The Prince Becomes King - Bow Down to JJF
Image: Todd Glaser
My mum got annoyed at me yesterday afternoon for the racket the live streaming of the awards ceremony from Portugal was causing in her lounge room.
"Why does it have to go on for so long?" she squawked.
"Muuu-ummm he just won the World Title," I whined back.
"Why do they have to make such a big deal out of it? It's not as if he has a message or anything, it's only sport."
How dare she, I fumed as I shut my laptop to Rosie Hodge grappling for a touch of John John Florence's new silver cup and threw another log on the fire. How dare she belittle this moment. The crown prince of surfing had just seized the throne. Surfing's favourite son, John John Florence, had just become the King.
On a soggy, grey beach in Portugal with none of his family around him and just Connor Coffin opening his beer too early. I can imagine his mum at home weeping over her screen, wishing with everything she had that she was there. To hold her little boy as he stood in the crowd not knowing what to do with his hands.
Answering every question the same "This has been my dream since I was a little kid, watching Kelly and Andy battle it out at Pipe," he looked bewildered, a deer caught in the headlights, or perhaps more like a kangaroo, taking to what he knows - the air. The final was not a show down, but rather a victory lap. An unhindered display of why exactly the people's surfer is not just the people's surfer any longer. He is the undisputed king of the world. By a margin of 8.08 - Hawaii's area code - a dramatic twist that makes me think that maybe Trestles was rigged.
There has been talk for a couple of years of "the changing of the guard," a phrase that I kind of hate. There is no guard, that's a made up thing. Guys just get old and boys become men and every now and again Kelly Slater reminds everyone that they are still children.
"It's not just sport," I explained to my mum.
"Adriano De Souza grew up in the favela and last year he won a World Title. You know how many kids in the slum now believe they can do anything because of him?" I hammered on.
How many kids do you think believe they can go on to be kings of anything they please because of John Florence? I know a couple, and I am sure there are more than just a few more out there. If there is anyone that proves surfing is not just sport it is John John, because he seems to be one of the last guys on tour that just fucking loves surfing.
And I think that's why we love him.
Was why we love him. Now we love him because he is the champion and that's what we always wished he'd be. Ever since he dropped that 10 at backdoor when he had barely learnt to count. Ever since that time he came into my cafe and didn't know how to use his credit card.
So just like the snail crossing the sidewalk that's risking everything to do so because of all of the other snails that have succeeded, I'm going to the beach to surf in crappy waves today, because that's what John John would do. I'm not smoking meth, because that's what John John wouldn't do.
I'm pushing on, because John John is king and that's what I wish I could be too.
So yes mum, John John does have a message and the awards ceremony does have to go on for so long to celebrate it.
It also has to last long enough for Connor Coffin to figure out the correct timing of the Corona spray and Jordy Smith figure out when to launch his gymnastics career.