Venerable men’s magazine GQ released a feature with the world’s most popular surfer this week, presumably in conjunction with the debut and marketing push of JJF’s brand, Florence Marine X. The feature quickly covers JJF’s change in competitive mindset between 2017 and 2021, his adoption of what sounds like meditation (as many competitive athletes have), surfing’s shortcomings as a competitive pastime, and ends with the anecdote of JJF holding Kelly off from bumping him out of Olympic qualification only five months removed from knee surgery. The piece was most likely written for print, which means only a few weeks ahead of when John John would go out again after another knee surgery, essentially missing the final two events of the Australian leg of the CT.
Oh, how the narrative has changed. John John is now rehabbing to get his competitive mojo back in time for the upcoming Olympics just weeks away. He went under the knife only last month. Time will quickly tell if he’s able to come back. Waiting in the wings as an alternate? One Robert Kelly Slater. The drama continues.
One of the most interesting aspects of the feature is the Breakdown video segment embedded in the digital feature. You may have seen Breakdown? Where real athletes, including surfers, “break down” cheesy movie scenes for GQ that feature their respective pursuits? While breaking down Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he somehow gets into the lineup hierarchy at Pipeline and what the generational order is there when paddling for waves (click to the 2:25 mark in the video for that). “Derek and Michael Ho have been surfing out there for 30 years,” he says. “They have the most respect out there so if they go for a wave, everyone just stops and they get to go on a wave and it trickles down like that for generations.”
There’s plenty of other nuggets in there so dive in.
Read the full GQ piece, here.