John John Florence is one of only five surfers in men’s Championship Tour history to clinch his first two World Titles in back-to-back fashion. Mark Richards, Tom Carroll, Tom Curren and the late Andy Irons are the only other members of that elite club. The mild-mannered prodigy from the North Shore of Oahu has been living in the public’s eye since the age of eight, when he first paddled out at Pipeline, his backyard break that just happens to be the most famous wave in the world. By 12 he’d mastered a wide variety of ocean conditions and his breadth of ocean knowledge was compounded by the nurturing of North Shore sages, giving Florence all the evolutionary tools needed to become the best surfer in the world. With their help, he navigated the pitfalls of early fame with humility, style and sweetness, and delivered under the heavy weight of high expectations. He remains, at his core, a performer first and foremost, with an insatiable appetite for progression. The only weakness in his surfing is making the impossible look too easy. And while it took a few years for him to sync his style to the demands of the Championship Tour, today his love of the game is peaking. The process of pushing himself as a competitor, artist, and innovator is what drives him. His deep love of sailing is only enhancing his ocean knowledge, and his film projects are an ever-expanding creative side hustle. Yes, he’s hungry for more World Titles, but there’s also that other nagging hole in his record: The Billabong Pipe Masters crown. Twice before he’s had victory within his grasp with just seconds to go, and twice he’s lost it. In 2013 it was 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater who broke his heart. In 2017 Jeremy Flores did the trick. Fortunately, the second world title Florence earned earlier that day cushioned the blow.