December 2015: First, he releases his groundbreaking film, View From a Blue Moon. Next, he dominates the SURFER poll awards, taking home four trophies: No. 1 in the Men’s Reader Poll, Best Performance, Best Maneuver and Movie of the Year. Then he scores a 9.83 in heavy Pipeline during the superheat of the year after shooting out of a seemingly impossible barrel. Just when you thought your love and respect for John John Florence had reached capacity, it turns out that he is also engaged in environmental issues!
While John John was in Rio de Janeiro for the Oi Rio Pro in May, apparently he used his time to contribute to a cause and support a local NGO—Salvemos São Conrado (Save San Conrado). São Conrado was removed as a competition site this year due to shockingly high levels of viruses and bacteria found in the water. In addition to several local beach goers, bodyboarders and surfers, John John signed a petition that will attempt to irk the Brazilian government into implementing a proper waste disposal system in the region and stop raw sewage from piping directly into the ocean. He also participated in a film campaign for the NGO, which urges others to sign the petition.
São Conrado has one of the best and most consistent waves in Rio—a wedging left known for clean barrels and powerful end sections. Sandwiched between Leblon, the Beverly Hills of Brazil, and Rocinha, the biggest slum in the country, this wave is loved by all—rich and poor. It works year-round but sees its best days when a southeast swell comes in and bounces off the rock wall; the very rock wall from which a steady stream of untreated sewage cascades into the water, leaving a brown pool of stinky water that lingers around the corner from the beach, just out of the public eye. One of the film producers claimed that even after John John was warned of the pollution levels, he still insisted on surfing in the water to support the cause.
Salvemos São Conrado began as a group of locals who banned together to bring attention to this problem and fight to save their beloved beach. Local, Cristiano Gomes (featured in the video) grew up surfing this wave and has seen the conditions steadily deteriorating. He has never seen his beach with clean water conditions and solemnly admitted that at this point, pollution just seems normal. “You should have seen Cristiano when John John showed up. His eyes lit up. He was so excited to see an international surfer in his spot. Not only was John John generous to help out with the cause, but he really made an effort to bond with the local kids who surf and bodyboard there every day,” said one of the producers of the film campaign.
It’s a unique moment for surfing. Now that it has become more mainstream and available to a wider audience, surfers can effectively help to change local policy. With all eyes on Brazil, now is the time to get behind this cause! Now is the time to sign the petition! Now is the time for Salvemos São Conrado to gain some traction!
John John to the rescue! With his support for this project, Salvemos São Conrado hopes to bring local and international attention to this issue and get enough signatures to pressure local authorities to take action. No wonder he was voted No 1; he is really winning at life this December and the year isn’t even over yet! Follow John John’s lead and sign the petition. Pollution is not normal!