Hello everyone. John John Florence here. I am a 22-year-old professional surfer from the North Shore of Oahu. I am here to answer your questions and discuss my upcoming December 1 film release, View From A Blue Moon. Check out the trailer: https://vimeo.com/143418951

View From A Blue Moon is the first surf film shot in 4K resolution. The film was made over the last three years with my friend and Director Blake Vincent Kuney with production help from Brain Farm. Jack Johnson wrote a track just for the film and John C. Reilly provided some narration. We traveled to Africa, France, Tahiti, Hawaii - all over the globe. When not surfing I am into photography and of course filmmaking.

Check out the View From A Blue Moon website: http://viewfromabluemoon.com and Ask Me Anything!

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnJohnFlorence Instagram: https://instagram.com/john_john_florence/

MY PROOF: http://imgur.com/Fg1pe2R

EDIT [5:42PM]: Hey everybody, thanks for all your questions! I appreciate everyone coming out and asking, and I hope you guys enjoy the movie.

Comments: 444 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

nadirzz306 karma

Will you ever officially change to just John Florence? Which of the two "Johns" would you keep, the first or the second?

JohnFlorence2 karma

If I had to choose, probably the second.

Wookie_Pubes112 karma

Who is your favorite moderator over at /r/surfing?

JohnFlorence76 karma

I actually haven't been over there yet, but I'll check it out!

KangCradJamin72 karma

What's the most common misconception of surfing? Or being a professional surfer.

JohnFlorence160 karma

Most common misconception...hmm...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!

maz-o86 karma

follow up question, totally unrelated. do you smoke weed?

JohnFlorence130 karma

I don't smoke weed.

hurricanematt56 karma

John John! On my visit to the NS I saved the pipe pay phone across from you house in my phone. At random I will call and see if anyone will answer. Do you ever hear that phone ring?

I spent 7 moths on the NS, I would see you around and always wanted to come shake your hand but I always played it cool and let you be.

Edit: John John talked to me! And its my cake day!

JohnFlorence39 karma

Haha, I haven't heard the phone ring, but I'll make sure to listen for it!

OgFinish53 karma

Whats the worst injury you've gotten surfing? If you could share one surfing protip, what would it be?

JohnFlorence115 karma

The worst injury I've gotten surfing... I broke my back, that was probably the worst one. That was the scariest one. I broke it at Pipeline right by my house. The lip just kinda landed on me and it folded me forward and yeah, I fractured my spine so that was a pretty painful one.

One surfing tip would be to make it fun and not make it too serious. I mean, I think a lot of people try to be too serious about it and you're kinda losing the fun of it... Surfing - you wanna just have fun really.

SurgeEry46 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA! I work in production and have been a huge Brain Farm fan for many years now. As usual, the footage looks amazing and I’m REALLY excited to see the film!

I have a two part question: What was it like to work with them? And also, what is the process like for you when they’re setting up their shots?

Thanks again for doing this. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all created.

JohnFlorence41 karma

It was really cool to work with Brain Farm. We learned a lot because they are really knowledgeable about the whole cinematic side of things you know. We're coming from surfing and used to just filming surfing stuff and we get inspired by watching all kinds of videos and edits, but Brain Farm made Art of Flight and they have a lot of knowledge about that stuff.

I had watched That's All and then I watched Art of Flight, their 2 snowboard movies, and I think I texted Curt Morgan and asked him if he wanted to make a movie, he said," Yeah, for sure" and I think I forgot to text him back haha... But eventually then it worked out.

As far as the process, we made it more streamlined in the end, but in the beginning they weren't too knowledgeable about surfing and we weren't too knowledgeable about dealing with all that gear so you know, when the waves are good you want to go surfing right then and there, but it took like 45 minutes to get ready so -ha- yeah... Towards the end we found out what we needed to shoot and exactly what we wanted though, and so it made it much more streamlined. Especially shooting with the helicopter, that's a hard one...

When I was surfing I was very aware of the helicopter, it's hovering like 15 feet over your head and I mean, we have clips of me, from the rotor wash of the helicopter, just getting blown off the back of the wave. It's pretty funny... It was really close.

one1two2three37 karma

Hey John John!! View From A Blue Moon looks fantastic and I can't wait to see it.

A couple of questions:

Do you enjoy the tour and what would you change about it if you could?

Any places you want to surf but haven't had the chance?

JohnFlorence55 karma

Do you enjoy the tour and what would you change about it if you could?

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.

Any places you want to surf but haven't had the chance?

Yeah, there's a bunch of places. There's places in West Africa that I would love to go surf and I haven't had a chance to go there yet. And I think it would be cool to surf off an iceberg in Antarctica.

pm_your_sexy_thong25 karma

I'm looking forward to your film. It looks great! What are some of your personal favorite surf films to watch when it's flat?

JohnFlorence39 karma

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.

HayEwe24 karma

What's your best surfing story?

JohnFlorence122 karma

I don't know if I have a best surfing story overall — I have some pretty funny ones and scary ones.

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.

One of the best moments? Probably at the same wave, like a year later. It was just me and my friends. We were on jet skis, and we do step-offs off the jet skis. We'd go in pairs, my friend was driving and then I'd just step off the side of the jet ski and get these huge waves on little tiny boards. We surfed it for like 6 hours that day. Me and like five of my friends, and we were just taking turns getting the biggest, best waves of our lives. And just screaming the whole time. So yeah, that was cool.

kfinnegan1519 karma

Where was your favorite spot to film for the movie?

JohnFlorence37 karma

My favorite spot to film for the movie was probably South Africa. That place was just one of my favorite places in general, and to be able to go and film with the equipment we had was kind of something I had dreamed about for a while because I had been there a lot. So I was like, wow, if we could capture this, and something amazing... it would be really cool.

It's just very vast. You're in the middle of nowhere and everywhere you look pretty much you're like, wow... that's crazy. Yeah, vast would be the word.

The first trip we had like 20 people with us which was a huge crew. It was the biggest crew of the whole movie and then after that we slimmed it down to what we needed. That one just kind of had everything thrown at it and it made it so it didn't work so well. Then we lessened up the crew for the next trip and it made everything go more streamlined and better.

JaredsFatPants18 karma

Hi john john. I'm a total kook that lives on the north shore. Wanna surf inside Pua'ena with me sometime?

JohnFlorence26 karma

Sure, maybe! Haha

HockeyCannon17 karma

What do you think of your father writing a memoir?

JohnFlorence32 karma

I don't know if I like it very much so I don't think about it, haha.

make_em_say17 karma

Have you ever had a close encounter with a shark, and how much did it scare the shit out of you?

JohnFlorence51 karma

Haha, I've had a few close encounters with sharks. I had one in Africa, where the whole Mick Fanning thing happened at Jeffreys Bay.

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.

Brianzenteno16 karma

If you had to choose one wave to ride for the rest of your life, what would it be?

JohnFlorence25 karma

Pipeline, for sure. It's my home break, and that wave has so many different faces to it.

It can be small and good, or big and fun, so yeah it would be Pipeline.

BlasphemousFish15 karma

Do surf groupies exist?

JohnFlorence66 karma

Surf groupies? I believe they do exist. I've seen some before. Haha, one or two.

djtunes13 karma

Hey John! When you were young did you ever think you would become a pro surfer? And what motivates you to do it? Money, fame, sucess or you just do it because you love it?

JohnFlorence30 karma

I don't know if I was thinking about becoming a pro... that was my dream to be on the tour, and surfing with all these guys. I didn't know if was going to happen, but that's definitely what I wanted to do.

I've grown up in a place where surfing's really, like, the only thing. So I've grown up around surfing, and it's been my life as long as I can remember.

I do it because I love it. The session I just told you guys about... it's times like that I'll never forget.

Mister-Duke13 karma

What is the lineup at Pipe and other heavy breaks like? How do you determine the pecking order with so many great surfers in the lineup?

JohnFlorence26 karma

The line up at Pipe... there's not really any lineup like that in the world because of the amount of people that are out there and the fact of how scary the wave is in itself.

Pipe has a pretty solid pecking order, like you know who's up next and a lot of people don't like it, but in a way it kind of needs to be organized like that because if they don't, people are going to get hurt, people are going to be dropping in on other people. It's not really a wave you can just go in front of someone on, you know, you could end up really hurting someone and possibly killing someone.

noshore4me12 karma

You think Mavericks is going to happen this year?

JohnFlorence31 karma

Yeah, I bet Mavericks will get really big. Especially right now - this is a really interesting weather pattern with El Nino and so I can imagine all the big waves are gonna be as big as they possibly can get.

TossingBalls11 karma

[deleted]

JohnFlorence11 karma

Thanks! Yeah, I would say skating crosses over to surfing quite a bit. I skate a lot and I think skating helps my surfing a lot in a way I don't really think about.

It's not something where I'm on a wave and thinking about skating, but I would say maneuver-wise, taking ideas ... I guess it comes from skating with doing tweaks and stuff, but like snowboarding with the way they do their flips and stuff or the way they turn and do their airs, it's pretty similar to surfing.

With skating you're leaving your skateboard a lot, doing flip tricks and grinds and what not which is kinda different from surfing. With snowboarding they're just doing like cork flips and as many spins as they can and it looks like that's where surfing's going.

uofapeter10 karma

Who has the best shave ice on Oahu?

JohnFlorence23 karma

Probably in Haleiwa: Matsumoto's.

P4YP4L10 karma

  1. How do see surfing changing over the next 10 years?

  2. How do you want to be remembered by the surfing world?

JohnFlorence31 karma

How do see surfing changing over the next 10 years?

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.

How do you want to be remembered by the surfing world?

How do I want to be remembered? Ha, I don't know... I just want to be remembered as someone who was always having fun when I surfed, you know? Not the person that loses his heat and smashes their board onto the beach into a million pieces, haha.

CheddarCheesasaurus9 karma

whos your favorite shaper? How important is it to understand how to pick out the best board for my surfing/body type?

JohnFlorence26 karma

My shaper I have now, Jon Pyzel. He's from Hawaii and lives down the street from me, and he's shaped my board pretty much my whole life.

As for picking a board - it's a personal preference kind of thing. There's so many things that go into a surf board — the waves that you're riding, and, like you said, the size of a human you are... I don't think about the boards too much, to be honest! I just get boards and tell them how I want to change it and they change it to that, but it's hard for me to explain how to tell someone what kind of board to ride, it's such a personal thing.

The changes I ask for vary from big waves boards to small wave boards, all the boards are so different for such different kinds of waves: changing the shape of the tail, changing the concave in the bottom of the board, how much lift you're getting out of it, how fast the board goes down the line...

When you add things, like, "Okay, I want my board to go really fast across flat sections," then it's going to make the board stiffer. So you lose things when you add things, and it's kind of finding the happy medium. You're really happy when you finally find a good board for certain kinds of waves!

Small waves are the hardest, but when you find a good small wave board if feels amazing, and I won't ride it until I have a heat because I'll just end up breaking it. My boards last probably two weeks, haha. Yeah, they don't last very long. The other winter I broke 38 boards. I surf a lot, and the waves we surf in Hawaii like to break your boards.

OBwen9 karma

What break would you like to see added to the WSL tour? Which would you not like to see again?

JohnFlorence20 karma

I like all the waves on tour. There's none I would not like to see on there, but it would definitely be fun to have a new wave added.

Or even — they ran a contest in Bali a couple years ago, and that was one of my favorite events that we haven't had again. So I would love to see that one come back.

JOplinger9 karma

What's your pre-contest routine?

JohnFlorence36 karma

My pre-contest routine? I've been working on it more and more lately. I kind of started doing more warm ups just to get my body moving. Jump roping and stuff like that, but I would say I pick 2 or 3 songs before each event that I like at that time and just listen to them on repeat and it helps keep my mind off the surfing and the heat and over-thinking it and think about the songs more.

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.

Surfboard_P8 karma

Who should I put on my fantasy team for Pipeline?

JohnFlorence30 karma

Me! Haha...No, I'm just kidding. Um, probably Kelly and... How many guys do you get for Fantasy Surfer? 3? I'd say Kelly, Mick for sure because he's going for World Title and I mean, you can throw me in there if you want, haha.

GenerallySpecific8 karma

Hey JJ - I'm stoked for the film to come out, it seems like a groundbreaking new approach to surf films. I have two questions, I hope that's okay.

1 - Sadly Andy Irons passed away 5 years ago today, did his surfing or legacy have an influence on your career or style at all as a fellow Hawaiian?

2 - How do you find the balance between freesurfing and your video/photography outlets whilst still touring on the CT? Do you take one more seriously than the other?

JohnFlorence16 karma

Sadly Andy Irons passed away 5 years ago today, did his surfing or legacy have an influence on your career or style at all as a fellow Hawaiian?

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.

How do you find the balance between freesurfing and your video/photography outlets whilst still touring on the CT? Do you take one more seriously than the other?

I think free surfing and surfing on the CT are a good balance of each other. You know, you surf a lot of events and you can kinda start to get burnt out at one point and then going free surfing a lot you wanna go back and surf events so it really evens itself out.

And the photography side of things just kinda goes with it all. We get to travel to such cool places and see such cool things.

TuskenCam8 karma

What is the best meal to tuck into after a big day on the water?

JohnFlorence29 karma

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.

0118fire8 karma

hey john!! all the promo stuff for view from a blue moon looks absolutely fantastic, i'm so stoked for the release. my question is, what is the draw of making a film like this, and what originally interested you in film and photography in general??

JohnFlorence12 karma

Making a film like this.. well, I wanted to make it because I enjoy working the cameras and stuff. I've been working just shooting photos and stuff for like the past 8 years while traveling around.

We go to all these cool places so I enjoy shooting photos, so that got me into the camera side of things. Just to be able to work with all these big cinema cameras and lenses and cinema people and helicopters and all kinds of crazy stuff that you never think of- that was one of the main things. Then, you know, getting to surf these amazing places with just me and my friends, I think that's the second thing for me that's the biggest draw for making the movie.

We've been involved in the editing. We were in Europe just now while we were finishing up the movie and my friend Blake whose editing it was in California so it's an 11 or 12 hour time difference and he's sending me these private Vimeo links and I'm going through with timecodes.

I had to do it every morning when I woke up so he could get it before he goes to sleep and it was kind of a nightmare to finish the movie because he's making such subtle changes in the end and I'd have to go through like a whole 45 minutes of the movie just stopping at each timecode and writing down every single note that I had for each one. So that was pretty hectic, haha.

bhotep7 karma

What's your favorite non-surfing film? And why is it still Point Break?

JohnFlorence25 karma

So it can be any movie? 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!

ShmoopyGuy6 karma

Surfing has come a long way with the last generation of surfers. Do you see it changing much with next generation of surfers and shapers etc if so where do you see it going?
Eg. Board technology. Wave pools and artificial reefs. Charging to surf at breaks.new advanced Maneuvers. Etc etc

JohnFlorence12 karma

Yeah, that's something I didn't say in the last [response] - All the wave pools and the new surfboards coming out. I see surfing going in that direction, along with bigger maneuvers and bigger waves.

We're going to have some pretty good wave pools in the next couple years here, and I'm pretty interested to see where that takes surfing to, you know? You're going to be able to compete in a whole different way — as skating and snowboarding you have the same jump, so everyone has an equal playing field.

I'm pretty sure the wave pool technology, if that really does come to the surface and is something that's really good, that's going to change surfing forever.

rumbleyoungman5 karma

What was your most memorable wipeout?

JohnFlorence11 karma

Probably the time I broke my back. That was a scary one. Or actually, there's two. There's that one, and another time when I got knocked out, that was a scary one too.

For the back one — I just kind of came up, I wasn't paralyzed or anything, I was just in so much pain. My whole body was real stiff, and I just kind of paddled to the channel and someone helped me get to the beach. And I just remember my whole back, and everything, was in so much pain and I didn't know what to think. I knew there was something wrong with my back, haha. It was painful.

lambkeeper4 karma

Who do you think is going to win the WSL tour?

And do you ever do night surfing?

JohnFlorence15 karma

Who do you think is going to win the WSL tour?

Hmm, it's pretty hard to say right now coming into the last contest, but I would say...it looks like Mick Fanning, most likely.

And do you ever do night surfing?

Yes! I do do night surfing. We did it actually this summer and it was a full moon and we surfed in front of my house for like 3 hours. It was really cool.

It was one of the times I've had that sharky feeling, ha. At first it's pretty dark, or well, it's bright but it's kinda hard to see and then your eyes adjust and it's surreal.

With the white moonlight on the sand and then the water, it's just so crazy the way the water reflects. It looks like a fluorescent light or something and it's definitely a really cool experience.

wamooo4 karma

Hi John John! Super cool you're doing this and absolutely can't wait for your movie to drop, the trailer is badass. I have a few questions for ya-

First, do you have a workout or training regimen you do regularly outside of the water? Yoga? Laps in a pool or whatever?

And since I'm addicted to buying and playing with new surfboard, what's your favorite board you own? Which do you think you have the most fun on when you surf in CA?

And finally do you have any advice for someone who only started surfing a few years ago, (and I'm 23 now) and wants to shred as hard as you one day? :)

Thanks dude! Keep the dream alive

JohnFlorence15 karma

First, do you have a workout or training regimen you do regularly outside of the water? Yoga? Laps in a pool or whatever?

No, I just surf, haha.

what's your favorite board you own? Which do you think you have the most fun on when you surf in CA?

All my boards are from Pyzel. The one board that I like the most and have the most fun on is called a slab so that's a cool board.

And finally do you have any advice for someone who only started surfing a few years ago, (and I'm 23 now) and wants to shred as hard as you one day? :)

Practice makes perfect. Just keep surfing.

lake_surfer4 karma

When you aren't surfing you seem to enjoy photography. Do you see that as something you could be doing as a profession somewhere down the line? Or is it just a hobby?

JohnFlorence11 karma

I see it as just a hobby, considering I have thousands of photos on my hard drive and they just stay on my hard drive, haha. So yeah, it's definitely a hobby.