The Internet is a scary, humbling, and often amazing place. Many abuse the power of the clickity-clackity (i.e. trolls), but many use it for good as well (i.e. cat video creators). And every now and then something truly intriguing and beneficial to society comes along. Despite being troll central, Reddit is also a place for ideas to be shared and questions to be asked and answered, like with the subreddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). As a platform for the average Joe to connect with celebs, politicians, controversial figures, AMAs are an example of the Internet bringing people together in a positive light. And now, joining the likes of Bill Murray, Barack Obama, Amy Poehler, Peter Dinklage, and Julian Assange, surfing’s very own John John Florence has submitted to an AMA.
The result was a rare, candid view into the mind of one of surfing’s youngest and most explosive stars. John John opened up about his estranged father, the loss of Andy Irons, his (nonexistent) marijuana smoking habits, and his upcoming film View from a Blue Moon. We sifted through the array of filth and provided some of the best moments below. But you can read the entire thread here.
On surfing stereotypes:
I don’t know, it’s probably that picture you see in your head of that guy with long hair down at the beach smokin’ weed, haha. I guess that would be it.
In reality it’s pretty professional, like in the contest stuff guys really train hard. I don’t train very hard, but other guys do, ha!
Followup, in case you were wondering:
I don’t smoke weed.
On the Tour:
Yeah, I really enjoy the tour a lot. The only thing I would change about it would be to make it more in a season — so we would have half year on, half year on. That would kind of allow us a little more time to film and stuff. I would rather do the events back-to-back-to-back. It would give us a big amount of time to do movies and other stuff like that.
On his favorite surf films:
When I was younger… Endless Summer 2 is my all-time favorite film. Me and my brothers were so into that movie, we watched it every day. But now I watch some of the Kai Neville and Taylor Steele movies – Those ones get me pretty amped to go surfing.
On a near death experience:
My scariest one was when me and my friends surfed this big outer reef wave, and it was just us two, and we didn’t really know how big it was, because it was really far how there. We had the new blow-up vests and all that stuff. And so we paddled out, and we were like sitting there and I was like, “I think we’re in the spot right now.” And we paddled over a smaller wave, it then there was like maybe a 20 foot wave breaking behind it. I was just looking at it like, “We’re not in the spot right now!” It landed on us, and I was underwater for a while and I was trying to stay calm. Finally I was like, “Okay, I’ve gotta go up.” So I pulled my vest, and it blew up, and I slowly started going up. And then right as we got to the surface, another wave hit me and I just went straight back down. I was just like, “Oh no, this is really scary.” And then I was kind of getting rolled with the wave, because my vest was blown up. Yeah, it was just a long time underwater. Two waves. Really kind of scary moment, because we had no water safety or anything.
On his pre heat pump-up music:
I think I was listening to Eazy-E songs at the last event, but I’m not like a full rap person. My base in music is Pink Floyd and Talking Heads and Sabbath and Zeppelin and all those bands, but Eazy-E was a good one for the last event.
On his favorite post surf meal:
My favorite meal to eat after surfing all day is pasta. I love pasta! And it makes me really full, and I sleep really good after eating pasta.
On his dad writing a memoir:
I don’t know if I like it very much so I don’t think about it, haha.
On scary shark encounters:
I had one where I was sitting there before dark, and I look down and I just saw the head of one kind of come up below my board. It wasn’t a huge shark, but it was still enough to scare me a lot. Like, I mean, I went in as quick as possible, I ran over the reef.
I had another one that wasn’t as scary, but was much more dramatic. At home in Hawaii there were a bunch of us and we were sitting in the lineup, and there was like a turtle outside… maybe 20, 30 feet ahead of us. It was flapping its arms, and a tiger shark just took the thing out of the water in its mouth, and was just rolling right there with it. And we were watched it for a minute or two, and then I just kind of said to myself “Okay, it’s time to go in I think.” And just slowly paddled in! So yeah, those were the scariest moments with sharks.
On the existence of surf groupies:
Surf groupies? I believe they do exist. I’ve seen some before. Haha, one or two.
On Andy Irons:
Yeah, Andy’s surfing influenced me, my friends, my brothers…all of us growing up. He was my favorite surfer growing up – he was all of our favorite surfer growing up. He was the Hawaiian that was winning world titles and his style and power surfing was something that we all wanted to do. So yeah, definitely a huge inspiration in my life.
On his favorite non-surfing movies:
My favorite non-surfing film would probably be Interstellar. A great movie, I’ve watched it probably five or six times. And another movie would be Rush, it’s about Formula 1 drivers, don’t know if you guys have seen that — it’s one of my favorite movies as well.
Point Break is not one my favorite movies, haha. But it’s a cool movie – I’m excited to see the next one!
On the future of surfing:
I see surfing changing a lot with bigger waves and a lot more paddling out of bigger waves on that side of things and I see it going to the air a lot more with bigger flips and more spins and yeah, just in general, bigger airs on bigger waves.
It’s just kinda where the progression has been going for a pretty long time now. Everyone’s adding different things, taking things from snowboarding and skating and trying them out surfing.
I think snowboarding’s a really good thing to look at because with the way they twist and spin, we can kinda apply it to surfing. I mean, we’ll never be able to go as high or as far as they do on some of the big jumps, but you can definitely take a page out of their book and kinda apply it to your surfing.