Hawai‘i Surfer John Florence Stars in a New Film, “View From a Blue Moon”
North Shore surf phenom John Florence’s new movie celebrates a life of family, friends and freestyle surfing.
Photos: Courtesy of John Florence
“It’s pretty flat now,” says John Florence on the phone, “but it’s nice to be home and taking a break.” The kid we watched grow up as a kind of uber-grom—tackling Pipeline at age 8, Waimea Bay at 12, his white-blond hair matched by a thick paste of white zinc oxide on his lips—speaks carefully, and not just because he’s driving. He’s 22 now, has won the Van’s Triple Crown twice (2011, 2013), broken his back once (at 18 at Pipe) and, having signed a man-size $4 million-a-year contract with Hurley, seems to be outgrowing his nickname, John-John, casually bestowed as a child. But he hasn’t outgrown the joy he feels in the water. “I’m pretty into sailing, I just get out in a Hobie 16 with some friends and head straight out from my house. After a couple of miles you’re into some pretty big wind swells. It’s a lot of fun.”
Going offshore and out of sight is also a way to get out of the spotlight that comes with being a local hero turned global icon. Not that Florence is uncomfortable in front of a camera; in fact, the past three years he’s partnered with director and friend Blake Vincent Kueny on a high-definition tour de force, View From a Blue Moon. A longtime and serious photographer—he shoots film, not digital, and develops it in his own darkroom—Florence took family, friends and camera crews to a selection of favorite places. Shot in 4K high-definition, the look of the film is saturated and hyper-real, ideally suited for the slashing, fluid, intuitive genius of Florence’s surfing. “I hope to premiere it on the field of my old school, Sunset Elementary, this winter,” he says. “I don’t want to charge admission; I just want people to enjoy it.”
Nov. 11 is set for the premiere, with details to come on his website. Until then, he’s looking forward to unstructured time. “Surfing and film, they go together,” he admits. “And yet it’s pretty nice to surf without any cameras. When you go surfing with your friends, and no cameras, it’s special.”
Check Florence’s website, viewfromabluemoon.com, for Nov. 11 premiere time and place.