewer. I'm like, "Jeez these are pointless!"
The announcers were hyping up every turn everyone did, and I was getting so psyched up, I was like, "I gotta do something big!" So I forced an air and got myself hurt. Next expression session I surf I'm just going to do cutbacks.
Anything else for your fans out there? What's going on besides rehab? How many cameras have you bought since you've been injured?
[Laughs] I haven't bought any cameras but we did build a dark room when I was at Hurley and I was printing a bunch of photos. That was a lot of fun, developing film and printing photos.
Any other new interests or hobbies you've picked up besides the darkroom activities?
Let's see, we've been having bonfires and BBQ's on the beach. That and just taking pictures and filming things. Filming a lot actually.
Who do you film?
Things, people, surfing, whatnot.
Cool man. Well I'll let you get back to your coffee, get well soon!
Thanks, see ya!
For more videos, photos, and interviews with John John, check out his page