John John Florence on his new surfing gear, filming and renewed dedication
Surfer John John Florence lives simply. The Honolulu-born 23-year-old hits the waves with his friends to train. He puts a focus on enjoying the sport he excels at. And he wanted a boardshort to match it all.
“In the past I had these really high-tech boardshorts,” Florence tells SI.com. “These new ones are really simple and really durable. That is what I need since I use them every day. I just kept saying I needed something super simple and super durable.”
That simple life, though, doesn’t mean a limited life. When Florence unveils a new pair of Hurley-designed boardshorts, he does it while debuting his new film, A View From A Blue Moon. And it all happens at the same time that he is putting a focus on the future and a renewed commitment to competition surfing.
But let’s start with design. Florence has gone through the Hurley process before. He knew what he wanted in this iteration and he had plenty of fun while getting a pair of boardshorts that “turned out exactly the way I wanted.”
Though simplified, the new Hurley Phantom JJF II Boardshorts still feature elements rich in new technologies, in particular a single, continuous piece of Phantom 60% stretch fabric that also encompasses the waistband for durability. The shorts go 21 inches long for added protection in the powerful waters Florence surfs, and the new style includes a ciré (highly glazed) interior for reduced chafing.
Florence says that he has often worn black trunks, so he wanted to mix it up and figured a camo pattern would be “pretty cool.” With added orange stripes, he says the new look “came out insane.”
“John John Florence’s style has had a massive impact on our design,” says Ryan Hurley, the brand’s creative director. “We’re beginning to adapt our product solutions and engineer them to his exact specifications.”
The shorts make their onscreen debut in A View From A Blue Moon, the film Florence spent two years shooting while traipsing across the world—and the first surf film shot entirely in 4K Ultra HD. He says this past month has been the most stressful stretch for him, as he has been finishing up the editing and making the media rounds, even if the pressure of shooting is lifted from his shoulders.
“While filming for the movie, I learned to deal with the pressure,” he says. “Shooting with helicopters, there is pressure to land something while the heli is there.”
In the end, even if he never felt completely finished shooting, he’s happy with the final product.
With the film behind him, Florence says he is now going to put a focus on competitions, something that he'd wedged between stints of free surf filming for so long now. “I think I will take a step back from the filming for a little while,” he says. “I will still surf and do edits, but making another movie may be a couple of years down the line. I want to put energy into training.”
Energy into training is a completely new endeavor for Florence. “Training is not quite a thing for me yet,” he jokes. “It is definitely on my list of things to do. Right now it has just been getting on a wave and surfing.”
That love of surfing, that drive to hit the waves, has served him well for so long, but even with the natural desire pushing him into the water, Florence says he knows he must focus every time he surfs in order to better himself for an event. It’s a simple task really, the kind that helps Florence thrive.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.